When purchasing a used car, it’s not an uncommon thing to see vehicles with insurance write off categories in the listings that are available to purchase. That usually looks like Cat followed by A/B/S/N, and they actually have a really big meaning behind them. They carry a huge weight on not only the value of a vehicle but the integrity and legality that comes along with them too. they even go as far as to affect the quote you may receive on your car insurance if the implication is serious enough.
When all of this is combined, it’s clear to see why insurance writes off classifications and categories are included in the most important information you need to know when buying a used car (online especially), and all the more reason to develop a clear understanding of how they will affect your car, both in safety and financially.
To make sure you really get it though, it’s a good idea to break down all of the car insurance categories and take a look at what they’re really about.
What An Insurance Write Off Category Is
If a car is ever written off, for whatever reason, it’s always a possibility for someone to buy the written-off car. If they do so, they can do whatever they like with it. That much is fine.
To make it road legal again, however, (if even possible) there are a few things that need to happen. Once they have happened, that’s where these letters come from. As the repairs are carried out, the issues that resulted in in the car being a write off are put right again, and upon reevaluation, these cars can be made road legal again and used as they were before.
The problem is, though, that cars can be written off for a lot of different reasons. You’d be surprised. If that car is new, even something like a minor collision can make a huge cost, and for insurance companies, sometimes that’s just not worth incurring.
Other times, a major crash on a cheaper vehicle may not be either. This is where things get messy. There are a lot of different possibilities.
What are the Insurance Categories?
To understand what these insurance write off categories are all about, the first step is looking into what means what. There are 4 to use after all, and they are extremely different.
Insurance Category A
Starting off with category A, this is actually something that you shouldn’t really see at all. If something is insurance category A, it should never be on the road again. It’s been a serious write-off, and the car is just not safe. Neither is anything that was on it. Get rid, scrap it and move on.
Insurance Category B
On a slightly lighter note, category B is almost the same thing, but with a little twist. Although the car may never be road legal again, some of the parts may well be. That is more often the case than not, since there are so many things that go into making a car. If you have structural damage, maybe the engine is okay to remove for example, or if the engine failed, maybe the axels are okay. There are countless possibilities to sell the parts.
Insurance Category S
Category S (Formerly Category C) is for structural damage specifically, and this is one that you can usually see. It means the car has probably taken a hit somewhere, and the damage has probably been quite a problem. It can be just about anything that’s had a big impact on your car shape, so do take care to make sure it’s been fixed safely!
Insurance Category N
Last but not least is category N, and this one is the best yet (of what was a bad situation at least). Cat N is almost always to do with a cosmetic issue, and that’s good news. If the car looks okay, then it probably is! It’s good news, especially for new buyers that don’t know much about it. Just because it isn’t a structural fault however doesn’t mean is it’s electrical or mechanical either. Take care to make sure you know exactly what the issue was or be willing to take the gamble. It’s on you (but know your rights!).
So in a nutshell, that’s just about everything you need to know about insurance write off categories. Nothing is ever certain when you’re buying a car, especially a new used car. Always find out as much as you possibly can (especially when it comes to history), and make sure you’re looking after yourself! If you need any help, never be afraid to ask for it! There are tonnes of services out there you use, and inspections are some of the best! Get in touch with us for more info!
More mor einformation on the topic, take a look at CarExamer CEO Klavs talk on Drive Time in 2019