There are different types of car insurance write-offs. Some demand that the vehicle must be destroyed and never used again. Others say that a vehicle can be repaired and put back on the road. This is known as a cat D car insurance write off and means that a damaged car can legally and safely return to the road - as quite often the write-off is a result of just light damage, but the insurance company has decided that the financial cost of repairing the car, and the additional costs associated with the claim (e.g. courtesy vehicles), outweighs its market value. So they make a write-off. However, there are specific rules that the vehicle must adhere to before returning to public roads.
Cat D insurance write-off repairs
Once a vehicle is written off and the insurance claim has been paid to the owner, the car insurance company then legally owns the vehicle. They usually then sell it on to garages and motor factories that can repair any damage at a reduced cost and then sell it to the public themselves. Alternatively, the car can be sold through a licensed salvage yard as a damaged car, or broken for spare parts.
Buying a cat D car
A cat D car could have been written off only because it is uneconomical to fix, not because any potential damage was so great it could not be driven again. As a result, no test is needed to validate the work, as a reputable garage should deliver the car to a roadworthy standard. Because of this, it can be a good idea to get a mechanic or vehicle engineer to assess the quality of the work and ensure it has been carried out to a high standard. This can help give you peace of mind that your new vehicle is as safe as possible.
There are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering buying a cat D car:
If you think you might be selling the vehicle on in the near future, it’s unlikely to be worth market value, even if it’s in perfect shape
Some insurers might refuse to offer you cover, no matter how light the damage was
Dealers have to declare if a car has been written off but private individuals do not. If buying privately it may be worth getting a full car history check to help you make an informed decision about the new vehicle.
Find further information here on car insurance or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0330 159 1019 to get a quote.