Yes, you can drive both Cat N write off, and Cat S write off, but not straight after the insurer categorized them. You have to follow the rules and understand that both cat s and n cars need appropriate repairs before you can drive them.
Moreover, if your vehicle has just got an ‘N’ or ‘S’ category, you cannot drive it until you buy back from your insurer.
Besides, you need to re-register your Category ‘S’ car with the DVLA (Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency). The same is not accurate for the ‘Cat N’ vehicle; however, you have to inform the DVLA that you are going to drive a category N write off.
What is a Cat N and Cat S write off?
A Cat N write off is a vehicle that has sustained ‘Non-structural’ damage during an accident. The ‘N’ here stands for ‘Non’ and may relate to issues with brakes, steering, suspension, or any other component. If it is you whose vehicle has received Category N, and you believe you can go for Cat N repair yourself, you have to buy the car back from your insurer. We have detailed how you can do it here.
On the other hand, a Cat S write off is a car that has received ‘Structural’ damage in a crash, hence got its name ‘S.’ Similar to car category N, you can put it back on the road after proper repairs. Before you get behind the wheels, you need to re-register it with the DVLA, pass an MOT, and insure it.
Here’s a list of things that are part of a car’s structure, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI):
- Rear chassis leg
- Front chassis leg and welded cross member
- Front inner wing
- The front upper wing support
- Front header rail
- Rear header rail
- Side cant rail
- Firewall and front bulkhead
- Rear inner wing
- Rear-wheel housing extension
If you are in the market to take a write off car, make sure you weigh the pros and cons.
Does a Cat N write off need a new MOT?
Contrary to what many people may believe, a Cat N write off does not need an immediate Ministry of Transport test (MOT in simple words). In reality, you do not have to do anything to get behind the wheel. The DVLA does not force you to get a new MoT on a car that has just received Cat N. As an alternative, DVLA is pleased to let you drive until the next MoT’s due date.
That said, you should make sure to fix the non-structural damage before you take your vehicle on the road. Things like brakes, steering, electrics, safety-features, and cosmetic damage require attention for not only your safety but also for others on the road.
What is a cat n insurance write off?
When a vehicle sustains ‘non-structural damages’ in an accident and its repair cost exceed its current market value, the insurer may assign it car category N. The term ‘non-structural’ is broad nowadays. It may encompass the bumpers, roof panel, electrics, engine, seats, etc. When it happens, your current insurance policy invalidates.
The insurer will pay you compensation for this car so that you can buy any other vehicle. In case you like to keep this vehicle, you can reject the reimbursement and haggle to buyback with the responsibility to make it roadworthy through proper repairs.
Remember, you have to buy a new cat n write off insurance policy, and you should be ready for a higher premium compared to what you would pay for a new or non-damaged used model. Understand how a write-off can affect your vehicle insurance by reading this informative piece.
Are Cat N write-offs safe?
While Category A and B cars are not safe to drive and are only suitable for scrapping (find out if a vehicle has been written down as scrapped), a Cat N vehicle write off is safe to drive after the necessary repairs. Even you do not need to go for a quick MOT test for N category vehicles. However, it does not mean you can drive such car insurance write off without proper repairs. While you may feel safe driving with electrical issues, the engine and braking problems can put your life in danger. Similar is the case with headlights and taillights, which should be working at night to stay safe on the road and avoid fines.
Before you buy any vehicle in the UK, it is wise to know if it has got any of the writes off categories. Find a reliable write off checkers such as Car Analytics for this purpose only, the one that offers 100% accuracy and a money-back guarantee. With our car history check, you cannot only check if the vehicle is insured, but you could also find out the insurance write-off category assigned to it.
Do Cat N and Cat S write-offs show on a car’s history?
Once an insurance firm writes off a vehicle, the marker stays on its history for the rest of its life. It means even these vehicles get standard repairs and re-register (only needed for Cat’ S’ cars), they are still insurance write-offs. These will be more expensive to insure and extremely hard to sell. Therefore, you should always weigh the pros and cons before you decide to buy a Cat N or Cat S vehicle.
If you ask us, we advise you to purchase a Cat N write off only if you know a trusted mechanic who is good at his work and you intend to keep the vehicle for the rest of its life.
On the other hand, if you are going to buy a Cat N write off for reselling, discuss with a mechanic first. Calculate the repair costs minutely and make sure the total expense you are going to incur on the write-off does not exceed its market value. You should be able to earn a good profit after making the essential repairs.
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