Complete guide to Cat S and Cat N insurance write-off categories explained

Can You Still Drive a Cat ‘N’ & Cat ‘S’ Write Off Car? Yes, you can drive both Cat N and Cat S write off, but not straight after the insurer categorised them. Before that, know the regulations of both cat S and cat N cars as they need appropriate repairs before you drive back on the road.

Moreover, you can’t drive the vehicle that got an N or S write off category until you buy back from the insurer. Besides, you need to re-register your category S car with the DVLA. But, you need to inform the DVLA when you are all set to drive back the category N car write off category.

So, what happens if you choose to buy cat N cars? Do you need to insure such vehicles? Here we answer all your queries about choosing to buy a write off category vehicles.

What is cat N write off car?

The cat N write-off cars have sustained “Non-structural” damage because of an accident. It means the issues related to the brakes, steering, suspension or any other component. If your car received category N, you can repair and buy back from the insurer.

What is Cat S write off car?

The cat S write off cars refers to the structural damage in a crash. It is similar to category N as you can drive back after proper repairs. However, you need to re-register the vehicle with the DVLA, pass an MOT, and insure it.

Association of British Insurers (ABI) defines car structural damage as follows:

  • 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
  • A-post
  • B-post

Previously, these were described as categories C and D evaluated under the car value after the crash. However, this new system puts it easier for the buyers to evaluate the level of damage. If you are in the market to take a write-off car, ensure you consider its pros and cons.

Does a Cat N write-off car need a new MOT?

No, mostly DVLA doesn’t insist category N vehicles have new MOT for driving back on the UK road. However, there is an assumption where the write-off car is no longer roadworthy- therefore, it needs an MOT for driving back.

For category N cars, you should fix the non-structural damage like brakes, steering, electrics, safety features and cosmetic damage. It is not only for your safety but also for others on the road.



cat N car

Insuring Cat N write-off car:

If you’ve decided to buy a cat N car, then you need to insure it.

It is crucial to declare your car as a Cat N write-off, but you can use our partner site to offer the best deals. However, not all the providers are ready to insure for previous write-off vehicles. If you choose to search by yourself, never forget to mention your write-off car status.

It is cost-effective to find the coverage for the previously write-off cars compared to the non-damaged vehicle. Your premium is likely to be higher, and some companies refuse to offer, considering its risks. Basically, it is a complex task to get coverage for the cat N vehicles.

Is Cat N write-off vehicles are safe to buy?

While category A and B cars are not safe to drive as it is worth scrapping, whereas Cat N write off is safe to drive only after the necessary repairs. 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.

Hence, it is better to know if the vehicle has any write-off categories before you buy. Find a reliable Insurance write-off checker like Car Analytics offering the reports with 100% accuracy and a money-back guarantee. With our car history check, you can confirm if the insurer assigned the write-off category but to check if the vehicle is insured, get from askMID directly.


Once an insurance firm marks the vehicle under the write-off category, it presents for the rest of its life. It means even these vehicles get standard repairs and re-register cat S write off cars, they are still insurance write-off vehicles. These vehicles are hard to sell and expensive to insure. Therefore, analyse the pros and cons of buying a cat N or cat S vehicle.

The takeaway is when you decide to buy a Cat N write-off car for you or for reselling, consult with the mechanic. Calculate the repair cost & make sure the total expense you are going to do isn’t exceed its market value.