How to Check if the Car Has a Category?

While searching for your next ride in the UK, would you like to buy a car that was involved in an accident? Most people do not and right so. After all, the insurance company has written it off for a reason. But let’s delve deep and find out what happens after a car gets badly damaged in an accident. The insurance company examines the condition of the vehicle and assigns it a category. We call it an insurance write off, and it pays to check the car category it lies in.

What is vehicle insurance write-off?

Insurance writes off the vehicle is the one that the insurer deems more expensive to repair than the cars’ worth or is unsafe to return on the road. In simple words, when the insurance firm believes the cost to repair the car will exceed its market value, they write it off.

What is Car Write Off Categories?

In the UK, there are four car write-off categories:

  • Category A
  • Category B
  • Category S (Previously known as Category C)
  • Category N (Previously known as Category D)

What is Category A Write Off?

A car completely damaged in an accident or fire with no salvage parts comes under Cat A. The vehicle is not road worthy and should only be scrapped.

What is Category B Write Off?

A vehicle that sustains severe damages in an accident and that is beyond repair is a Cat B car. The only difference here is the Category B car has salvageable parts that you can sell before it goes for scrap. 

What Are Category S and Category N Write-Offs?

In October 2017 gov had decided to change the category Write-offs used to be known as Cat C and Cat D changed and they are now known as Cat S and Cat N respectively.

You can repair both Cat S and Cat N cars because they sustain structural and non-structural damages, respectively. However, the repairs must be highly professional before you re-register the vehicle with the DVLA. Many people ask us if a Cat D car is suitable for purchase. It depends on your preference, but surely, both Cat C and Cat D vehicles can never be equal to their unharmed counterparts. Moreover, it is hard to ensure cars with these categories.

Learn More: Can You Still Drive a Cat ‘N’ & Cat ‘S’ Write Off?

What is Cat S write off car?

The cat S write off cars refer 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

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 repaired and buyback from the insurer.

How to Check Car Category?

To check if a vehicle has been written off, you need to carry a car, write off check. Unfortunately, you cannot verify the car category for free, unlike MOT history and other details which you can get from the DVLA without paying any charges. So, forget about the DVLA cat D check or cat c check.

How Detailed are Car Write Off Checks?

When you are in the market to check the car category, bear in mind that car write-off checks are not as detailed as other inspections. If you are searching for information on damage, you will sadly not get it. However, you should expect the following details:

  • Written Off History
  • Written Off Date
  • Written Off Category
  • Scrapped Status

car writeoff check

Buyers Beware:

It is okay to buy a write-off vehicle when pre-planned your budget. However, you should know the buyer’s legal rights on purchasing a second-hand car as a buyer.