1 in 3 have a hidden history
1 in 7 are insurance write-offs
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Insurance Write-Offs

A stack of scrapped carsIt is thought that over half a million vehicles in the UK each year are written off as a total loss by insurance companies. Some of these vehicles may be repaired and made fully roadworthy with a bit of work. However, some of these vehicles make their way back onto the market without the needed works done to make them safe. Insurance write-offs are divided into different categories depending on the nature and severity of the damage. A proper vehicle check will give you the category of any registered damage done to the car, and these categories are listed in more detail below.

Insurance Loss Categories

Category A: A vehicle with this category has been damaged to such a severe degree that it must be destroyed (crushed) completely. This includes all of it's parts, as they will not be salvageable to any legal standard. A 'Notification of Destruction' must also be sent to the DVLA for their records. A vehicle must have been in a catastrophic accident to end up with this category, or may otherwise have suffered flood damage, or a total burnout.

Category B: A vehicle with this category has received major structural damage, and it would be uneconomical to repair. Such a vehicle can not be resold, but undamaged and functioning parts can be salvaged and used for repairing other vehicles, or can be sold on. A 'Notification of Destruction' document will also need to be filled out and send to the DVLA.

Category C: A vehicle with this category is classed as salvage, but is repairable. It will still have received significant damage, and the cost of repairing it would be more than it's current work. It can be sold on to mechanics or vehicle salvagers, but not as a roadworthy vehicle. Should it be repaired, a VIC (Vehicle Identity Check) inspection must be undertaken before it can be seen as fit for using on the road. You car read more about what a VIC test entails on the VOSA website (https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-identity-check). All V5C documents must be sent back to the DVLA so the vehicle can be recorded as a Category C vehicle. However, after a successful VIC inspection has been undertaken, the owner may apply to get the original registration back. A successful VIC inspection will mean that the vehicle is no longer considered a Category C classed vehicle, but it's previous status will remain on the car's record with the DVLA and other relevant bodies, and this will also be flagged up by proper car checks.

Category D: A vehicle with this category is also classed as salvage, but should be easily repairable. The damage to it will be minimal, and probably not structural. However, the insurer has opted not to repair it, despite the fact that it may be economical. This category will also cover cars that have been recovered after a claim has been paid out on it, or those have been stolen and later recovered. It may also cover a vehicle that is rare or imported, and parts to repair it are not readily available. Such vehicles are able to be used on the road without a VIC inspection being taken out on them, though they will remain tagged with a Category D classification by the authorities, and thusly by car check information.

Category X: A vehicle with this category has been the subject of an insurance claim, but any damage is very minor or negligible at best, with little work needed to remedy it. Such a category is not likely to be recorded by the DVLA and so would not show up on a car check.

Edmunds Developer Network