Explained: Write Offs and Cat A, Cat B

What is a write-off?

The term write-off applies to a car that has been written-off by an insurance company because it has been judged to be uneconomical to repair. If your car is written off, you won’t be able to drive it until it has been repaired and judged to be safe, although the damage could be so extensive that this is impossible.

To measure how badly damaged a car is it will fall under one of four categories – called A, B, S and N –which replaced the old C and D categories in October 2017. A car doesn’t necessarily have to be badly damaged to be declared a write-off – if it has a low value, for example, a low-speed bump could be all it takes to see your car written off. Of course, it depends on the insurer but a good rule of thumb is that if the cost of the damage is more than half the value of the car, it’ll be written off.

Repairing damage can be pricy, too, remember that you’ll not just be paying for replacement parts but also labour, often its the latter that can be the real wallet killer.

For clarification on each of these ‘insurance categories’ like for example Cat N and a detailed explanation of what they mean, read our guide here.

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