An insurance write-off is industry jargon for a vehicle that’s either had such a significant level of damage it’s unsafe to go back on the road, or it is still safe to drive but is beyond economical repair from the insurer’s point of view. If your car has been deemed unsafe, then instead of being repaired the owner will receive a cash payout for the loss.
So, what does a write-off check do exactly? Quite simply it checks if the car has ever been written-off by insurers or underwriters. It’s an advisable action to take when looking at buying a used car, van or motorbike. Our checks will flag up if the vehicle you want to purchase has previously been in an accident, or even worse, written off.
There are numerous reasons insurance companies write-off cars and it always means the vehicle will not be safe to drive. Therefore, it is essential to arrange a car write-off check for any vehicle before agreeing to purchase it. You can sometimes check the status of a write-off easily online, but that depends on the owner reporting it to the DVLA (or the insurance agency).
What happens if I buy an insurance write-off?
It’s easier to answer this if you understand the different write-off categories – in the UK, these are A, B, S and N. Previously – and somewhat confusingly, these last two were called “Cat C” and “Cat D” but this was recently changed. You can read more about these new CAT S and CAT N statuses here.
In short, category A and B should never be bought, ideally. ny that fall under category A must be scrapped and in B must only be used for parts. If it has been classified as a category A or B in a vehicle write off check then the car isn’t safe and should be avoided completely.
On the other hand, S and N category write-offs can sometimes be safely bought, and often can be repaired and then drive legally on the road.