Four Crucial Insurance Write off Categories you should know.

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The insurance write-off check is crucial when buying a used car. It tells whether a vehicle is safe to drive. In the UK, a car gets a certain write-off category when severely damaged. Sometimes, the damage exceeds the car’s current market value and gets scrapped. However, sometimes it gets a repairable minor issue.

A car write-off check may help grab a discount from the car seller. Plus, it is vital to know that you are driving a safe vehicle. So, how to see the category of the car you are buying? Without any further ado, let’s start from the basics.



What Does it Mean “Insurance Write-Off Check”?

The insurance write-off check will reveal if the car is written off with any of the following four write-off categories:

  • CAT A
  • CAT B
  • CAT S (Formerly CAT C)
  • CAT N (Formerly CAT D)

Just by the car’s registration number, you will know whether the vehicle is worth buying or not. The car write-off check will search DVLA databases for the records. If the vehicle is assigned a category, the write-off check will show the specific type and more information helpful in buying a car.

What Are Insurance Write-Off Categories?

The ABI (Association of British Insurers) assigns one of the four write-off categories. It depends on the car’s damage and its repair value. In an accident, the insurer’s inspection engineers inspect the vehicle and assign a category.

Following are the four categories they give:

  • CAT A (Scrap)

The category A write-off tells that the car is scrapped. The vehicle and its parts must not re-appear on the roads due to the severity of the damage.

  • CAT B (Break)

The CAT B write-off tells that the car got a severe accident. The car shell is scrapped, and the parts aren’t worthy of being used in other vehicles. However, some pieces are salvageable.

  • CAT S (Structural Damage)

A category S means that the car has suffered structural damage in the accident. Such vehicles are repairable and can re-appear on the road after the services of an expert mechanic.

  • CAT N (Non-Structural Damaged)

The CAT N explains that the car has no structural damage. Only the brakes, suspension, steering, and other parts aren’t in good condition. Such cars can hit the roads after all the repair costs are met.

Why is a Car Write-off Check Important?

Even if the car has categories S and N, the car write-off check can be beneficial. Here is how:

When buying from a private dealer, there is always a risk of confidential information. They may not tell the car write-off category because it’s not a legal requirement for them. However, for you, it’s crucial to know if the vehicle is safe to drive or if it requires specific repairs before putting it on the road. The repair costs could be higher.

If the car’s history highlights CAT A or CAT B, avoid buying it.

If the car has a category S or N, it’s better to know it even if they are safe to drive. No doubt, private dealers may hide this information because it will devalue their cars. However, if you buy the insurance and write off a check before the deal, you can buy the car at a lower price. Remember, the written-off vehicles are cheaper compared to undamaged cars.

Is it Worth Buying a Written-Off Car?

Honestly, there is no reason not to buy properly fixed written-off vehicles. They are cheaper and repaired to be put back on the roads. It’s a good option if you are fully lured in by the discounted price.

However, it’s always best to avoid purchasing written-off vehicles. Some car problems re-appear even after a proper fix – there is no guarantee for that. Furthermore, it’s hard to find an insurer for the written-off vehicles. Some insurers will deny, and some may charge you extra. So, be prepared for that too.

How to Check if a Vehicle is Written Off?

You will find many vehicle history providers online. They will require the car’s registration number and reveal the write-off category and other hidden details within minutes. However, it’s not free anywhere. The car— history providers will charge you some bucks for their service. But make sure you buy the authentic and cheaper one. As always, it pays to shop around!


Buying a used car is overwhelming and full of risks. Blind-trusting the private dealers isn’t a good idea. Apart from write-off categories, there are several other hidden risks too. So, it’s always essential to buy the car HPI check before the deal. It’s similar to the insurance write-off check and will reveal complete car information. It’s important because it’s a matter of your safety.

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