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Category Terms

What is a write-off?

  • If your car is damaged, your insurance company might decide it’s either too dangerous or uneconomical to repair. If this happens, the car is a write-off – you won’t be able to drive it until it’s been repaired, or not at all if the damage is serious enough.


  • The damage doesn’t have to look serious for the car to be written off – an insurance company can deem a car uneconomical to repair based on the value of the car and the cost to repair it. All insurers are different, but some say that if the cost to repair the damage is more than half the value of the car, then the car isn’t worth repairing.


  • Even with what looks like minimal damage, costs can spiral because insurance companies have to have the car repaired to how it was before the crash. Most specify that only manufacturer-approved parts and repair shops can be used, which is why a car might be more likely to be written off.


What is Category S?

  • Cat S is a fairly new category and was formerly known as Cat C. These cars have suffered some structural damage such as bent bumpers or a damaged chassis. They have to be thoroughly and professionally repaired before they’re allowed back on the road.


What is Category N?

  • Formerly known as Cat D, this categorisation means a car hasn’t suffered any structural damage. Instead it could be a cosmetic or electric problem, or a problem with important parts. Even though damage might seem minimal, it could include the steering, brakes or engine electrics so it’s always best to get a thorough check if you’re thinking of buying a Cat N car.