If you’ve every been unfortunate to be involved in an accident and your car is written off, it would be assigned a category. Where you can go from there depends on the write off category. Below we’ll break down and explain all the categories and also a couple of changes that have come in recent years.

The categories are (or were) defined as A, B, C, D, S and N. But what do these categories mean for you?

Category A

Category A refers to cars that have either been on fire or are so badly damaged in an accident that they will never be safe to go out on the road. These would normally be crushed which also means that parts which may have been salvageable will also be crushed.

Category B

Quite similar to Cat A as the cars bodyshell will be crushed, but this time you would have the opportunity to remove some parts before it happens. That would include wheels, seats and some mechanical parts. You could even remove the engine if it wasn’t damaged in the accident that caused the vehicle to be written off.

Category C and D

Depending on the age of the car and when it was written off, you may come across Cat C and Cat D, which have now been replace by Cat N and S (which we’ll come to in a moment.

Cat C and D are basically vehicles that could be made roadworthy, but it would be uneconomical for the insurance company to do so. These are usually vehicles with superficial damage. An example would be a Cat D vehicle which may have been a vehicle that was stolen, a claim made on insurance and then the vehicle recovered after the claim is closed. These vehicles may only have a scratch on them or still be in the same condition. These would then be a lot cheaper for a buyer than a vehicle of the same condition that hasn’t been written off.

Cat N and S

Relatively new. These work very similar to the category C and D write offs.

Cat N would be anything non-structural. Like the Cat D, this could just be a vehicle that’s been stolen so the damage (if any) could be very minimal or it could have problems such as extensive electrical problems which may require thousands of pounds to fix.

Cat S would be structural damage which would then be repaired and made perfectly legal and useable on the roads. The Cat N and S category would again be appealing to anyone buying the vehicles, which can come up at car auctions, as they are generally at a lower asking price and can be considerably lower than their non-written off counterparts.

Salvage Retention

When it comes to our specialist insurance policies such as our classic car insurance, you get salvage retention. In the event of the vehicle being written of with the required category, you would be given the opportunity to buy back the salvage. So if your vehicle is anything B or above, your pride and joy can still be yours.

Other products that would give you salvage retention would be our American car insurance and Hot Rod Insurance policies.