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Recorded Accident Damage

Write-Off, Category Loss and Total Loss are all terms used to describe vehicles with previously recorded accident damage against them.

After a vehicle has been involved in an accident the owner will contact his or her insurance company, they will generally fill out an accident report and forward it to the insurers and the vehicle will then be inspected by an insurance assessor either employed by the insurance company or a freelance insurance assessor who will also fill out a car (all vehicles - motorcycles, vans etc) accident report and assess the damage to the vehicle.

The assessment of the vehicle included in the car accident report will be based on the financial cost and the assessor will then decide whether the vehicle should be repaired or declared a total insurance loss, a write-off. In other words it is not worthwhile to repair a vehicle if the cost is greater than a replacement vehicle or the sum insured.

All previously written off vehicles are now classed into 4 different Categories, A, B C or D dependant on the damage sustained from the accident. The descriptions below are the most current & comprehensive provided by The Association of British Insurers.

Total Loss Category Descriptions
  A B C D
What does this category mean? The vehicle has not been repaired following extreme damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable with little or no salvageable parts. The vehicle has not been repaired following significant damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable however did have salvageable parts. This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs exceeded the vehicle value. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons. This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs were significant compared to the vehicle value. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons.
Why may the insurer not have repaired the vehicle? The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle extensively damaged and therefore un-repairable. It has little or no salvageable parts. The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle too damaged to be repaired, however there is value in its spare parts. The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle repairable, however the costs exceeded the Pre Accident Value of the vehicle. This marker is not an indication that a vehicle is un-roadworthy, but that the insurance company involved in the claim has made the decision not to repair it purely for economic reasons. The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle repairable, however the costs were fairly significant (i.e. greater than 50% of the Pre Accident Value).  This marker is not an indication that a vehicle is un-roadworthy, but that the insurance company involved in the claim has made the decision not to repair it purely for economic reasons.
What scale of damage may the vehicle have had?

This vehicle would have had extreme damage e.g. burnt out, completely destroyed, extreme chassis or bodyshell/frame damage or totally submerged in water.

The insurer considered this vehicle to have NIL value.

This vehicle would have had significant damage e.g. extensively damaged, bent chassis or bodyshell/frame or half submerged in water.

The insurer considered this vehicle to have some value as salvageable parts (e.g. greater than £50).

The damage level varies greatly for a Cat C vehicle. The damage may be quite extensive (but not structural) on a fairly new car, however in contrast the damage may be very light on an old car. This vehicle may have been submerged in water up to the floor level.

This category is purely an economically constructed total loss. It simply states that the insurer chose to not repair the vehicle for economic reasons.

The damage level varies greatly for a Cat D vehicle. The damage may be quite significant on a fairly new car, however in contrast the damage may be very light on an old car. This category is purely an economically constructed total loss. It simply states that the insurer chose to not repair the vehicle for economic reasons.
What should I do before buying a car? You should satisfy yourself that a vehicle you are purchasing is in roadworthy legal condition. You may choose to use a professional engineer to provide an inspection if you wish. You should satisfy yourself that a vehicle you are purchasing is in roadworthy legal condition. You may choose to use a professional engineer to provide an inspection if you wish. You should satisfy yourself that a vehicle you are purchasing is in roadworthy legal condition. You may choose to use a professional engineer to provide an inspection if you wish. You should satisfy yourself that a vehicle you are purchasing is in roadworthy legal condition. You may choose to use a professional engineer to provide an inspection if you wish.
What would the insurer do?

The insurer categorised this vehicle an A.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through salvage process with the aim of not allowing the car back on the road. Note that the insurer is not bound by law to do this. The owner may have retained the vehicle.

The insurer categorised this vehicle a B.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through salvage process with the aim of not allowing the car back on the road. Note that the insurer is not bound by law to do this. The owner may have retained the vehicle.

The insurer categorised this vehicle a C.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through the salvage process. They would have the view that this vehicle can return to the road following repair.

The insurer categorised this vehicle a D.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through the salvage process. They would have the view that this vehicle can return to the road following repair.

What would be the salvage process if applicable? If the vehicle is put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator all parts should be destroyed with the intent not to return the car to the road. If the vehicle is put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator all parts may be sold, however the damaged chassis or bodyframe should be destroyed. The intent is to not return the car back to the road. The vehicle may be put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator either for re-sale or for breaking for parts.  The vehicle may be put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator either for re-sale or for breaking for parts.
What if the vehicle has been retained by the owner or returned to the road? If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. Note that on older cars the damage may be fairly light and not impact its roadworthiness. If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. Note that on older cars the damage may be fairly light and not impact its roadworthiness.
What does the DVLA/VOSA get informed of? DVLA have received notification of categorisation under the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002. No notifications are made to the DVLA/VOSA.
Is the vehicle subject to a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC)? The vehicle is subject to a VIC should a new V5C be re-issued (i.e. change of owner or a change of registered keeper address). Check the VIC status at https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-identity-check This vehicle is not subject to a VIC.
What is a VIC?

The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) scheme has been introduced as a deterrent to ringing. Insurers must notify Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of all cars "written off" within salvage categories A, B or C. This notification will set a "VIC marker" against the DVLA vehicle record. Whilst a VIC marker remains set, DVLA will not issue a registration certificate V5C, or vehicle licence reminder V11. The VIC marker will only be removed, when the car passes a VIC.

The VIC is carried out by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

For further information about VIC contact:

Vehicle Inspectorate Enquiries: https://www.gov.uk/contact-vosa

DVLA Customer Enquiries: 0300 790 6801

DVLA website: www.dvla.gov.uk

Insurance Theft: These markers relate to vehicles that have been reported as "Stolen" to Insurance companies. The insurer may or may not have paid out in full & ownership rests with them when these markers are present. Insurance companies can look to repossess the vehicle, even if it has been bought innocently.

Key Points to consider

  • Sale prices are affected due to the associated category loss recorded. The logic here being, "Why would you pay full market value for a vehicle which has previous loss history?"
  • Check with your Insurer - Will they provide cover against previous loss type vehicles? Are there any special criteria if they will take on policy? Will your premiums go up? Will I get paid less in the event of a claim? Are all questions to consider and worth checking with your insurance provider before buying the vehicle.
  • Reduced Market - When selling loss type vehicles you have to consider that there is a part of the car buying public that will not buy a previously written off vehicle for any reason. It will not matter how good the repair, it will not matter that it is 100% road legal once repaired they will simply not consider. Hence a smaller reseller audience.

It is your money on the line is the best advice we can provide.

Think about it. Check BEFORE you BUY.

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