Category D Cars Explained

Photo credit: Mark Hillary

You may have heard of category D cars but do you know what they are? They have been in the news in the last few days so now looks like a good time to see what they are.

These vehicles are insurance write offs which are then sold on cheaply. They sound pretty tempting at first because of the price but they can have major problems with them. They have been stolen or damaged in an accident and the insurance company has found it easier to write off and sell to a salvage company than repair them for the owner to use again.

In fact, category D is the lowest category for write offs and means that the damage to the car would have cost less to repair than the cost of a replacement car. It still often works out better for the insurer to write it off though.

In some cases damage may have only been reasonably light but there is a risk that the vehicle has been badly damaged in the past and that the repair work might not be up to scratch. There are thousands of cars like this sold in the UK every year and some dodgy salesmen might not even tell you about the car’s history.

Cheaper to Sell It as Salvage

Graham Threlfall is the head of the National Association of Bodyshops and he has been talking about this worrying issue lately. He says that with the amount of expensive technology in modern cars it is often easier and cheaper for insurers to write them off rather than put the repairs through an authorised repair shop. The salvage company may then send the vehicle to a lower cost and poorer quality garage to get it fixed.

The Association of British Insurers says that there is “no empirical evidence” to suggest that member companies refuse to cover re-sold write offs on a widespread basis, but finding insurance for the car probably won’t be as easy or as cheap as it is with a car with no record of accidents. I used to work in car insurance and I am pretty sure that the 2 companies I worked for didn’t touch write offs, although it was a while ago and my memory ain’t what it used to be.




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