What’s a Category C or Category D car?

Just because a car has been 'written off', it doesn't necessarily mean you should reject buying it.

Words by: First published: 29th June 2015
If an insurance company ‘writes off’ a car, it is placed in one of four categories rated from A to D, with A the most severely damaged. Category A and B cars are so badly damaged, Auto Trader will not allow them to be advertised for sale, and we would strongly advise you to not buy one, as insurance companies reckon they could not be repaired.

It is however perfectly acceptable to buy a car from Category C or D. In both cases, they reflect a car that was repairable, but the insurers chose not to, probably because they thought it was cheaper to replace the car than repair it.

In that event, they’ll often sell the car on for salvage, when someone else may choose to repair the car. If the car is repaired properly, there’s no reason you shouldn’t buy and run it.

The attraction of a repaired Cat C/D car is that it will cost less to buy than the equivalent non-written off car, but you must make sure that car has been properly repaired.

Before you buy it, ask to see documentary evidence of what happened to the car and what repairs it has had. Consider having a third-party inspection done to give it the all-clear. Also, check how much it will cost to insure, as some insurance companies will charge more for Cat C/D cars, and others won’t cover them at all.

Bear in mind, just as it was cheaper to buy in the first place, it will be worth less when you come to sell it on.
Related topics:
Buying a used car