What is a Category B write-off?

A serious accident can often leave your car with irreparable damage, meaning your insurer will place it in one of four write-off categories.

If the damage is extensive and the car can’t be repaired or put back onto the road, it will be classed as a Category B write-off. 

This handy guide will explain exactly what that means for you and what value your car will have after such an incident.

What damage will a Category B car have? 

Category B, or ‘break cars’, are heavily damaged and beyond repair. They have been seriously written off, meaning the vehicle’s body shell or chassis should be scrapped.

They can, however, be stripped for parts to repair other vehicles, if those parts are serviceable. After those parts have been salvaged, an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) will deal with the chassis or body shell.

Only ATFs are permitted to handle Cat B cars. They will also only sell them to businesses that have certification to prove they’re allowed to store and destroy such vehicles. 

You shouldn’t have to do much, as the difficult bits will be sorted by your insurer. You can choose to take your car back, but then you will be solely responsible for making sure it’s scrapped. 

Should I buy a Category B car?

You can’t buy a Cat B car to bring it back into roadgoing condition, but you can buy it and remove any serviceable parts, which you can then sell. 

Breakers will often buy Cat B cars for this reason, as they can sell the parts for profit or can use them to repair other less-damaged vehicles.

Cat B cars are uninsurable, so insurers will never consider giving a driver a quote for one.

It is, on the other hand, possible to insure a car that has been repaired using parts that originated from a Cat B write-off. 

Which parts can be salvaged from a Category B write-off?

There are quite a few parts that can be salvaged from a Cat B write-off, as long as they’re undamaged and serviceable. 

Parts that can be saved from a Cat B write-off include the wheels, seats, suspension, engine, gearbox, radio/stereo, battery, steering wheel, doors and catalytic converter. 

However, as mentioned, they must be in good working condition.

Other write-off categories

In the UK, there are four different categories for insurance write-offs.

Category N is the least severe and is for non-structural damage. Next is Category S, for more serious structural damage that can be repaired. 

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