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Can I drive a Cat S car knowing it is safe?

If you go through the many advertisements for used cars there are a few “Category S” or “Cat S’ vehicles but what are they and should you be cautious?

If a vehicle that has been damaged during an accident, flood or fire, is too costly to repair and is expected to cost more than what it’s worth in the moment – it can be declared a write-off by the insurance company. There are four types of write-offs: A, B, S, and N. They replace the old system which had the category D.

A Cat S (or Cat S) car is one that’s been damaged structurally however, it can still be repaired. If it’s repaired the salvage classification is still present on the vehicle for the rest of its life, which decreases its appeal to many drivers, and lowers its value when it comes time to selling it.

A major flaw with the regulations is that there’s no legal requirement for repair salvage vehicles to be examined and deemed safe for use. This is why it is difficult to determine whether a Category S write-off vehicle has been repaired properly in a safe manner without a thorough mechanical examination.

Beyond safety, handling Category S vehicles is risky in many ways. The label can affect how much insurance you pay, and could limit the amount you are able to sell your car for in the future. This could even decrease your chance of selling your car in the first place, since many people may opt to not purchase a vehicle which they know was declared a total loss.

What is the reason why insurers cancel Cat S cars?

The structural damage can be very costly to repair , and insurers constantly have to weigh the costs of repairs, and other expenses related to it like hiring and administration costs which could result from an insurance claim against how much value was placed on the vehicle prior to the collision.

If the expense of repairs and covering costs exceed that of vehicle The insurance company will offer the policyholder an amount for settlement and also write off the car.

Who is the person who repairs Cat S cars?

Bodyshops and independent garages that have special equipment to repair cars in Category S. They typically have low costs because the vehicles are not sold at the same amount as vehicles not listed as write-offs which is why they are able to buy them at a cheaper price than cars that are undamaged.

A lot of garages which repair write-offs are trustworthy garages. However, they are not inspected. doesn’t legally require them to be independently checked which means that customers cannot be sure that a repaired write-off in the category S written-off will be safe to drive on.

Visit to find out what is a cat S car.

Can I drive on a Cat S car knowing it is secure?

In the above paragraph the lack of control on repair standards means that you cannot be certain repair work on a category S writing-off will be safe. The best option is to inspect it by an independent third party and, at the very minimum run it to an MoT test in an independent garage, not connected to the dealership selling it.

The majority of problems that make a car unsafe to drive will be discovered in an MoT and you’d like that anything that isn’t safe will be flagged during the course of an MoT.

Can I purchase the Cat S car without realising it?

The most important information regarding a car is not able to be concealed by a dealer , and it’s legal. Make sure you read the documents thoroughly and if there are any doubts, verify its background with a car information firm like HPI. If you purchase from a dealer who follows the manufacturer’s approved used vehicle scheme, they must have completed these checks for you.

There’s a lot less secure in buying privately. The seller should be honest, however in the event that they’re not, and you bring them to court, they can argue that they didn’t know that the car was a write off and be able to walk away with no penalty. To ensure that you’re sure make sure you run an HPI check on the vehicle and it should be able to identify any cars which have been declared write-offs.

Are Cat S car cheaper than an unwritten-off car?

It definitely should be. The stigma associated with being considered a write-off lingers over cars in the Category S category like an unpleasant smell, which makes it hard to sell. The price must be able to reflect this in order to convince the buyer’s decision to buy one instead of other write-off vehicles.

While it could be less expensive to purchase but it must be sold at a low price after you’ve finished it, and so, you’re not better off. In fact, you might be in a worse position because you’re facing the issue of convincing prospective buyers that the vehicle is secure.

Will I be required to pay more for insurance the Cat S car?

The simple solution is no. Insurance is about risk and Category S vehicles have a higher risk of being deemed risky than those that are assured to be solid and structurally solid. The condition of their past and current conditions aren’t certain and their market value will be uncertain in the event that it is written off again.

The majority of insurers will offer coverage for the cost of a category S car, however at a higher cost than a vehicle that hasn’t been written off.

Other categories

Categor A: The car may not be repaired and it must be crushed.
Category B: Cars could have parts that are usable reused, but it needs to be crushed.
Category N: A written-off which does not have any structural damage and can be repaired and returned safely back to its road.

What is the car’s structure?

Structure of the car is described according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) one of the groups responsible for the code of salvage. It defines “damage” as any structural component that requires realignment in its initial dimensions, or replacement. The car’s structure includes:

Front bulkhead / fire wall
Front rail for the header
Side cant rail
Rear rails for the header
Rear cross member
Rear inner Wing
Extension of the rear wheel housing
B-post (part of the central pillar)
A-post (part of the front pillar)
Front upper wings support
Front inner wings
Front chassis leg/welded cross member
Rear chassis leg

Be aware that some of the most important components – like suspension and steering are not considered structural.