What are Car Damage Categories?

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There are four insurance categories for damaged cars: Categories A, B, S and N. But how much do you actually know about each category and what it means? Read on to find out.



What is an insurance write-off?


You’ve most likely heard the term “insurance write-off” before – it’s essentially industry jargon for a car that has sustained so much damage that it’s unsafe to take it back out on the road, OR it is still safe to drive but is beyond economical and financial repair.

Car insurance write-offs are surprisingly quite common and can happen very easily. Even if the accident itself in which the car is involved in doesn’t seem so bad, the car can still be written off.

Each car insurance provider has different assessment criteria to calculate the cost of repairs and this is then used to determine whether the car should be written off or not.



What do the different car damage categories mean?


As mentioned above, there are four car insurance categories for damaged cars. These are categories A, B, S and N – the previously known Categories C and D have now been replaced with S and N as of October 2017.

Vehicles that have been involved in accidents will be thoroughly assessed and then given a label based on the severity of the accident and the damage that has been sustained. Car insurance providers use strict guidelines to determine what happens to your car after it has been in an accident, and depending on what car damage category they fall into will determine what happens to the car after. 



What is Category A in car damage?


Category A is for vehicles that are required to be completely scrapped and crushed without any parts being removed or salvaged. Category A is the worst category a car can fall into and represents the most serious grade or category a damaged car can be given.

Cars in this category are deemed to be totally unrepairable and unsafe to ever drive again – and the parts cannot be removed and resold due to how severe the damage is.



What is Category B in car damage?


Category B is the second most serious car damage category after Category A. The main difference between these two categories is that whilst cars in Category B have also sustained irreparable damage and cannot be driven again, the parts can actually be removed, recycled and sold off.

However, the actual body shell of the car must be destroyed and should not be reused as a car in any circumstances.



What is Category S in car damage?


Category S is a little less severe than the former two categories, and is for cards that have been structurally damaged but can be repaired.

The damage can be quite minor on cars in this category, such as a bumper being hit, but it can also sometimes be something more serious such as the crumple zone being crushed. However, cars will still be put into this category if the damage is something that can be repaired and reversed, and the car is safe to drive again.



What is Category N car damage?


Category N is for those cars that have not sustained any structural damage and instead have just suffered minimal surface damage. This can involve scrapes and scratches, or electrical or wiring problems. It can also sometimes include core safety features and structures that have been damaged and need to be replaces such as the suspension or steering components.


Find out more about car insurance here.

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