Should I Buy a Category B Car?

If you’ve shopped around for used cars, you may have seen some that are being advertised as belonging to a certain category like “Category S” or Category “N.” Some vehicles are categorised this way because they have been written off by the insurance company. Are you thinking about buying a written-off car? Here’s what you should know first.

When is a Damaged Car Written-off?

The write off categories indicates that a certain car has been through an incident and has sustained damage. This damage is deemed by the insurance company as too costly to repair. The insurer assesses the vehicle and then categorises it depending on the severity of the damage it sustained. 

Insurance companies usually write off the car if the repair cost will exceed 50% of the vehicle’s market value during the time of the incident. The car can be written-off even if the damage is not so severe, and in this case, the owner will be paid by the insurer but will no longer get the car back. 

The written-off vehicle might be repaired and be safely driven on the road again. However, it will always carry the category it’s been assigned in by the insurer to alert future buyers and insurers of the car’s previous incident and damage. 

Buying a written-off car is not necessarily bad. You just have to know what to check and how to assess the vehicle before you buy one. Remember that if you ever intend to sell a written-off car, its history will affect its resale value. 

Should I Buy a Category A or Category B Car?

Since 2017, the categorisation of car insurance write-offs has changed. However, the first two categories, A and B, have remained the same. Cars under the categories A and B are those that can no longer be driven and returned to the road. 

For Category A vehicles, they have incurred damage so severe that they cannot be repaired at all. Apart from that, even their parts cannot be salvaged. The only thing left to do is to destroy the car by crushing it so that not a single part can be reused in another vehicle. 

For Category B vehicles, the damage sustained is severe but it can still be broken down into parts and those salvageable components can be used on other vehicles. However, the Category B car itself should never return on the road. Usually, breaking down the car and salvaging the parts is not economically viable so they will also be crushed and destroyed completely. 

So, now that you know what it means when a car is under Category B, it’s easier to understand why you shouldn’t buy one. First of all, you cannot buy a Category B car and still use it to drive on the road. If you’re buying scraps, however, then you might be able to get Category B cars after they’ve been destroyed. 

Secondly, even if you find a seller who’s willing to sell a Cat B car, not only is it illegal and impractical to buy one but it’s also a very dangerous decision because you’re putting your life on the line driving a severely damaged vehicle. 

Unfortunately, cars that have significant damage will not usually be eligible for car finance.

Should I Buy a Category N or a Category S Car?

Category N used to be Category D in the old system. It refers to vehicles that have been damaged although not severely. However, the parts that may have been damaged are important in keeping you safe while on the road. It could the suspension, brakes, or steering that needs replacement. When properly repaired, a Category N vehicle can go back on the road. 

Category S cars used to be called Category C. It refers to cars that have sustained structural damage and can only be repaired by expert auto mechanics. Hobbyists or those who want to attempt a DIY project on this car should not try to fix the car themselves. 

It’s not just about whether it’s costly to repair the vehicle but whether repairs are possible at all. Insurers would rather pay the car owner rather than spend on a very expensive repair. 

Not all vehicles under Categories N or S have structural damage. Some actually just have minor damage that is cosmetic or electrical but the insurer has found it too costly to repair them. So, if you’re looking for a cheap car, Cat S or N cars can be your options. You just have to make sure that the repairs are done by an expert auto mechanic to ascertain that the car will be safe to drive. 

Is It Practical to Buy a Written-off Car?

For the insurer, they’ve made the decision that it’s not practical to get some damaged cars repaired. After they’ve written it off, the insurance company sells the vehicle as salvage. This is usually done at an auction. 

Category N and S vehicles are cheaper compared to cars that have not been in accidents, and this may seem like a way to save lots of money. If you want to buy a written-off car, you have to make sure that the damage it sustained from an accident has been repaired fully to the required standards. 

Also, if the car has been categorised as S or N, then know that it’s permanent. Even if you’ve had it repaired into the best condition possible, this write-off can no longer be changed or removed from its record. So, if you’re going to resell the car, expect to get a low price from it. 


If you’re looking for ways to save money, you might be thinking that buying a written-off car is the best way to go. This is not true. You can may be better to buy a more reliable, used car through car finance. With car finance, the cost of the vehicle will be spread for a certain period which you’ll pay through monthly instalments. It’s an alternative way to buy a safe car and enjoy driving with fewer worries. 

Ready to apply for car finance? Carmoola offers different car finance deals. To know if you can get financing from us, simply download Carmoola on your smartphone and enter your personal details. After you verify your identity using your driver’s licence, you’ll know the result within minutes! Download Carmoola now!