If you’re in a situation where your car has been written off, maybe because it will cost more to repair than it's actually worth, you might be wondering if you can keep it and have it repaired.🤔 Whether this can be allowed or not depends on a number of factors such as which write-off category your vehicle falls under, the specifics of your insurance policy, and what the law says regarding written-off vehicles.
What an Insurance Write-Off Means
When a car has been damaged, the insurance company’s specialists will assess it to see if it’s worth repairing and whether the vehicle is still safe to drive. The damage might be caused by an accident, flooding, or fire. As a policyholder, you will need to make a claim and the insurer will then send specialists to inspect the extent of damage to the vehicle.
If the assessors deem that the cost of repairing the car is no longer practical because it costs more than the value of the vehicle, then it will be written off. When this happens, the insurer will pay you an amount equal to the vehicle’s market value. Of course, this still depends on the level of insurance you have with them so be sure to check your policy.
What are the Write-Off Categories?
There are four car insurance write-off categories – A, B, S, and N.
- Category A - cars under this category are those that have incurred significant damage. These can no longer be repaired and are no longer safe to drive. The only thing left to do would be to crush these vehicles so that no parts can be reused.
- Category B - vehicles with extensive damage but still have some salvageable parts are assigned to category B. In this case, the body of the car would have to be crushed so that it cannot be driven again. Parts that are still working can be used in other vehicles.
- Category S - if your car incurred structural damage, it can be repaired but a professional needs to be the one to carry out the work. The car can’t go back on the road until the repair work is finished.
- Category N - cars under Cat N do not have structural damage. However, they may have electrical or cosmetic damage that the insurer considered to be too costly to repair. Just like Cat S vehicles, cars under this category can be driven again once the repairs have been completed.
Can I Choose to Keep My Written-Off Car?
If your car was damaged in an accident, the common procedure is that the insurer will send assessors who will evaluate the damage. It will then be decided whether the car can be repaired or written off instead.
Whether or not you can choose to keep your written-off car depends on your insurance policy. Be sure to read it to understand your options if you’re ever in this situation. Most often though, it is up to the insurance company to decide whether:
- To have your car repaired
- Pay you, the policyholder, to have your car repaired
- Or declare your vehicle to be a total loss, write it off, and then pay you an amount equal to the car’s market value
What can I Do if My Car was Written Off?
When the insurance company decided to write off your vehicle, what happens next is that the ownership of the car gets transferred to the insurer. The policyholder receives a settlement amount and the insurance company will dispose of the damaged vehicle.
You may challenge the decision of the insurance company if you think the car can still be repaired economically. However, you have to act fast because your car might be disposed of immediately after the decision to write it off has been made.
Next Steps if You Want to Keep Your Car
But what if I want to keep my car? This is a common question among car owners. In this situation, you can actually decline the settlement offer of the insurance company and keep your vehicle.
Of course, you cannot drive it again without making the necessary repairs. But maybe you want to keep the car so you can use the parts or transform it into something else completely like decorative art.
If your car was written off as Cat N or Cat S, you may keep your vehicle. However, if it’s under category S, it’s necessary to re-register the vehicle. For both Cat N and S, you have to report the insurance write-off to the DVLA if you want to keep your car.
For Cat B vehicles, you may keep it but you are not allowed to drive it again. You may store the parts for future use, especially if they’re rare, vintage, or custom-made. It’s understandable if you want to hold on to them.
Whether you can keep your written-off vehicle depends on its car insurance write-off category. If you decide to decline the settlement offer of the insurer, you have to make sure that your vehicle gets all the necessary repairs so that it will be safe to drive it again.
Don’t forget that you are required to inform the DVLA in the event that your vehicle was written off by the insurance company. If you don’t do this, you may find yourself receiving a penalty where you need to pay a fine of £1,000.
To find out more about your specific situation, check your insurance policy or you may also consult your insurer about what your options are in case your car has been written off.