Should I Buy a Category D Car?

If you want to save money on your car purchase, you may want to consider getting a category D car. These written-off vehicles can seem like a good deal because they're more affordable than non-category D cars. However, there are still some risks in choosing a category D car. So, it's important to ask “should I buy a category D car?” 

Understanding Different Categories

Vehicles that have been previously written off are divided into categories. It means that some vehicles may be repaired. And if the repair was done properly, then the car can be considered roadworthy again.

Cars that are in category D actually fall in this group. Such vehicles have had major damage brought about by a crash or even a flood. What happens here is that insurers consider them to be already too costly for repair and therefore, they have written them off

But in October 2017 there was a system change and then there was a new category system in effect. So today, cars belonging to category D can be reclassified as either category S or category N. Since the basic structure of a written-off car has not been damaged, it's still possible to sell them. They can then be repaired and then sold as category D vehicles. 

If we base it on the older system, insurers calculate the cost of repair to be greater than the actual value of the vehicle. Those cars are considered to be category C vehicles. This means cars damaged because of a crash and couldn't be repaired anymore need to be scrapped. These cars are known as Category A and B cars. 

New System Categories

In the newer system, there are new categories. Category A means the car can no longer be repaired and should be crushed. Category B cars still have parts that can be used and recycled but the car is itself must also be crushed.

Category N cars are vehicles that have been written off but have not attained damage to their structures. Therefore, these cars can be repaired and then they can be driven on the road safely again. Category S cars have had structural damage, but it's still repairable. 

Now, let's try to understand what a category D car is. A category D car belongs to the least serious group of insurance write-offs. It means the cars have had some damage and have been written off. But the repair costs for these vehicles are actually less than the car's value  For example, the airbag may have been may have gone off, and that’s the car’s only issue. 

In the new category system, the categories of write-offs are defined based on whether or not the vehicle has had structural damage. That's why if previously, the car was a category D in the old system, it could now be a category N in the new system, as long as there is no structural damage to the car. But if it does need some structural repairs, then it would have to be grouped in the category S vehicles.

Tips For Buying a Cat D Car

So now, should you buy a category D car? If you really want to buy this type of vehicle, here are some tips that you may want to take note of.

Purchase the Car from a Dealer

When buying a category D car, it would be better if you buy it from a dealer rather than purchase one from a private seller. This is because a car dealer is legally bound to give full disclosure about the vehicle.

If you compare that to a private seller, whose only obligation is to make sure that the car is “as described,” it would benefit you to know as much information as you can get about the vehicle before you make the purchase.

Do Ask Questions 

Before you buy a category D car, have a mental note of the questions you want to ask the car dealer. You may ask about the nature of the damage. You may also ask about the repairing garage that worked on the vehicle, as well as other information on what has been done to the car.

Ask about various car parts that were replaced, too. The insurer is actually not obliged to provide information on why a car was written off. However, a helpful car dealer will be able to give you insights into the background of the car

Conduct a Thorough Inspection

It would be a wise decision to spend a bit of money on professional inspections. Having an expert with you when you check the vehicle will give you the information you need so you can arrive at a sound decision on whether or not to buy a category D car. 

Don't Forget to Do a History Check 

Since you want to know so many things about the Category D car, you may end up forgetting the history check. It is very important to know the history of the vehicle before buying it.

For example, the car may have outstanding finance or there may have been. A history of theft, and others. All these pieces of information will guide you into making the right decision for your car purchase.


Once you're finished doing all the checks on the category D car, you can now make an informed decision about whether or not to buy it. When you do decide to make the purchase,  there are a couple more things that need to be done.

The first one is for you to inform your insurance provider about the car's status. Since it is in the category D group, it is important that the insurer can mark the car as category D on your insurance policy. This will protect both you, the car owner and them, the insurer, because otherwise, you may not be able to claim your policy when you need it.

The second one is to check warranties. It's possible to get a category D warranty cover from a warranty provider. It's an affordable way to get the protection that you need as a car owner, as well as peace of mind while driving on the road.

The third point to check is whether your car finance lender will allow you to borrow money for a category D car. Many lenders have restrictions on the types of cars they can help you buy, so be sure to check this one out before you commit to buying it!