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What is a Category A write-off?

Category A car
Category A car

Category A is the most severe form of write-off

Some write-off categories are more serious than others, and the most severe type of all is named Category A.

If your car is designated a Category A write-off by your insurer, it will have to be scrapped.

Cat A write-offs are deemed the most dangerous - more so than Category B - and you aren't allowed to salvage and sell any parts.

Read on for all you need to know about Cat A write-offs and how they compare to the three other categories of write-off your car can receive in the UK.

What damage will a Category A car have?

Cat A cars have received serious damage in an accident, so much so that they will never be roadworthy or safe to drive again.

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This classification is reserved for vehicles that have been involved in high-speed impacts or those that have been extensively vandalised or completely burnt out.

Unlike Cat B write-offs, you can’t strip a Cat A write-off for parts. The case may be that the parts will be so damaged that they will be unsalvageable.

How should I deal with a Category A car?

Cat A write-offs go straight to the crusher and can't be purchased or put back on the road.

Cat A cars will be taken by your insurer and handed over to an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF), which are the only facilities permitted to handle Cat A cars.

Beware that you still need to pay off your insurance until your cover cycle ends. You also won’t be in line to receive a refund for your policy if you paid the figure in full up front.

Should I buy a Category A car?

You can't legally (and shouldn't) buy a Cat A car, but some insurers will offer you a payout as compensation for yours.

The amount you receive will be based on its market value - how much it was worth before the incident that caused it to be written off.

The final payout will also be influenced by the excess figure negotiated by your insurer as part of the claim. It's possible to challenge the claim if you think you’re owed more.

What other write-off categories are there?

In the UK, there are four different categories for insurance write-offs.

The least severe is named Category N, which is for cars that have received non-structural damage. Category S is for more serious structural damage that can be repaired.

Category B is the second-most severe form of write-off, which is reserved for vehicles with extensive damage - be it structural, electrical or mechanical - that can't be repaired. These can however be stripped for parts that can be resold.

At the top of the scale is Cat A, which is reserved for the most costly and severe write-off, where the entire car will be sent straight to the scrapyard.

Often, the majority of the car's parts won't be serviceable. While most Cat A designations are caused by accidents, they can also be caused by vandalism and complete burn-outs.

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