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How to check a car’s category & accident history?

How to check if car has category

When considering purchasing a used car, gathering as much information as possible about its history is crucial. One important aspect is determining if the vehicle has been classified under a category, such as written off, or if it has been involved in an accident. Understanding a vehicle’s history enables you to make an informed decision and ensure your safety on the road. Here, we will explore how to check if a car has a category or has been in an accident.

  • Are you buying a second-hand car? Know that it’s highly crucial to get a vehicle history check on it. The used car you want to buy has been in an accident before.
  • The insurance companies write off the car when it has been in an accident, and the damage makes it unsafe to get back on the road, or the repair cost is more than the car’s current value in the market. They call it” beyond economical repair” (BER). Before buying, do you know how to check if the vehicle has a category? Let’s discuss this further in detail.

What is an insurance write-off check and their categories?

An Insurance write-off check helps determine if a vehicle has been declared a total loss by the insurance company. The categories are CAT A (scrap only), CAT B (break for parts), CAT S (structurally damaged, repairable), and CAT N (non-structurally damaged, repairable).

How to check the category or accident history of a car?

If you ever want to check the category of a car, note that The Auto Experts provides this information for any vehicle in the UK, with a considerable discount. Just enter your registration number to begin. You can find a full report about what type of financial deals the vehicle had previously reported as stolen, even if the car is clocked or cloned.

So, let’s further uncover and explain the four A, B, S, and N write-off categories and what they tell you about car scars damage.

  • Category A Write-Off – Cars marked as Cat A means that it has suffered severe damage, which is beyond repair. It’s scored Cat A when the car scars the chassis or body shell and is heavily damaged by accident or fire. The remaining body is just scrap, and the insurance companies issue a Certificate of Destruction as the marked cars are not worth being on the roads again. So, remember, this type of car is not supposed to be on the road. If you see one, it’s because the insurance companies return it to its owners as the car is somehow valuable.
  • Category B Write-off? – Those cars which have suffered severe damage by accident or fire are put in Cat B. Their chassis and body shells are destroyed and irreparable, but some parts will be salvageable. Different from Cat A, some parts of the cars can be used in the other vehicles, but the Cat B marked vehicle is not worthy of being on the roads again.
  • Category S Write-off? (Previously CAT C) – Cars marked as Cat S have suffered damage to structural areas, but the damage caused is repairable, and it’s possible to make it roadworthy. However, if the vehicle is Category S, a certified Engineer must inspect it and get it re-registered with DVLA. The DVLA will issue a new registration number depending on the parts used to repair the car.
  • Category N Write-off? (Previously CAT D) – Cat N marked vehicles have suffered non-structural damage. These cars are repairable and worthy of being on the road again. The non-structural term includes many parts of the vehicle, such as roof panels, bumpers, and electrics, not to mention the engine and the seats. Since the damage is not severe, the Cat N marked vehicles don’t need inspection and re-registration to be roadworthy.

Check if car has category

Is the written off category status reflected in V5C?

Since the next buyer should inform the DVLA if the car has been declared a Cat S write-off (DVLA vehicle check), the vehicle will be issued with a new V5C logbook mentioning the car has been written off. It saves used car buyers from unwittingly buying a vehicle that was previously insurance written off. Sometimes, car owners need help to do this. It’s much better to consider a car write-off check before buying any used car.

Is it worth it to buy a repaired write-off car?

If the vehicle is Cat S or Cat N, consider buying them cautiously. When you go with your eyes open, there won’t be any problem. But if the vehicle write-off check shows Cat A and Cat B, you can skip them as they can’t be roadworthy even when repaired. Plus, the insurance companies will only provide cover for such cars. Still, if you repair the written-off car and bring it back to roadworthy condition, it doesn’t mean it’s restored to a factory standard. Only the manufacturers of the vehicle can repair it perfectly.

In most cases, the repaired car faces issues due to poorly fitted parts, poorly aligned panels, and low-quality paints. Also, there will be other errors that only an expert can find. So, before paying for a used car, it’s imperative to check the car accident history.

Is it possible to ensure a write-off car?

Most insurance companies will only provide cover for write-off vehicles. They must determine the repair quality and know that such cars will need many repairs. So, when you are considering buying a write-off vehicle, inform your insurer and let them know about the vehicle’s vehicle’s condition. See if they agree to provide cover. Those insurance companies who provide cover will ask you for the engineer’s vehicle inspection report and decide afterwards. Remember that ensuring write-off cars will be costly compared to new vehicles.

How does a category affect car value?

A category can significantly impact a car’s value. Vehicles marked as CAT A or CAT B may have little to no value due to severe damage. CAT S and CAT N cars may be cheaper but require careful inspection from an engineer before purchase.

Why are car category checks necessary?

Car category checks are crucial when buying a used car to ensure safety and avoid potential risks. They reveal if the vehicle has been involved in accidents or classified as a write-off, helping buyers make informed decisions and negotiate prices accordingly.

Conducting a vehicle history check

A vehicle history check is an effective method to determine if a car has a category or accident history. Various online platforms and services provide comprehensive reports based on the vehicle’s registration number. These reports typically include information about previous accidents, theft records, and any outstanding finance.

Examining the vehicle’s documents

Another way to check a car’s history is by carefully examining its documents. The logbook, the V5C document, provides ownership details and can indicate if the vehicle has been written off. Additionally, service history records and receipts might reveal if the car has undergone significant repairs due to an accident.


Checking if a car has a category or has been in an accident is crucial when purchasing a used vehicle. By conducting a vehicle history check, examining the vehicle’s documents, inspecting its physical condition, and seeking professional assistance, you can gather the necessary information to make an informed decision. Remember to prioritize your safety and ensure transparency throughout the car buying process. Trusting reputable sources like The Auto Experts can further enhance your confidence in the accuracy and reliability of the information obtained.

Answering your questions

What is a car written-off check?

A car write-off check or insurance written-off check is helpful to check whether the used vehicle you want to buy has been in an accident and if the car has a category.

How to check if a car has been in an accident for free?

It’s not possible to check the car accident history for free. But you can check the car category for £9.99, the cheapest in the UK.

What happens if my car has been written off?

If the finance company writes off your car after the accident, then the ownership will be transferred to them, and you will get some compensation. If the vehicle is a write-off, you can buy and repair it at your own cost and risk.

Will it cost more to insure a Cat N car?

When it comes to insuring a Category car, it will be higher. The insurance cost is negligible if the car has no more non-structural damage. If the car has a bad accident, it will cost you more to insure.