New write-off categories clarified

Posted on November 23rd, 2017 by Rob Marshall


While I admit that this story is hardly hot-off-the-press, since the announcement came at the beginning of October, I have noticed that few outlets, other than the motor trade press, have reported it. It remains important, however, should you consider buying a vehicle that has been repaired, following an accident.

Effectively, the new categories for crashed cars place less emphasis on the repair cost and more on the car’s condition. Apart from simplifying the Salvage Codes (which were Categories A, B, C and D), providing a new qualification for professionals inspecting damaged vehicles, it is hoped that only vehicles that can be repaired safely are returned to the road. While this presents obvious safety benefits, it offers car buyers extra confidence, because the logbook / Registration Document (V5C) will include an ‘S’ identifier, to show that the car has sustained structural damage, along with the statement:

This vehicle has been salvaged due to structural damage but, following a technical evaluation, is declared suitable for repair.”

 Salvage Changes

Categories A (scrap only) and B (Break-up only for spare parts) remain unchanged. Category C has been replaced by Category S, meaning Structural damage has occurred but the damage can be repaired. The less serious Category D has been replaced by Category N, meaning Non-structural damage has taken place.

 What advantages do the changes have?

Ben Howarth, Senior Policy Adviser for Motor and Liability at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), commented:

“The updated Salvage Code of Practice is focused on making the UK’s roads safer, and ensuring that consumers have transparency about the history of vehicles… and have confidence in the cars they’re buying.”

Richard Billyeald, Chief Technical Officer, of Thatcham Research, added:

“It was important that the Salvage Code of Practice was updated to reflect the increasing complexity of modern vehicles.”

DAC Graham McNulty, the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Lead for Motor Vehicle Crime, admitted:

“I am pleased to support the new Code of Practice, which will assist in preventing potentially dangerous vehicles and vehicle parts returning to market and further disrupt criminal activities.”