What Does "Written Off" Mean on a One Check Report?
It goes without saying that a 'written off' warning on a One Check report can leave you with more questions than you started with. Should I proceed with the purchase? Would I have trouble selling it in the future? What does written off even mean?
If this sounds like you, you're in the right place.
What Does 'Written Off' Mean?
On a One Check report - and any other vehicle history check for that matter - written off refers to a specific status assigned to a vehicle by an insurance company or regulatory authority. When a car is declared as written off, it means that the vehicle has been extensively damaged, typically as a result of an accident or other incident, and is deemed uneconomical or unsafe to repair. As a result, the insurance company decides to 'write off' the car, categorising it into one of the four categories; A, B, S (formerly C), and N (formerly D).
Car Insurance Write-Off Categories Explained
- Cat A - (Scrap): The vehicle is severely damaged and deemed unfit for repair. It should be destroyed and cannot be sold for parts.
- Cat B - (Break): The vehicle is extensively damaged and cannot be repaired. However, some parts may be salvaged and used or sold second-hand for other vehicles but not as a complete vehicle.
- Cat S - (Structural): The vehicle has structural damage, which means the core structure of the vehicle has been compromised. It can be repaired and made roadworthy. Formerly Cat C.
- Cat N - (Non-Structural): The vehicle has non-structural damage, such as electrical or cosmetic issues. It can be repaired and made roadworthy. Formerly Cat D.
Does a One Check Report Tell What Cat Write-Off a Vehicle Is?
On a One Check report, whether or not your car has been written off will be reported as either a Pass or a Fail.
- Pass - This means the car hasn't been written off and is safe to drive and/or purchase. However, this does not mean it has never been involved in an accident.
- Fail - This typically indicates that the vehicle has suffered significant damage, usually due to an accident, and the cost of repairs exceeded a certain threshold or is considered uneconomical.
If you see a Failed Check you will be shown the following summary alongside any other Failed Checks.
When clicked through, it is at this point that information regarding the Loss Dat, Cat, and Damage Location will be available.
- Loss Date -Refers to the date when an insurance company or regulatory authority recorded the loss or damage event that resulted in the vehicle being written off. The Loss Date is an important piece of information as it helps determine the timeline of the incident and provides insight into the vehicle's history and potential damage. It can help potential buyers or interested parties understand when the vehicle suffers the loss and whether subsequent repairs or restoration work has been conducted.
- Cat - As discussed, refers to the classification assigned to a vehicle that has been written off or declared a total loss by an insurance company or regulatory authority.
- Damage Location - Refers to the specific area or part of the vehicle that was affected. The Damage Location can vary widely depending on the nature of the incident. It could indicate damage to the drone, rear, side, or other areas of the vehicle and may also specify particular components, such as the engine, suspension, frame, body panels, or interior.
What Happens If You Purchase a Written-Off Vehicle?
Purchasing a written off car can have various consequences and considerations as it could have hidden issues or problems that affect its safety or reliability. If you unknowingly find yourself in this position, here are some important steps you can take:
- Gather Information - When you discover that the vehicle you purchased is written off, collect and review all the relevant documents and information related to the sale. This includes the bill of sale, vehicle history report, warranties or guarantees provided, and any communications You had with the seller. Look for any mention or indication of the vehicle's written off status.
- Contact Seller - Reach out to the seller an inform them about the situation. Explain that you were not aware of the vehicle's written-off status at the time of purchase.
- Assess Repair Costs and Safety - Have the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic or automotive expert to asses its condition. It could be that. the repairs are feasible and align with your budget and safety requirements.
- Contact Insurance Provider - Inform your insurance company and provide them with all the relevant details; they can guide you on their policies regarding written-off vehicles and assist you in determining the next steps.
- Seek Professional Advice - If you were intentionally misled or provided false information, consult with legal professional who specialises in consumer rights or automotive law to understand your rights and potential recourse.
Should You Purchase a Written Off Vehicle?
Deciding whether or not to purchase a written off car involves careful consideration, thorough inspection, and understanding of the associated risks. Sure, opting for a written-off car might work out as a good deal to those who have the knowledge, resources, skills, and a clear understanding of the car's condition. But if you don't, it's advisable to opt for a vehicle with a clean history.
Can You Sell A Written-Off Vehicle?
Yes, it is possible to sell a written off vehicle, but certain considerations and regulations need to be taken into account. As mentioned above, the status of the car will depend on how quickly and easy the car will sell. For instance, a Cat A or Cat B write-off are deemed to have suffered severe damage and are considered unfit for the road. These vehicles are typically meant to be scrapped or dismantled for spare parts. However, a Cat N or Cat S write-off, as long as its status is declared to the DVLA and other authorities, are considered repairable and roadworthy after proper repairs and inspections. But it's important to disclose the vehicle's write-off status to potential buyers.
In short, the most important thing when looking to sell a written-off car is to disclose as much information as possible. It's essential to be transparent and inform potential parties about the cars written off status. Keeping this information from them could lead to legal issues and a damaged reputation.
Also, it's important to remember that written-off cars have reduced market value compared to similar non-accident vehicles so make sure to approach this with realistic expectations.
Does all the above sound all too familiar? Make sure to One Check it.