What to do with insurance write-offs

‘Written off’. It’s the term that every driver dreads, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the end of the road for your beloved set of wheels – you can sell your insurance write off, and we’re here to tell you how. 

What should I do with a written-off car? 

How you deal with your written-off vehicle depends on which category of write off it falls into, there are six categories in total: 

  • Category A - the vehicle cannot be repaired and you may not use the vehicle, the vehicle will have to be crushed. 
  • Category B - the vehicle can’t be repaired, but you may salvage parts from the vehicle before it’s crushed. 
  • Category C - the vehicle can be repaired, but the overall cost is more than the vehicle’s worth. The car may be used on the road again once repaired to a roadworthy condition.
  • Category D - the vehicle can be repaired at an overall cost below the car’s worth, however, costs such as transporting the vehicle may push the total over the car’s valuation. The vehicle can take to the road again if repaired. 
  • Category N - Can be repaired after non-structural damage and used again once in a roadworthy condition. 
  • Category S - Following structural damage the vehicle can be repaired and used again once in a roadworthy condition. 

Following an assessment from your insurance cover provider, you’ll be given the category that your vehicle falls into as well as its valuation. 


Keeping a write-off 

If you’ve decided that you’d like to keep your written off car following the assessment and your vehicle falls under category C, D, N or S, you can buy it back. 

You must let your insurance provider know of your decision before agreeing on a settlement fee, while if the vehicle is classed as a category C or S you must also provide your insurance company with the vehicle’s full logbook and apply for a duplicate logbook using a V62 form for a vehicle registration certificate. 


Leaving a write-off with an insurance provider

If your vehicle is in too bad a condition to be repaired then your insurance provider will organise for your vehicle to be crushed and scrapped for you. 

For this to go ahead, you must provide the company with the full vehicle logbook or V5C document, however, you should keep the yellow section named ‘Sell, transfer or part-exchange your vehicle to the motor trade’. You should also tell the DVLA that your vehicle has been written off, as failure to do so can result in a £1,000 fine. 

If your vehicle has a personalised number plate that you’d like to keep, remove this before handing the vehicle over and apply to take off your private number plate.


Selling insurance write-offs

Alternatively, you may wish to sell your insurance write off and recoup some cash. If you do choose this avenue, thankfully, it’s not too dissimilar to selling a normal car. 

You must perform all of the usual checks that prospective buyers will be undertaking while looking at your vehicle, i.e is the car clean? Are the electrics in full working order? You can find out more information on what to check over in our used car test drive tips.

When advertising your vehicle, you must let potential buyers know that the car is an insurance write-off, if the MOT test is up and coming, it may pay to take the vehicle in for a service to give buyers extra peace of mind and persuade them towards a purchase. 

Many buyers will also wish to undertake a full vehicle inspection before signing on the dotted line; at present times, it’s important that all parties adhere to social distancing guidelines, wear face coverings and sanitise before and after checking over the car.

Once everyone is happy and a price has been agreed, make sure that you have the correct documentation, two copies of the receipt of sale for you and the buyer and notify the DVLA that your vehicle has sold


Selling an insurance write-off to a dealer or for scrap

Should you wish to scrap your car, in most cases your insurance provider will take care of proceedings, however, you can find a vehicle scrapyard yourself if you’d rather or your insurance provider doesn’t cover these arrangements. 

As is the case in leaving your vehicle with an insurance provider, you’ll need to provide your full vehicle logbook or V5C document, keep the yellow ‘Sell, transfer or part-exchange’ section and report and remove any private number plates.

If you’d rather sell the vehicle to a dealer you must follow the same procedures but additionally arrange for the safe collection of the vehicle with the dealer. 


If you’d like more help and advice concerning used cars, browse our blog page – and don’t forget our comprehensive vehicle check service that’ll dot the I’s and cross the T’s on many of your queries.