Insuring a Cat D car – a complete guide

May 10, 2018

Buying a category D car can be a great way to save money, as long as you know what you’re doing. A lot of people don’t even know what a cat D car is, nevermind how to go about insuring one. So let us help…

What is a cat D car?

car crash resulting in cat d write off

‘Cat D’ is short for category D, which is one of four categories a car is placed in by insurance companies when it has been written off (or deemed a ‘total loss’ in insurance company speak).

The different categories refer to how much damage the car has suffered, and are organised as follows:

  • Category A car – these are completely ruined and need to be scrapped. Even any parts that might appear to be salvageable need to be scrapped.
  • Category B car – similar to the above, these cars cannot be repaired. However parts can be salvaged.
  • Category C car – these are cars than can be repaired, but the cost of fixing them and making them roadworthy again will be more than the actual car’s market value. Usually cat C cars are sold to garages and dealers.
  • Category D car – this category is for cars that insurance companies deem to be ‘uneconomical’ to repair, but can be repaired privately i.e. by you or a professional mechanic to make it fit for road use.

Is it worth buying a cat D car?

If you are confident in your ability to repair a car, or know a professional who is, then you could be able to make a cat D car roadworthy at a much lower price than an insurance company could – which means a cat D car could be a cheap and cost effective option for you.

Before you buy a category D car then you should definitely consider paying an inspector to give it a professional once over. This should cost around £200 – but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. You should also run a full background check on a cat D car as this will reveal if it has any outstanding finance deals against it, or if it’s been stolen.

If you’re thinking of buying a cat D car to fix up and then sell for profit, you need to bear in mind that it will not be worth as much even after you’ve repaired and restored it. Once a car is listed as category D that will always be recorded in the log book. That’s not to say you won’t make a profit on a cat D car, but the resale value will not be as high as the market value for that make and model of car.

Insuring a cat D car

Getting insurance for a category D car can be more expensive, as the fact that it has been written off and repaired means the insurer will see it as an increased risk. There are also some insurance companies who refuse to provide cover for cat D cars at all.

However, by shopping around you should be able to find appropriate cover so you can drive your cat D car on the road – it will just be a case of accepting a slightly higher premium. Don’t be tempted to try and save money by not revealing it is a cat D car to the insurance company, as this could invalidate your policy when it comes to making a claim.

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What to do if your car is written off as a cat D

If you make a claim and your car insurer wants to write off your car, then you are within your rights to challenge this decision if you don’t agree with it. However, you will need evidence to back it up and change their mind.

You can check out second-hand car price guides if you think the insurance company has valued your car too low – or look online for cars on sale that are the same make, model, condition and age as your car. All of this can help reinforce your argument and convince the insurance company that the car should not be deemed a cat D write-off.

If your car has been modified then make sure you keep the receipts as these can also be used as evidence that the car is worth more than the insurers’ estimate.

When an insurance company writes your car off, they keep the car and pay you the market value of it. They then become the ‘owners’ of the car and can do with it as they please – which will either be selling it to a scrap/salvage company or to a car dealer if it can be repaired.

However, if you want to keep the car then you can ask to buy it back from your insurance company – as long as it is either a cat C or car D write-off. It is imperative that you inform your insurance company of this as soon as possible, as they will be looking to move your car on as soon as they decide to write it off.

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