Your essential guide to insuring a category D car

For the thrifty or mechanically minded, a ‘category D’ car can offer great value for money. But most of us don’t even know what a cat D car is or how you go about insuring one. That’s where we can help. 

What is a category D car?

When a car is written off by an insurance provider, it’s put into one of four categories: A, B, C or D. Which category it goes in will depend on how severely it’s damaged and whether it can be repaired economically.

  • Category A – these cars are fit for nothing but scrap and must be destroyed. Even salvageable parts have to go in the crusher.
  • Category B – these cars can’t be repaired and the chassis will be scrapped. However, parts can be salvaged.
  • Category C – these cars can be repaired but the cost of fixing them will be more than the car’s value. In most instances, they’ll be sold on to dealers and garages.
  • Category D – although damage on these types of cars look minor, they can’t be repaired economically by the insurance provider. However, you can fix one up yourself (or take it to a professional) and get it back on the road again.

Is it worth repairing a cat D car?

It depends. If you’re in the business of fixing up cars or you know a professional who is, then you might be able to repair any damage relatively cheaply compared to an insurance provider.

If you’re thinking about buying a car that’s been listed as cat D, then it’s worth making sure you get it professionally checked out by an inspector. This will set you back upwards of £200 but, ultimately, you can’t put a price on your safety.

It’s also a good idea to run a background check on any cat D car you buy. This will flag up whether the car’s been stolen or if it has outstanding finance deals against it.

You should also consider that a cat D car won’t be worth as much – even after you’ve repaired it. Its chequered history will be forever recorded in the log book. So, if resale value is a primary concern, then it might not be worth bothering with.

Is it more expensive to insure a cat D car?

Cat D cars can be more expensive to insure and some insurance providers might not cover them at all. However, they aren’t impossible to insure and it may simply be a question of accepting a higher premium if you’re desperate to get a cat D car back on the road.

You should always tell your insurance provider that your car is a cat D, otherwise it could invalidate your policy. 

Do I have any rights if my car’s an insurance write off?

If you’ve made a claim and your insurance provider wants to write off your car, you can challenge them if you don’t agree. But bear in mind you’ll need evidence to back up your opinion.

If you don’t agree with the value that’s been placed on your car and you think it should be higher, then check out reputable second-hand car price guides. Or look at adverts of cars that are the same make, model, age and condition as yours. All of this can be valuable evidence to reinforce your argument. If your insurance provider still insists in writing off your car, you can pay for an independent engineer’s report, which can be offered as evidence in court.

Similarly, if your car’s been modified, then make sure you keep your receipts. These can be used as further proof that you think your car is worth more than the insurance provider’s estimation.

I love my car. Can I buy it back from the insurance provider?

When your car’s written off, the insurance provider keeps it (your pay-out is compensation for this). However, if you’re particularly attached to your car and can’t bear to part with it (you sentimental thing), or you believe it’s repairable and want to get it back on the road, then you can ask to buy it back from your insurance provider – so long as it falls into either cat C or D. But let your insurance provider know that you want to do this at the earliest opportunity.

Insurance is your safety net

We all know insurance is there to cover our backs, but if your car’s been declared a write off, certain policies can really come into their own. Look out for those that offer ‘guaranteed value’ – this means you can agree to fix the value of your car, which can be priceless if you have a heavily modified or classic car.

But whatever policy you need, find it right here at comparethemarket.com – we make it easy to search for the right deal for you. Start comparing car insurance now.

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