When browsing the used-car classifieds to buy a new car you will frequently come across the term ‘Cat D’ or ‘Category D’, usually accompanied by information saying the car is an ‘insurance write-off’ or ‘accident repaired’. Often, it’s difficult to get past the car sales talk and actually understand what is meant, indeed consumers often wonder; what does Cat D actually mean?
What is a Cat D car?
‘Cat D’ is simply a term for the insurance industry for cars that have been written-off. It indicates the level of damage that made an insurance company decide it was not worth repairing the car.
Cat D is actually the least severe category of damage, denoting a car that has suffered damage in the past but is repairable, only the insurance company decided it was not economically viable to repair the car. Meaning that it would have been more costly to repair the car than replace it with a new car. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) puts it as follows: “Repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs including VAT do not exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value.”
Often Category D cars will have been in an accident or will otherwise have suffered minor damage. As the cars will be repairable, many pop up in the classified ads and will usually seem like great deals with low prices compared to non-damaged cars. Once written-off by insurance companies these cars will have been snapped up and done up by dealers who then often still manage to sell them on for a profit.
Should I buy a Cat D car?
Category D cars, once repaired, are generally safe and legal to drive and can offer a great opportunity to own the car of your dreams at a lower price than a non-damaged example. As with any car, they can give you years of enjoyable driving. However, despite these cars having only suffered minor damage and usually being uncomplicated to repair it is important to tread carefully nonetheless.
It is especially important to check the documentation coming with the car to know exactly what kind of damage the car has suffered. Equally, it is vital documentation is supplied proving and explaining the repairs that have been done to fix any issues. If a seller avoids your questions or does not give you the documentation to back up the information in the classified ad it may be best to be very careful and only proceed if you’re sure the car is right.
If you’re unsure whether you’re doing the right thing by buying a Cat D car then always have the car checked over by an expert before buying to avoid buying a pig in a poke. It is important to assess whether the damage repairs have actually been carried out well and safely. Many mechanics offer pre-purchase inspection services which can assist in checking the car. ClickMechanic, for example, also offers a dedicated 118-point pre-purchase check for when you’re buying a car, get your quote now at www.clickmechanic.com/pre-purchase-inspection