Crash damage categories

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benmo | 14:18 Thu 22nd Sep 2005 | Motoring
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Hi, I've got my eye on a second hand Golf GTi. It's in good condition and a great price and everything - however, the seller told me that it was Category C Accident damaged, and has had a full professional repair. Would someone be able to give me a few hints as to what Cat C damage actually is and whether it would cause me any problems? many thanks!

Category C and Category D Registered Cars


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That's suspicious.

A Category D car is one where the value of the car is between 60% and 100% of the value of the car - Insurance companies write them off in order to avoid the risk that the repair turns out to be more costly than first thought.

A Category C is where the value is less than the repair. Normally the Police have to be notified when a Cat C is returned to the road because they want to check it's not been ringed - I mean why would you spend more money repairing a car than what it's worth.

Sometimes it can be OK, maybe the damage was less than expected or maybe good second hand parts were used but I'd be asking a lot of questions about why somebody thought a Cat C was worth "professionally repairing" I'd want an engineers report and I'd want to know who repaired it and check them out.

If I've not put you off yet you might like to check these people out:

They are based in Northamptonshire and are the only people in the UK authorised to inspect a car and have it removed from the HPI database

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Question Author
Thanks for your opinions and advice - what I really don't have a clue about is the categories - eg is Cat A the worst, or cat D? The seller said the car was hit lightly on the front driver-side wing. This would suggest to me that at least the bumper and front wing were replaced, but I'm not sure if there was any actual structural damage - I'm going to talk to the seller again tomorrow. The driver-side front wheel doesnt look like it sustained any damage - definitely not brand new and is in fitting with the other three wheels, suggesting it didnt have any problems with the wheel or the axle - but I guess I'll just have to get it checked out by experts. Cheers for your help, any one elses comments and suggestions are still welcomed!
Steer clear.
Question Author
Just with regards to what mdoo98 said... the car does have its original V5 document and is fully MOT'd and taxed. I would say the accident was moderately recent, but the car definitely isn't fresh out the repair shop. 

This page is motorbikes but it's the same thing:

Yes you're right it's VOSA not the police and whilst many Cat C repairs are done you do need to ask why when by definition the cost is more than the value of the vehicle - where's the profit for the repairer?

At the very least get an AA or RAC inspection done that you're paying for - not something that he produces.

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just thought Id share my experience with you.

I had a lexus is200 which I, one day, on a rainy day lost control of on a slip road while accelerating to join the motorway.

The car spun a few times and ended up on top of the barrier.

visibly all i could see was the end bit of the exhaust hanging off. The insurers engineers did their assessment and decided there was more than 8k worth of damage.

The car was worth 7,500 so the insurers paid out. In all honesty all the damage could have been repaired for less than 2k max!!!

The way these insurers engineers work out the damage is very very generous to say the least.

The lexus was still driveable and all i would have had to get immediately repaired was the exhaust which i think could have been repaired instead of getting a brand new exhaust.

The way these guys work out the price is that if there is a small scratch on the bumper they will work out the cost to get and fit a brand new bumper. And with their labour costs no wonder the total ended up being over 8k.

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well i was none the wiser this morning when u i bought a mid 2000 bmw 316i se. the man seemed genuine so of course dumb me went ahead with the buy. after ningling thoughts i went and did a reg check at and found out it was an insurance write off Cat C Extensive damage. After reading these comments i'm still not 100% sure on this. the damage was 09 last year. Extensive damage? i rung the guy back n he sounded shocked to be fair and said he didnt think of checking it up as he got it of a friend and assumed it to be ok. he explained about the vic test and the mot which the car has a full year of and 5 months tax and the V5 form. he assured me it would not have passed mot or had the V5 if it did not pass the vic test to be road worthy. i can honestly say the car looks and drives immaculate but again this is early days yet. he also explained that it would have been wrote off if the damage was more than the car was worth when put up for insurance. he could not how ever tell me what damage was done or what mechanic fixed it as he was a buy and seller and only recently purchased the car. would this effect the cost of my insurance? is extensive damage the panel of the car? and if so after a VIC test and MOT for a full year is this car safe to have my son in? any reply is appreciated.

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