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Classification of Written Off Vehicles

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On 1 October 2017, changes were made by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) as to how vehicles would be classified in the event they were written off due to damages.

You need a car history check to explore a write off issues. 

Vehicle Write Off Classifications Pre 1st October 2017

Previously, there were four categories as follows:

Category A: refers to any vehicle that has suffered extreme damage that is considered irreparable by the insurance company; vehicle is determined to be a total loss with minimal to no salvageable parts.

Vehicles in category A may have been fully destroyed, burnt out, suffered extensive damage to the bodyshell, chassis, or frame, or have water damage from being submerged. According to the insurance company, the vehicle’s value is zero or NIL.

Category B: refers to any vehicle having suffered extreme damage and is considered irreparable according to the insurance company yet does have parts that may be salvageable.

Vehicles in category B may have suffered significant damage to the bodyshell, chassis, or frame, been burnt out, submerged under water, or completely destroyed. According to the insurance company, it retains minimal value related to salvageable parts. The value is usually around £50 or more.

Category C: refers to any vehicle that could potentially have been repaired, yet the accident damage repair costs would exceed the vehicle’s pre accident damage value. In this case, the insurance company has chosen not to make the repairs for economic or cost reasons. If proper repairs are made, vehicles in category C could be returned to the road.

The damage experienced by vehicles in category C can vary greatly. Damage may be significant, yet not related to the structure, particularly if the vehicle is pretty new. Older vehicles may appear to have much less damage (with considerably less expense to repair), yet not undergo repairs due to economic reasons.

Category D: refers to any vehicle that could have potentially been repaired, yet the repair costs are substantial and would exceed 50% of the vehicle’s pre accident damage value. For cost and economic reasons, the insurance company has opted not to make repairs. If proper repairs are made, vehicles in category D could be returned to the road.

As with category C write offs, the damage experienced by vehicles classified as category D can vary greatly. Again, older vehicles may have suffered very little damage, yet not be worth the cost of repair. Newer vehicles may have suffered significant, yet not structural damage.

Vehicle Write Off Classifications After 1st October 2017

As of 1st October 2017, written off vehicles still fall into four classifications. However, the classifications have been altered and now include the following.

Category A (SCRAP): Vehicles in category A are considered a total loss with no salvageable parts, according to the insurance company. This is related to irreparable damage. As a result, the vehicle cannot be repaired and the entire vehicle, including ALL of its parts, must be destroyed or crushed. The vehicle is considered to be a waste.

Category B (BREAK): Vehicles in category B are considered a total loss yet do have some salvageable parts. According to the insurance company, the vehicle has considerable damage that is irreparable, yet it retains some parts that can be recycled for later use. After the suitable parts are removed, the vehicle is considered to be a waste.

Category S (Structural): Vehicles in category S have suffered structural damage, but the vehicle can likely be repaired. The damage has occurred to parts of the frame and/ or structural chassis. The insured driver or owner has opted not to have any repairs made to the vehicle.

Category N (Non-structural): Vehicles in category N have suffered some damage, but no damage was done to the actual structural frame and/ or chassis. As a result, the vehicle can be repaired. However, the insured driver or owner has opted not to make repairs to the vehicle. This may be because critical parts/ items may need to be replaced, such as steering or suspension.

Has a Vehicle Been Written Off?

To determine if a vehicle has been written off, as well as the reason and what category it falls in, you must purchase a comprehensive UK vehicle history check. This check can be purchased through It’s On The Meter for (INSERT COST). While It’s On The Meter does offer a free check, the information made available is limited and does not include write off information.

Write off information is obtained through the Motor Insurance Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR), which receives and records information provided by insurance companies.

Stolen and Recovered Vehicle Data

Any vehicles reported as stolen in the UK are recorded by the Police National Register and the Motor Insurance Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR). When an insurance company reports a vehicle as stolen, a marker is placed in the MIAFTR. This implies that the vehicle has been recovered since the original theft yet has been determined to be an insurance total loss.

In the databases, the vehicle may be marked as:


  • Theft/ stolen: A date will be given, but the vehicle may have since been recovered.
  • Category B (BREAK): A vehicle was marked as stolen but was recovered on the provided data. However, the insurance company determined the vehicle to be a total loss.

Outstanding Finance and Debt Data

It’s On The Meter reports will highlight any vehicles with any outstanding finance or debt. This means that the vehicle currently carries some type of financial agreement, including a Hire Purchase, Lease Agreement, or Personal Contract Purchase. The It’s On The Meter report will also provide the contact information for the registered finance company. It is important to contact the vehicle’s owner before agreeing to purchase the vehicle. You will need to refrain from finalising your purchase until the existing finance agreement has been settled (paid off).

It’s On The Meter relies on Experian Ltd. for all outstanding finance data. Experian Ltd. is registered in England and Wales under the company registration number 653331 and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Experian Ltd.’s registered address is The Sir John Peace Building, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ.

Fuel Economy and CO2 Emissions Data

Information pertaining to fuel economy and CO2 emissions, as well as a vehicle’s running costs and more is provided by the Vehicle Certification Agency. This information is licensed for public use by the Open Government v3.0.

All It’s On The Meter reports provide this information in a format that is easy to read and understand.

Vehicle Specification Data

It’s On The Meter relies on information made available through the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), as well as a specific vehicle’s Ministry of Transport (MOT) report, to provide vehicle specification data.

Vehicle specification data includes:

  • V5C issue date
  • History of import and/ or export
  • Scrapped or unscrapped status
  • History of plate changes
  • History of colour changes

More than 40 additional data fields are also available through the It’s On The Meter report.

MOT Datasets

This information is provided by the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and includes historic and current MOT test data, including passes and failures and MOT advisory notices/ items. It also includes the vehicle’s mileage for each MOT test, making it easier to verify a vehicle’s mileage as correct.

Vehicle Safety and Branch Recalls

The VCA also provides information related to recalls. The specific make, model, and vehicle type will be listed in the recall, as well as a brief explanation of what resulted in the manufacturer safety recall. Recalls may be necessary to ensure owners repair potential mechanical issues and confirm road safety.

Geo-Location Vehicle Crime Data

It’s On The Meter utliises data made available through the UK police forces to provide this information which details vehicle crime volumes in a specific area.

It’s On The Meter customers will need to enter a street name, city, or postal code when requesting their report to obtain this information.

It’s On The Meter

If you have any comments or questions about It’s On The Meter or any of the information discussed above, please contact us using the links on our Contact Us page.