Drivers in the dark about write-off categories

Up to 70% of used car buyers might be unaware if their vehicle has previously been written off.

New research by Carwow has found that seven in 10 respondents do not know that a Category S or N insurance classification against a vehicle means it was written off following an incident that led to an insurance claim.

Category S means the vehicle sustained structural damage that could be repaired, while Category N means the repairable damage sustained was non-structural.

In both cases the car must pass certain checks before being allowed to return to the road, and the seller is expected to inform potential buyers of any categories against the vehicle.

However, only 26% of respondents said they would not buy a Cat S or N car, with 68% of that number saying they would be unsure about the quality of the repair. Higher premiums (48%) and reselling challenges (45%) were other reasons putting drivers off.

John Rawlings, consumer editor at Carwow, said: “Cars that have been written off can offer buyers newer models at lower costs, but buying a car without being fully aware of its accident history can lead to problems further down the line.”