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CAT B Write Off

Modification Details

This story below was correct at time of writing, circa mid 2015.
Unfortunately in that time, the Government has scrapped the VIC test.

CAT C cars no longer require a VIC test. They just need to pass an MOT.
CAT B and CAT A cars now cannot be booked in for a VIC test.

CAT A cars must be scrapped.
CAT B cars can be used for parts except the body/chassis.

This is a shame as here is my story about an easily repaired CAT B smart that was saved from being scrapped.

A car that was CAT B just because the engineer who checked it did a crap job of looking at the car.

2017 Catagory Update

On October 1st, 2017, the insurance write off codes changed.

CAT A - must be scrapped.
CAT B - must be scrapped but parts can be used.
CAT S - structural damage that could be repaired.
CAT N - non structural damage that can be repaired.

CAT B Insurance Write-Off. Has To Be Scrapped Right?

Wrong (at the time of writing), no matter what uninformed people tell you on forums.
Even insurance companies tell you lies about this.

So, What's The Story?

In 2014, my 45bhp 451 diesel just died. Fuck knows what is wrong with it. We tested loads of stuff.
So, when I saw a 451 diesel with front end damage, I decided to buy it for the engine.

I got the whole car for £640 which was worth it just for the low mile engine.

The Cat B insurance write off part didn't bother me because the plan was to use the engine and scrap the rest.

However, when it arrived and I took all of the damaged parts off I realised that the engineer who gave
it a CAT B rating was a total gobshite who was clearly rushing through it to get to the pub. He probably
saw the smart and just assumed that it was a complete write off because it was a small car.

The only damage was the radiators, crossmember, steering rack, front frame, centre panel and crash bar.

The bulkhead wasn't touched and the chassis/shell was untouched by the collision.
Obviously the airbags and seatbelts had detonated so it wasn't the cheapest repair.

After looking at the car for a while I decided that it'd be educational and fun to try and repair it.
I looked online to see if CAT B cars could be repaired and put back on the road legally.

There should be no surprise that a lot of people on general car forums didn't actually have a clue and were just
spouting the same shit they'd heard elsewhere, insisting that they were right.

Even some insurance companies stated that CAT B cars had to be scrapped, then I found this.

So, if you can be bothered to fix it and make it road-worthy, that's fine.
Before spending any money on fixing it, I had an HPI check done just to check that it was CAT B.

Oh! There's an issue I didn't expect, it was CAT B but it was also still on finance.
Look further down, even the HPI company wrongly says that the car should be scrapped.

I started wondering if the previous seller was trying something dodgy and that he'd
try to pass the finance on to me. I decided to look into it further before continuing.
If the finance people wanted money, I would scrap the car for parts.

I came across the following information.

The seller didn't inform me that the car was on finance so I had something to work with.

The HPI document had the finance details on it so I emailed them. I got a fairly swift response
asking me to fill in some form and send it back to them with any information that I could get.

I filled the form in, printed out all the evidence of the sale and sent it to them recorded delivery.
I didn't expect any issues as they wouldn't want a written off car. I was right.

A few days later I received this email.

The finance marker was lifted and the previous owner can't try to pass it on to me. Time to fix the car.

I had the airbags, seatbelts and headlights. I bought all the front end parts and rebuilt it over 2 days.

2 days later I had a new windscreen fitted and the car was ready to go. I just needed to jump through some
DVLA sized hoops. This was the hardest part, trying to work out what order I had to do everything in.

Firstly you need to insure the car. Try your insurance company, talk to Adrian Flux or just do it online.
With the car insured you can legally drive to an MOT with no tax.
After passing the MOT you can legally drive the car to the VIC test with no tax.

I applied for a VIC test. There aren't many test centres left and they are slow to reply. Eventually they did... I turned up there and parked up. The VIC test doesn't look at the quality of repairs.
The tester is just looking at the VIN plates to make sure it's the car it is supposed to be.

10 minutes later, it had passed and I was given a certicate.

When it has passed the VIC test you can buy the road tax as long as you have the V5C form.

Naturally, as I bought the car for parts, I didn't have the V5C form so they wouldn't tax the car and I couldn't
do it online as I didn't have any of the correct numbers to do so. So I had to fill out a DVLA V62 form
and send it off to the DVLA with a £25 fee and a note explaining what the story was.

After about 10 days (quick for DVLA) I received the V5C owner's document and I taxed the car.

I finally had the 5 documents I needed to legally drive the car.
MOT, V5C, insurance, VIC certificate and road tax.

I have driven the car every day and it has been fine apart from a few niggles that I had to sort out.
One of the front alloys was slightly buckled, one bearing was slightly damaged and was making a noise
and one of the brake discs was slightly warped. All of these parts had been in the original crash.

So, you can't really complain that they were faulty.


4 years later I finally used the engine in another car and scrapped the shell.
The car was coming up for an MOT and the suspension was shot to shit.

I bought a 54bhp CDI that was newer, a cabrio and had never been crashed.
The engine in this car was fuckered.

So, I put the good engine into the good shell. I put the warped engine in the knackered shell.
I took a load of handy parts off of the car and then scrapped what was left.

VIC Test

Obviously this is UK based information only, plus the VIC test is being scrapped in late 2015
for something else, of which I do not know. CAT D write off does NOT require a VIC test.

CAT A, CAT B and CAT C write off cars DO require a VIC test to legally be used on the road again.

2016 Update

Since the VIC test was scrapped, all CAT A and CAT B cars have to be scrapped and cannot be put back on the road.

Is There Any Hope For My CAT B?

Of course there is. The catagory given to it by the assessor isn't set in stone.
If you believe it to be incorrect, ask for it to be retested.
I believe that 2 separate assessors must agree on the new rating for it to be changed.

If you can get the rating increased to CAT C (CAT S) or CAT D (CAT N), you do not need to scrap it.
You'd just need an MOT for it to be legal to tax and insure.

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