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Public and trade warned of new UK write-off system


Vehicle History experts Cartell.ie tells us that the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in the UK are no longer using Category C and Category D vehicle write-off classification in their new Voluntary Code of Practice (COP) for the industry.

Following a long review the new system will retain the same Category A and Category B categorisations. However Category C and Category D designations will no longer be used. The new system will focus on first establishing the level of damage to a vehicle from a technical perspective, before making any commercial decision relating to the Pre-Accident Value (PAV) of the vehicle. This has huge consequences for an Irish buyer as the level of damage sustained will now be more evident. The new categorisation system will be as follows:

Category A Scrap – This vehicle is deemed not suitable to be repaired. Must be crushed without any parts being removed.

Category B Break – The vehicle is deemed not suitable to be repaired. Usable parts can be recycled.

Category S: Structural Repairable – Repairable vehicle which has sustained damage to any part of the structural frame or chassis and the insurer/ self-insured owner has decided not to repair the vehicle.

Category N: Non-Structural Repairable – Repairable vehicle which has not sustained damage to the structural frame or chassis and the insurer/ self-insured owner has decided not to repair the vehicle.

These changes have been made to standardise the codes by the level of damage sustained rather than by repair cost. Structural damage is described as repairable damage to the vehicle that affects the main welded or otherwise permanently assembled vehicle body.

Further, from October 2019, salvaged vehicles can only be categorised by an appropriately qualified person (AQP).

Ireland has not regulated for written-off vehicles
Ireland has not yet regulated for written-off vehicles. In July 2016 it was reported in the media that Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, brought legislation to cabinet which would compel insurers to notify his Department of Category A and Category B write-offs.

John Byrne, legal & public relations manager with Cartell.ie tells us: “It’s welcoming to see how seriously the ABI are taking the issue of write-offs which are deemed repairable and can return to the roads in the UK: they are moving the focus away from the pre-accident value of the vehicle and looking instead at the damage caused: whether its structural or non-structural. In Ireland there are currently moves to regulate for the more serious write-off categories, Category A and Category B, which can never return to the roads, but we should be looking at these UK moves. Always do a car history check when importing a used car.”

In May 2016, in the wake of an RTE Prime Time investigates programme, Cartell.ie released figures which showed that 10.75 per cent of all UK imports into Ireland in a 6-month period in 2015 had been written-off in the UK prior to import and taxation of the vehicle in Ireland. Of those 1,545 vehicles (59.42%) had been categorised as Cat D in the UK and 980 as Category C (37.69%).

At present a voluntary system of notification is in place but for years Cartell.ie has called for regulation which will place the procedure on a statutory footing.

Cartell tells us that it set up the ‘Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register’ (MIAFTR), which records written-off vehicles. You can check MIAFTR via a Cartell car check.