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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As ive been on the hunt for a car letely for the wife, it seems there not a great deal of cars around for my budget and ive noticed theres a hell of alot of categorised cars

Having never owned one, whats your guys thoughts on owning a category N, non structural damaged car.

Also when i try to get online insurance quotes theres no option to select a category so is it done automatically or you need to phone them for a quote

Thanks
 

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Some insurance companies won't insure write offs. In the event of another total loss claim they will probably offer really low money.

When it comes to sell a lot of buyers will be put off. Most dealers won't consider a write off as a trade in.

There used to be a big difference in prices. Cat N cars are far too close in value to make it worth the risk and effort.

I'd also be concerned with the quality of the repairs.
 

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OCD Sufferer (Obsessive Car Detailer)
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Unless you are buying something that you want to rebuild, i'd steer clear. I made the mistake in my younger days - 6 months later I nearly got killed when my brakes failed completely because the bracketry holding a brake lever on the engine bay heat shield snapped leaving me only with the handbrake which only just saved me from a bad crash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Krikey, i knew obviously with a category s it was more structural but assumed category n was less severe. Some ive seen say the person has owned for 1 to 3 years since it was repaired for example

I thinks theres more category cars currently due to the lack of used cars on the market and probably why they have a higher asking price.
 

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never had one and and is handy autotrader and the likes show it now, remember when I got the Mk2 Clio, looking at a number of examples to find out they CAT D (Cat N now) on inspection, seemingly adverts in other sites seem a lot more usually to tell you nowerdays than back then.

https://www.vcheck.uk/ is probably the best site to use to find out what the damage was if it went though an auction site.
 

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I've owned 1 category car, that I know of. A 97 Rover 420 saloon, it only cost a grand. Owned it when I was about 21, when all my other mates had small engined Golfs and other run of the mill stuff.
 

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Cat N is normally panel damage only. I think more cars are classed as cat N than every before now due to rising parts and labour costs. Then someone buys it up from Copart and swaps on a couple of used panels in the correct colour and its a perfectly useable car again.

I saw enough poor condition non cat cars when looking for son's Fiesta, i dare say there were better N and S cars than a couple of the non cat cars we viewed. Quite shocking how back some were. Even just looking at Autotrader adverts you can see very poor paint jobs, patch ups - but i guess its a sign of the times and money to be made on cars that would have been banger territory a few years ago
 

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Personally not for me for the reasons written above by Kerr…..

FB Marketplace is full of them. Often the Cat is written in the cars option list as if it’s a bonus. I’m ultra fussy as most here I imagine are and won’t knowingly even buy a car if it’s had paint.
Buying dead straight cars today with so many Cat cars and the bonkers prices has never been harder. ������
 

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Most cars have been in more body shops than Anita Roddick. Though there isn't a barge pole long enough for me to touch an officially written-off car. It would be a weapons-grade nightmare to sell-on as well.
 

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Never understand why some people get so hung-up about repaired salvage.

Cat N, as its full definition suggests (Non-structural repairable) will only have superficial damage to easily replaceable panels and parts. Any damage to the structure of the bodyshell or subframes will class as cat S.

Where fairly new cars suffer quite substantial damage and require major repair, it may still be the case that the cost of repair is well within the value of the car and the insurer will deem it worth repairing - therefore it will not be classed as a total loss, and so there will be no write-off category associated with it, even though it may have had a major structural repair carried out. You won't know unless you examine it very carefully, and may not see any tell-tale signs even then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I have seen a category n, suzuki swift sport for sale, person has owned it and driven it for a good 2 years since it was repaired, they do have pics of damage although they did not do the work, it was front drivers corner, bunper headlight, wing and wheel.

Tempting by the price compared to whats currently arounnd

3k though for a 12 plate
 

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The only way to know how well a Cat. N vehicle has been repaired is to put it through a formal AutoLign inspection. They are the only company authorised by the insurance industry to inspect damaged vehicles and change the categories.

These inspections are far more extensive and intrusive than a RAC or AA inspection, including laser alignment checks of the chassis. To pass this inspection and be certified, the car must in all aspects be back to at least the standard of original manufacture. There are only two outcomes. Either it is perfect, and passes ; or it fails. No grey areas. If it passes, HPI will move the car onto their “Condition Inspected” register, and the insurers will treat it and insure it as if it had never been crashed.

Many people would happily buy a car after having an AA / RAC inspection. But AA / RAC inspectors can't even prod a chassis to check for rust like an MoT inspector does ; all they can do is a visual check and a road test. The AutoLign inspection is far more detailed, and roughly the same price. I bought a TVR after such an inspection, and was able to discuss the car and report with their inspector before buying. I took the view that it had been examined to the highest possible standard available in the UK.

On their website, AutoLign point out that they ONLY provide inspection data to HPI, not to any other company ; and they explicitly point out that they do not supply data to Experian. That company sells car checks to consumers, claiming that they can provide a full history, but they have no records of Condition Inspected cars. And Autotrader's advert system pulls its data from the Experian system, so even if a car has been inspected by AutoLign, it will still show up wrongly on Autotrader's system as a Cat.N. Mine did that recently when I began to write an advert on their website ; I had to appeal against the wrong marker.

So my advice to anyone considering a car flagged as Cat. N is to ask the seller whether they have an AutoLign inspection certificate ; and if the answer is no, ask them to get the car inspected. It will only cost them around £250-300. If they refuse, or offer an inspection by anyone other than AutoLign, walk away, You will not know how well the repairs were done, and your insurer will treat the vehicle as still at risk.

It's also important to stress that changing a car to "Condition Inspected" does not conceal the previous status. If you buy an HPI check, you will see the full vehicle history. As stated on the AutoLign website, an HPI check for a Condition Inspected car will show the following data :

"On HPI at the top of the register it will now show ‘Condition Inspected’, then it will give all the vehicle information, VIN etc. Scroll down and it will show;

  • Condition Inspected : Vehicle previously recorded as damaged against Condition Alert register.
  • Date of Inspection.
  • Previous category - S or N or D or C.
  • Date of the original insurance claim.
  • Centre where inspection was carried out.
  • Autolign’s details"

So there is no question of a car dealer putting a vehicle through the check in order to hide its past history from buyers. The whole point of an HPI check is to get the full picture. What DOES change is that a dealer is no longer legally required to mark his advert to show the previous write-off category marker. This recognises the fact that the car is now no longer a "damaged, repairable" vehicle, but will be treated by insurers as undamaged.

I have no connection with any of the companies mentioned here ; just a satisfied customer of the AutoLign process.
 

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My car's a Cat D/N
The front seats were stolen and Audi charge the best part of 20k to replace with new so was written off
Picked it up for 2/3rds the price of a non cat car.
All depends on why it's a cat c/d, don't think I'd pick one up with any structural damage in the past.

Sent from my M2007J17G using Forum Fiend v1.4.3.
 
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