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What is a Cat S Car?

Posted on 28th February 2022
What is a Cat S Car?

When looking into used car finance you will notice a category assigned to the vehicle that you are browsing. The A, B, N or S has a certain relevance, and it is important that you are aware of it before making your purchase.

Each category relates to a level of damage a car has sustained in an accident. With A being the most severe and S being the least.  Today we are going to look a category S and whether you can and should buy one as your next used car finance option.

When you hear the term write-off, it is these categories that it is relating to.

What do all the categories mean?

Before we delve a little more into what category S means, lets give you a brief overview of each just incase you come across them:

CATEGORY A-Cars that are in category A simply must be destroyed and never used on the road again. These are damaged beyond repair.

CATEGORY B-These cars have severe damaged and beyond repair, however certain parts may be used again if they are in a repairable condition.

CATEGORY S-Any vehicle in category S can be driven again but has had structural damage that has since been repaired. This guide will give you all you need to know about a Cat S purchase.

CATEGORY N-Cars in category D are those that have been in an accident but have not suffered structural damage. They may though, have damage to other parts that can make the vehicle safer so a full check by a professional would be recommended.

The category given to a vehicle stays with if for life which can make the sale of a car falling into one, very difficult.

Is it safe to buy a category S car?

Whilst the vehicles in category S have had structural damage, they are safe to drive, subject to an inspection being carried out on them. The inspection can only be carried out by a certified engineer and once complete, the car will need to be re-registered with the DVLA. If you see the used car finance option of your choice advertised with a Q registration plate, it means that the DVLA may have issued a new registration to the vehicle due to the parts that were repaired and replaced.

Unfortunately, at the moment, there is no legal requirement that requires a cat S car to be inspected and deemed roadworthy so we would always advise, if you do go down the route of cat S, booking in a thorough inspection.

How can I make my category S car fully roadworthy?

There are specialist garages that will work on category S cars to make sure they are safe to drive and pose no danger to drivers and other road users. Whilst many of these garages are, by reputation, professional and thorough, the fact no current legislation exists with regards to the inspection of their work can be a deterrent to people considering a purchase.

I bought a category S car-How do I know it is safe?

As mentioned before, it would quite possible be impossible to know due to the fact there is currently nothing stating an inspection must be carried out. You could take the word of who you bought it from and give it an inspection yourself but that wouldn’t be enough to give  you full reassurance your car is completely safe. The best advice to put your mind at rest would be to book in an independent vehicle inspection and an MOT.

I bought a car but don’t know what category it is in

Whenever a car purchase is on your agenda, always ask as many questions as possible and check the service history. It is also highly recommended to use an online vehicle information company as it will show the full history of the car. Any dealership has a legal obligation to provide all important information to you.

If buying privately though, it can be a little harder. The seller may have good intentions and simply not know the car was in category S, alternatively they could be fully aware and are selling it to make some money without any concern about what happens to the next owner should the car be not safe to drive. As with buying from a dealership, run a check by using the DVLA website or any other vehicle information service.

Will it cost me less to buy a category S car?

It should do! Although if buying privately there is always the risk that someone isn’t disclosing all the correct information and will try to sell at the price associated with a car that doesn’t fall into the S or N categories. Assuming you do know for 100% that the car is category S, the decision ultimately lies with you. It will be significantly cheaper but the sell on opportunity in the future is considerably less as many people will be deterred that the vehicle has been categorized as a write-off.

Insuring a category S car

As with any vehicle you drive, you need to make sure you have insurance. When purchasing a category S car you may find that the insurance policies cost much more. Some companies won’t insure them, and it has been known for them to pay a settlement figure and right off the car altogether if further damage occurs and the costs to repair outweigh the value of the vehicle.

If you are looking to buy a used car, you can rest assured that every vehicle from Euphoria Finance is put through stringent tests and checks to make sure it is safe and roadworthy. We offer finance to first time drivers as well as to those with looking for poor credit car finance.

Feel free to contact us today with any questions regarding your next car finance purchase, or for a free quote and let us help you get on the road safely.

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