Insuring a cat N car

Insuring a cat N car

In the UK, insurers use a category system when they write a car off after a collision. There are four categories — Cat A, Cat B, Cat S, and Cat N, running from the most severe to the least severe.

Generally speaking:

  • A Cat A write-off displays extreme structural damage that essentially puts it beyond repair.
  • A Cat B write-off also cannot be repaired, but it still has safe parts that are in good working order, and these parts may be used to repair other cars.
  • A Cat S write-off has suffered structural damage, but this structural damage can be repaired.
  • A Cat N write-off has suffered only non-structural damage, and this damage can be repaired.

It wasn't always this way. A few years ago, you might have seen a Cat A, B, C, D system. While these categories mean basically the same thing as the current system, the change was made back in 2017 in order to highlight the big difference between the beyond-repair Cat A and B cars, the structurally damaged Cat S vehicles, and the non-structurally damaged Cat N class.

If you buy a Cat N car — or if you continue to drive a repaired Cat N car — you'll need to insure it. Some providers will still offer coverage, but this Cat N insurance coverage might be more expensive than for a standard, non-damaged car. The provider may also want to check the quality of the repair work themselves.

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The process of insuring a Cat N car

Before you seek insurance for a Cat N car, there are a few steps you may want to take.

Fully understand the car's history

It's a good idea to learn as much as you can about the car's history. This is especially true if you are buying a Cat N car, and you may want to gather as much information as possible about the reason it was written off, the true extent of the damage, and anything else that may affect coverage.

Even if the car is already yours, you'll still want to have a strong grasp of its history. Make sure you have access to damage and repair reports so you can give this information to the insurance provider on request.

Assess repair work

Even if the damage to the vehicle was not structural in nature, you'll probably still want to make certain that it is fully repaired before an insurance provider will handle the case. This means checking and assessing any repair work to make sure it is of high quality — remember that your insurance provider may want to check this work too.

Protect yourself where possible

If you are buying a Cat N car, it's a good idea to go through a dealer rather than a private seller. While a private seller may offer a cheaper price, the dealer will offer guarantees, warranties, and other protections that provide peace of mind. This way, if there is a problem when you seek insurance, the dealer may be able to help you with further repairs or may offer a refund.

Speak to your insurance provider

The next step is to speak to your insurance provider and to check what sort of coverage they offer. Bear in mind that the Cat N status will affect insurance premiums and coverage in most cases, so you'll need to discuss this with the provider to discover precisely what this will mean for your own policy.

Cat N car insurance: Frequently asked questions

We've compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Cat N car insurance. Take a look and discover more.

Can you insure a Cat N car?

Yes, Cat N cars can be insured in some cases, but you will have to check with your insurance provider. As we've discussed above, these are cars that have been written off by the insurance company, but they do not carry any structural damage. In other words, they have been passed as safe to drive.

Remember, however, that the insurance company has written the vehicle off for a reason. There is likely to be significant damage to the vehicle if it has been classed as Cat N, and this damage will need to be taken care of before the car is roadworthy again. If you are buying a second-hand Cat N vehicle, you'll need to make sure all the proper repairs have already been carried out. If the car is already yours and you want to continue using it, you'll be responsible for these repairs. You may be denied coverage if your insurance provider is not happy with any of the repairs, so it pays to check and double-check!

Do all insurance providers cover Cat N cars?

No, not all insurance providers will cover a Cat N car, and the provider is within their rights to refuse coverage for this kind of vehicle. This is because insurance is all about managing risk for both parties, and a Cat N car represents a greater risk for the insurance provider simply because there are more variables and layers of uncertainty.

But don't be downhearted about this because there are plenty of companies who will insure a Cat N vehicle! While your options will be a little more limited than they would be for a standard category car with no write-off history, you should still be able to find what you need. Some providers can offer insurance to owners of Cat N vehicles, helping drivers to gain the coverage and peace of mind they need — even if their vehicle's history is less than perfect.

Are Cat N cars more expensive to insure?

Insurance costs are a major concern for most people around the UK, so it's natural to wonder if it costs more to insure a Cat N car. In most cases, yes, it will be more expensive to insure a Cat N car, and it's a good idea to bear this in mind when you make a decision.

Again, this comes down to risk. The car represents a greater risk to the insurance provider, so they may charge a higher premium in order to cover this risk.

However, a Cat N car may be cheaper to purchase, and repairing non-structural damage following an accident is likely to cost less than purchasing a new car outright. So, there are savings to be made that can offset the additional cost of the insurance — just be sure to factor these aspects into your cost calculation.

A few final tips...

So, Cat N car insurance may cost you a bit more, and may be a little trickier to find, but it's certainly out there if you need it!

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.