Motor salvage categorisation originates from the
Code of Practice for the Disposal of Motor Salvage. This COP is supported
by a wide range of organisations, including the Association of British
Insurers, MVDA, BVSF, DVLA, Police and Government.
There are 4 officially recognised salvage
categories: category A, B, C & D.
The salvage category is a 'description' of the
extent of the damage, expressed as the cost of repair compared to the
pre-accident (or market) value of the vehicle. But it also takes into
consideration other important factors which don’t have a direct cost – such as
whether there is a risk of the vehicle not being correctly repaired, or being
used in illegal activities.
Summary of categories
Category A. Vehicle is
so severely damaged that it is valued only as scrap metal (no reusable
parts - e.g. burnt-out vehicles). Must be depolluted, crushed &
a Certificate of Destruction issued. The V5C registration document is
destroyed by the insurer.
Category B. Vehicle is
so severely damaged that it cannot be economically & safely repaired, even
using 2nd hand parts & cheap labour. It can be
dismantled for spare parts but the vehicle must be depolluted, the body shell crushed
& a Certificate of Destruction issued. The V5C registration document
is destroyed by the insurer.
Category C. Vehicle is
damaged & although repairable the cost of repair exceeds its market value. These tend to be older lower value vehicles,
where the cost of even modest repairs (inc. new parts, labour, paint etc.) are
greater than the vehicle value. These vehicles can be repaired using
second-hand or after-market parts & cheap labour. The V5C
registration document is destroyed by the insurer. A Vehicle Identity Check
(VIC) is no longer required before a new V5C registration document is issued, so an application for a new V5C can be made immediately. The replacement V5 remains FOC. It is not possible to tax cat C salvage until a new registration document has been issued to the new owner. The reissued V5C carries a
warning that the vehicle has been ‘substantially damaged’.
Category D. Vehicle is
damaged but repairable, with the cost of repair being less than the market value
of the vehicle, but the insurer decided not to repair. These tend to be newer vehicles. However, this category does NOT mean ‘lightly
damaged’. These vehicles do not require a VIC & the V5C registration
document is sometimes supplied with the vehicle.
Category X. This is sometimes used for stolen-recovered undamaged vehicles which are not recorded on MIAFTR.
Category U or N. This is not a Salvage COP category, but is often used by salvage dealers to denote vehicles that have arisen via other means, such as part-exchange or purchase direct from the owner, & are not recorded on MIAFTR. This does not mean that they are undamaged, only that they haven't been subject to an insurance claim. These vehicles maybe older with higher mileage or have defects ranging from scratches/ dents, to major mechanical faults.
You should never purchase or attempt to repair category A or B
salvage. An insurer has stipulated, for very good reasons (which may not
be obvious to you) that these vehicles must be destroyed. Attempts to
repair these vehicles and return them to the road in the UK or overseas is
likely to cause problems. As of 26th October 2015 it will not be possible to get a V5C for these vehicles (so it will not be possible to use them again).