Everything you need to know about Category F salvage cars

You probably already know that when a car is written off, it’s assigned a salvage category by the insurer. Depending on who you ask, there are as many as six or seven of these, but most frequently insurers tend to stick to using Category A, Category B, Category S and Category N. We’ve ordered them in descending order of severity, and given the level of damage incurred to Category A cars, they’re one of the few we don’t stock in our online car auctions here at RAW2K. The lesser-used category of Category F is another type of vehicle we don’t stock, and once you find out more about it, you might see why!

What is a Category F car?

Category F is a salvage category assigned to written-off cars which have been fire damaged, or stolen and subsequently recovered. Salvage categories, or salvage titles, are assigned to cars by insurers in order to signify their rough level of damage. However, Category F isn’t used as often as Categories A, B, S or N. In some cases, vehicles that are judged as Category F can be repaired and returned to the road, but it would be uneconomical to do so. (In other words, the cost of the repairs would exceed the vehicle’s total value.) 

Some salvage cars are assigned a Category F salvage title if they’ve been stolen and the insurer has paid out a total loss payment to the owner. If the car is then recovered, the insurer has already paid for it so they’re legally entitled to take possession of it. They can then decide whether to repair it and sell it on to recoup some of their losses, or simply scrap it. 

Is it worth buying a fire damaged car?

Fire damage is one of the most devastating types of damage a vehicle can be subjected to, and it’s very difficult to repair economically. Some types of fire damage can incur costs of thousands of pounds; upholstery can be easy enough to replace in theory, but delicate mechanical and electronics components are less so, and they’re particularly vulnerable to flames. Even a small fire can leave lasting damage to plastics and electrics - easily enough to make the car uneconomical to repair. 

However, if the fire was small enough and contained quickly, it’s possible that the car can be successfully repaired and returned to the road. Before you buy any sort of fire damaged car though, make sure you know the full extent of the damage, and find out every detail you can about the fire in question. If you’re even slightly unsure, or feel like you might not be getting the full story, it’s always better to walk away rather than risk buying a lemon

You may find that many fire damaged cars won’t classed as Category F by the insurer. Instead they’re probably more likely to be classed as Category B or A. If you’re a private buyer, Cat B vehicles are rarely worth buying unless you’re a professional mechanic who’s able to break them down for the parts you need. On the other hand, the law says that Category A vehicles must be scrapped in their entirety. In other words, they’re impossible to purchase entirely, which is a big reason that we don’t stock them in our online vehicle auctions here at RAW2K. 

Is it worth buying a stolen recovered salvage car?

The answer varies depending on the specifics of the car in question, and how much you’re able to find out about its vehicle history. The thing is, the owners of stolen cars will generally be paid by their insurer after a certain period of time. Because of this total loss payment, if the car then suddenly reappears, the insurer is then legally entitled to take possession of it whenever they like and do with it as they please. 

Sometimes they might choose to sell them in online vehicle auctions like ours, in which case you can often find a great deal on them. On the other hand, if you know it was recovered but can’t trace its history, then it could mean you risk the insurer suddenly contacting you to demand possession of their car. Yes, they’re entitled to it even if it’s been bought by a third party! 

Whatever the case, it underlines the importance of doing your homework on any used car you intend to buy. Here at RAW2K, you’ll be happy to hear that we do a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to history and paperwork, and guarantee that all of our cars come with no outstanding finance. There’s plenty of choice to be had amongst them too - our stocks include a number of models from leading manufacturers such as Mercedes, Ford, Seat and Honda. Why not take a look around, and see what you can find?