Pros and cons to buying a write-off car

If you’ve spent any time at all browsing our huge range of online vehicle auctions, you’ll already have seen plenty of crash damaged cars, and you may have even seen one or two write-offs amongst our stock already.

In the UK, vehicles that are written off get assigned a category. This usually happens when the insurance company decides that the vehicle costs more to repair than it’s worth. There are several different categories depending on both reasoning or severity. These are useful to understand when considering buying a write-off car. That way, you can make the personal buying decision that’s right for you.

Can you get a bargain at auction?

You can definitely buy a write-off auction car at RAW2K - we’ve got no shortage of them! - but it pays to do your homework first. Every vehicle is unique, has a different assigned category and represents value in its own way.

Therefore, to get the best deal when you buy a write-off car, you’ll need to know when you’ve spotted a real bargain. In that sense, it’s like anything else that you buy. If it’s previously owned, you must consider what it’s worth; if it’s going to be repaired and insured, what will that cost? Making an astute selection and bidding what’s sensible for the vehicle can put you in the pro column.

auction hammer

Which write-off categories should you avoid?

Avoid any vehicles designated in write-off categories A or B. This signifies that the damage is so severe that the vehicle should be broken into pieces. (We don’t sell Category A vehicles here at RAW2K anyway - legally, our customers can get very little use out of them if at all, so it’s just not worth the trouble.) It’s possible you could pick up some on the cheap for scrap or for individual parts, but the A and B categories definitely signify that you shouldn’t be aiming to buy it to fully repair and get it back on the road.

The tough call

With a category C vehicle, it’s repairable. However, the reason it’s been given a C category is because the insurer determined that the cost of fully repairing the issues with the vehicle exceeded its current market value.
What does that mean for the car enthusiast, vehicle buyer with good connections at a local mechanics shop, or the person who does the work themselves in their spare time? It means when savvy, it’s possible to get the vehicle repaired and back on the road for less than the cost of the auction and the total repair costs.

The better deal

With a category D vehicle, the case needs some investigating. These cars might have been written off simply because the insurer would have put the policyholder in a courtesy car for the duration of a long repair, putting it over budget. It could also be for other reasons where a repair was deemed too complicated or the success rate was too uncertain.

For the curious

With a category X, these vehicles were stolen and later recovered. They’ve already had insurance paid out on the value of the vehicle and so don’t get returned to their former owner. Often, they can be repaired economically and can represent the best bargain of all!

Before you buy a car at auction, it’s also worth brushing up on 4 essential skills you need for success at online car auctions. If you’ve already mastered them, you’re good to go! You can start bidding immediately. We’ve got a huge range of crash damaged and lightly damaged vehicles, which you can browse in our very own online car auctions. Our stock includes vehicles from globally renowned manufacturers, such as Audi, BMW and Renault - giving you the chance to save hundreds of pounds as opposed to buying them new!