What checks should I do before buying a Cat S car?

What paperwork should I ask for from a garage if I'm buying a Cat S car? Must I have a structural report? The car my son is looking at is less than 3 years old, so no MOT required. The garage is saying they can 'provide' an MOT certificate to say the car is roadworthy. Should I be concerned about this? I have bought a Cat C before but it was from the garage that actually did the repair. Thanks in advance.

Asked on 27 October 2020 by peter Burke

Answered by Georgia Petrie
We don't advise buying Cat S vehicles. Category S means the car has sustained structural damage but is suitable for repair. However, this means the car could have severe structural damage that won't be picked up on an MoT. Essentially, the car may not perform the way it was intended to in the event of an accident. An MoT test isn't sufficient as it isn't thorough enough.

If you still want to buy the car, there are some necessary checks you need to do. Firstly, ask the dealer/garage about the damage it sustained and how it was repaired. I would want to know exactly what was repaired and what parts were changed. Secondly, get an inspection done. This can cost around £200, which puts people off seeing as the point in buying a Cat S is the very low price. But it's vital that you know what you're getting into. The AA, RAC, Dekra and Autolign all offer inspection services that could save you from buying a potentially unsafe car.

Things you should know if you do buy the car: You need to tell your insurance company about it. If you don't, they may refuse a claim. You may have difficulty selling the vehicle in the future. Dealers often won't accept them in part exchange and the market for it will be limited.
Similar questions
What do I have to do to put my Cat S car back on the road?
I’ve bought a car through a salvage auction site. It's registered as a Category N write off, but upon inspection of the car at my local garage, the car has structural damage to the rear subframe and possibly...
My car is a Cat S write off. How do I get it off the register? All repairs have been done but my insurance quotes are ridiculous so I need it off the register.
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car