Ask Honest John Question of the Week: Can I remove the Category C marker from my car?

Dear Honest John,

"Can I get the Category C marker removed from my car's V5C? It was originally given because of fire damage in 2009."

- DM

Dear DM,

A category marker is given to a vehicle by insurance companies following damage, whether that is an accident, fire, or flood.

A Category C car is one that has been written off because the cost of the repairs has been deemed too great in comparison to the vehicle's value before it was damaged. Category C cars can be repaired and returned to the road, but Category C denotes more significant damage compared to Category D.

In 2017 these categories were replaced with Category N and Category S, but there are still many cars on the road that still hold the previous categories.

It is not possible to remove the Category C marker once the write off has been declared. Even if the car has been repaired and rebuilt to a high standard, future owners will need to be informed that the car was previously written off.

Some vehicle history providers such as HPI work with vehicle inspections services where you can pay for your car to have a lengthy inspection for the quality of the repairs and the overall vehicle condition.

If your vehicle passes the inspection the Category C marker can be changed to Condition Inspected. Any potential buyer performing a vehicle history check would know that the vehicle had previously been damaged but repaired to a sufficient standard.

While this is not the same has having no category marker at all, depending on the value of the vehicle you may decide this is a worthwhile investment.

Ask HJ

Is my car likely to be a write off?

My 6 year old 1.4 TSI Golf Estate was damaged by a coach while parked. It has just gone away to be assessed. The damage seems superficial, but it involves multiple panels starting at the bumper and rear lights, the rear side panel around the fuel filler and above the wheel, onto the rear drivers side door with some minor scratches on the drivers door. The car has no outstanding finance and is driveable, but I am concerned that with the number of panels damaged and the age, plus the cost of parts and labour that it may be a write off. If it is I am insure what the valuation from the insurance company will be and I will likely have to take out some additional finance to get a replacement which due to the high interest rates may be financially difficult. The mechanic that collected it couldn't give me an answer but didn't appear massively confident. I appreciate that without seeing it you may not know more than me, but any advice would be very helpful.
It is difficult to judge on whether a car will be written off even with access to pictures, as it depends on whether there is structural or mechanical damage, but also where your insurance company will set the boundary for writing the car off, which could be anywhere between 50% and 70% of the vehicle's value. Based on the information you provided we would estimate your car to be worth at least £10,000 pre-accident. If your insurance company decides to write the vehicle off, as long as it is not declared a category A or B you may have the option to buy the vehicle back and pay for the repairs yourself, which may mean you can avoid the need to obtain finance for a replacement.
Answered by David Ross
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