If you’re looking to get more car for your money, are a dab hand with mechanical repairs and have plenty of spare time on your hands, then buying and repairing an accident damaged car can make a lot of sense. In October last year, the Association of British Insurers updated its code of practice to reflect the increasing complexity of repairing newer vehicles following a collision. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the new classifications and what they mean as well as giving you some top tips for purchasing a car to repair.
The worst affected cars following an accident, flood, fire or theft are now classed as category A and these vehicles must be scrapped. They are also deemed to be so badly damaged that all of their parts must also be scrapped and can’t be sold on for second-hand use.
Similar to the first category, cars in this group will have severe structural or chassis damage and as such cannot be returned to the road. Unlike the first category, salvageable parts can be retrieved and sold on and fitted to second-hand vehicles to prolong their life.
Vehicles that are involved in an accident where there is damage to the chassis or structural damage but which are still capable of being professionally repaired will be classified as Category S. For those considering purchasing a vehicle with Category S damage it is worth asking a professional mechanic to take a look at it in order to understand the full extent of the damage and the likely cost to repair this. While these cars may look like a good buy initially, if you are unaware of the full extent of the damage then they could leave you out of pocket.
The easiest to repair vehicles will be classified as Category N which means that the vehicle has not sustained any structural damage. Despite this classification, there are still things to look out for such as damage to the suspension, clutch or steering system. Again it is always worth asking the opinion of a professional mechanic prior to buying an accident damaged car as they will be able to help decide whether it is worth it and the cost to repair it.
Tips for repairing accident damaged cars
If you’ve got your heart set on repairing an accident damaged car then here are some top tips to make sure that you grab yourself a bargain.
• Get an accident inspection – this will cost around £200 but will help you avoid making a mistake on a car that needs more repairs than you think.
• Pay for a history check – this will tell you if the car has been stolen or is subject to outstanding finance.
• Buy from a reputable dealer instead of a private seller as you’ll have a lot more consumer rights.
• Be wary of new cars that are extremely cheap. If the price is too good to be true then chances are there are some serious problems that will cost a lot of money to put right.
• Tell your insurance company – this last one is for when you’ve done the work and got the car back on the road. Don’t forget to tell your insurance company that the car is a Category N repair as if you need to make a claim in the future and don’t declare this your claim will be refused.