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Crash Damaged Cars - The Rules Are Changing

From October 2017, the current A,B,C and D categories for crash-damaged cars will be replaced. The change, which introduces new A,B,S and N categories instead, is designed to be easier for motorists to understand, and help keep dangerous or unroadworthy vehicles off the streets.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), which regulates the so-called salvage code for car insurers, says the new code "reflects the increasing complexity of newer vehicles which can make it harder for damaged cars to be safely repaired".

Below, we've looked at the new A,B,S and N categories in detail. The biggest change with this updated code compared to the old system is that it focuses on the condition of the car, rather than how much it would cost insurers to repair.

Category A, or 'Scrap' cars

These are the most badly damaged cars around, and cannot be repaired. They can only be crushed for scrap.

Category B, or 'Break' cars

These cars are still very badly damaged, and are again beyond repair. However, their parts can be salvaged and recycled if they're still in a repairable condition.

Category S, or 'Structural' cars

Cars in this category have sustained damage to their structural frame, but can be repaired and re-sold. Make sure, though, that any vehicle you're thinking of buying has been inspected by a qualified mechanic.

Category N, or 'Non-structural' cars

This is the equivalent of the current Cat D, and identifies a car which is damaged, but has not suffered damage to its structural frame. The updated code notes that even though Category N cars haven't had their core safety structures damaged, there may still be safety-critical parts – such as suspension or steering components – which will need replacing.

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