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Insurance categories aren’t getting any better

Cat C vehicle
Another Cat C - how long can this situation go on?
Here’s another one. Cat C but how is anyone going to repair this. The front end’s completely burnt out, the interiors had it, there’s damage to doors and shell - everything tells me this shouldn’t be a Cat C.


So why does this keep happening? in simple terms, I have to assume that the insurance industry feel it is in their financial interest. They will get more for it as a repairable even though it’s not practically repairable. For this car to economically go back on the road the parts are going to have to be ‘nicked’ or it’s a ringer. Please let me know if you think I’m wrong.

And it’s not just us who are shouting about this. Those inside the insurance industry itself are finding the situation very uncomfortable. Last month, an article in the insurance industry’s Assessor magazine questioned the way the code is now being implemented. The article said, “I hear of cases suggesting that commercial return overrules technical decisions where:
  • Engineers are instructed to change their categorisations, often against the engineer’s technical judgement.
  • Salvage categorisations are routinely changed by non-technical in-house staff.
  • Engineers are being instructed not to use certain categories, and
  • Foul water/flood damaged contaminated vehicles are having their categories changed from A in order to increase sale prices with little regard to the ethics of selling on such vehicles or their parts”.
This is the insurance industry’s magazine saying this which must give us hope that this cannot be ignored for much longer.

It’s worth reminding ourselves of what’s meant to happening here according to the insurance industries code of practice. As a Cat C it is repairable salvage where the repair costs using new parts etc exceed the vehicle’s value. What this means is that any car could technically be classed as a Cat C as any car is repairable. After all in the photo above we can fit a new shell, new engine and box, wiring loom, interior etc, etc. It would never make financial sense but it would be possible.

If money is no consequence, an insurer could class any car as a Cat C, rather than an A or B which according to the code of practice must not go back on the road - haha. So, if we assume that the car above cannot be repaired legally, then what are the options for it? As a Cat C pretty much anyone can buy it which is another good reason for insurers to raise the category. This car will no doubt become one of the 600,000 vehicles that simply disappear each year. There is no need for a COD (as it is a Cat C) so it’s final purpose is a mystery.

What’s the chance of it going abroad? It must be pretty high as there is no legal way to make your money on it in the UK. Yes, auctions have pushed prices up but none of us would stay in business if we regularly bought cars we lost money on. What happens once it’s across the water is anyone’s guess but the arguments still apply no matter where you take it. Maybe it’s possible to sand down and repaint those wings, maybe with some seals changed and the rubber hoses that engine will be fine and maybe someone will be happy to buy it as long as it runs but this is not a healthy situation where it’s OK for the UK to let some poor individual, where ever he/she may live pick up the consequences.

The bottom line is that this vehicle should never have been a Cat C. It should have been sold to an authorised treatment facility, where it should have been destroyed and a COD issued. Unfortunately, not only is the insurance industry at fault, so is DVLA who refuse to take their COD seriously. All Cat A and B’s should have a COD issued but DVLA will happily issue registration documents for these vehicles. Unfortunately DVLA appear to be above the law as we found out when we asked a freedom of information request recently to try and get to the bottom of the annual 600,000 disappearing cars. We were told that it wasn’t in the public interest - what a system!

We shall continue to hassle both the Insurance Industry about their Code of Practice and the DVLA about their CODs (or lack of them). In the meantime we are always keen to your views. Email me if you have anything to say.

November 2013

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