Many of you may have watched the Prime Time report broadcast on RTE in late April on on the prevalence of cars on Irish roads that have a UK write-off history. Vehicles from the UK are sometimes imported into Ireland despite falling into one of four possible write-off categories which reflect some kind of damage or defect. Cartell have highlighted this worrying issue in the past and campaigned for reform and regulation so that unsafe and unroadworthy cars are not being put on Irish roads.
However the fact remains that Ireland has still not yet regulated for written-off vehicles. As far back as July 2016 it was reported in the media that the then Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, brought legislation to cabinet which would compel insurers to notify his Department of Category A and Category B write-offs.
John Byrne Legal & Public Relations Manager with Cartell.ie said at the time:
It’s welcoming to see how seriously the ABI are taking the issue of write-offs which are deemed repairable and can return to the roads in the UK: they are moving the focus away from the Pre-Accident Value of the vehicle and looking instead at the damage caused: whether its structural or non-structural. In Ireland there are currently moves to regulate for the more serious write-off categories, Category A and Category B, which can never return to the roads, but we should be looking at these UK moves. Always do a car history check when importing a used car.”
The 2022 Prime Time programme confirmed that Cartell’s data managed to identify the three vehicles with a UK write-off history highlighted in the broadcast and that our report would have flagged the problem. Therefore worried motorists are advised to take out a full car history check should they be concerned about this issue as a first step in mitigating the risk associated with imports of potentially defective vehicles.
In May 2016, in the wake of a previous RTE Prime Time investigates programme, Cartell.ie released figures which showed that 10.75% of all UK imports into Ireland in a 6-month period in 2015 had been written-off in the UK prior to import and taxation of the vehicle in Ireland. Of those 1,545 vehicles (59.42%) had been categorised as Cat D in the UK and 980 as Category C (37.69%).
At present a voluntary system of notification is in place but for years Cartell.ie has called for regulation which will place the procedure on a statutory footing.
Cartell set up the Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) which records written-off vehicles. You can check MIAFTR via a Cartell Car Check.
The current ABI system divides insurance write-offs essentially into 4 categories:
Category A: Scrap only – The vehicle has not been repaired following extreme damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable with little or no salvageable parts.
Category B: The bodyshell should have been crushed. The vehicle has not been repaired following significant damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable however did have salvageable parts.
Category C: This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs exceeded the Pre-Accident Value (PAV) of the vehicle. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons.
Category D: This vehicle was repairable, but while the repair costs were significant compared to the PAV of the vehicle the costs did not exceed the PAV. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) Code of Practice for the Categorisation of Motor Vehicle Salvage (COP) was introduced in March 2007 as a voluntary code to assess whether a damaged car can be repaired or salvaged for parts, or whether it should be destroyed.
In 2015 an extensive review of the COP was initiated involving multiple stakeholders including insurers, vehicle manufacturers, affected government departments and agencies, the Police, the vehicle leasing industry and the salvage industry.
The new Code of Practice for the Categorisation of Motor Vehicle Salvage came into being on 1st October 2017.
Cartell would like to see similar regulation come info force in Ireland and we will continue to draw attention to this issue until the necessary legal protections for Irish motorists are put in place.
Importing A Used Car? Write-Off Category Changes Explained
Vehicle History experts Cartell.ie reported that as of Wednesday 21st June 2017 the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in the UK are no longer using Category C and Category D vehicle write-off categories in their new Voluntary Code of Practice (COP) for the industry.
Following a long review the new system will retain the same Category A and Category B categorisations. However Category C and Category D designations will no longer be used. The new system will focus on first establishing the level of damage to a vehicle from a technical perspective, before making any commercial decision relating to the Pre-Accident Value (PAV) of the vehicle. This has huge consequences for an Irish buyer as the level of damage sustained will now be more evident. The new categorisation system will be as follows:
Category A Scrap– This vehicle is deemed not suitable to be repaired. Must be crushed without any parts being removed.
Category B Break – The vehicle is deemed not suitable to be repaired. Usable parts can be recycled.
Category S: Structural Repairable – Repairable vehicle which has sustained damage to any part of the structural frame or chassis and the insurer/ self-insured owner has decided not to repair the vehicle.
Category N: Non-Structural Repairable – Repairable vehicle which has not sustained damage to the structural frame or chassis and the insurer/ self-insured owner has decided not to repair the vehicle.
These changes have been made to standardise the codes by the level of damage sustained rather than by repair cost. Structural damage is described as repairable damage to the vehicle that affects the main welded or otherwise permanently assembled vehicle body.
Further, from October 2019, salvaged vehicles can only be categorised by an Appropriately Qualified Person (AQP).