Write Off

  1. What is a Write-Off
  2. Categories of Write-Off’s
  3. Where is Write-Off on Cartell Car Check
  4. Do Cartell have all Write-Off’s
  5. How accurate are the Write-Off’s
  6. How detailed are the Write-Off’s
  7. How often are Write-Off’s updated
  8. Can I Drive a Write-Off
  9. Can I sell a Write-Off
  10. UK Write-Off now Irish

Cartell & Write-Off’s

Since its inception in 2002, one of Cartells primary goals was to eradicate the resale of dangerous vehicles.  While some write-offs are repairable, one must always ensure that they are repaired by qualified personnel with suitable parts. An insurer writes off a vehicle when the cost to repair the vehicle to the correct standard using genuine parts is above a certain value relative to the Pre-Accident Value (PAV).  Furthermore if an insurer sends that vehicle off for repair and there are issues, they would have to take responsibility. In these cases, the insurer deems it more cost effective to sell the vehicle for salvage. Some of the vehicles are not repairable and have been deemed by an engineer to be suitable only for parts. In 2007 Cartell uncovered a huge issue with regard to total loss write offs not making their way to the government file and being returned to the road.  These are the write offs that an engineer determined as structurally unsound and unrepairable. It sparked an investigation involving The Dept of Transport including, The Vehicle Registration Unit, Revenue , The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Gardai Siochana. The result of which ended in over 1,300 people being notified of their vehicles being unfit for Irish Roads. The Irish Times broke the story in 2007. A breakdown in communication between the Insurance Industry and the Department of Transport meant that Salavage dealers were left to notify the Government of write offs. Salvage values were high and unrepairable vehicles were sold and repaired. To combat this the Irish Insurers agreed tosupply all their information on Total Loss Write Offs (TWO’s) to the Department of Transport. Furthermore a “lock down” mechanism now exists to capture these vehicles and prevent them from being taxed and or resold. It has been a long and slow process and it’s still far from finished. The majority of insurers are uploading their files to the government’s NVDF. When a Cartell Car Check is carried out, we reference this file and bring you the details that have been uploaded by the insurers.

Back to top ↑

What is a Write-Off

A Write-off is a vehicle that has been recorded as written-off or a total loss by an insurance company due to a damage or theft-related insurance claim. A damage-related insurance claim means the insurer has decided that the vehicle is uneconomical to repair. You should only proceed with the purchase once you are satisfied that the repairs have been carried out to a high standard and that the car is roadworthy. The only way to be sure about the repair standard is to get a qualified engineer to inspect the vehicle. The AA can provide this service. A theft-related insurance claim indicates that the vehicle has been stolen and an insurance company has paid out a claim on it, leaving them as the legal owner. It may have been recovered in tact and returned to the road, or in a damaged condition. Although write-offs can legitimately be allowed back on the road, almost half are beyond repair or structurally compromised.

Back to top ↑

Categories of Write-Off’s

Category A The vehicle must be scrapped and no parts or components can be sold other than for scrap. Amounts vary but the scrap value rarely covers the cost of recovery and delivery to a scrap yard. Category A is severely damaged, total burnout or flood damage with no serviceable parts, or already a stripped out shell. In the UK the DVLA will require a “Notification of Destruction”. In Ireland this vehicle would have to be disposed of in an authorised treatment facility and have a death certificate issued and the vehicle then becomes End of Life (ELV).

Category B The vehicle must not be used again but non- structural and roadworthy parts and components may be recovered for use in other vehicles. Care must be taken to ensure that they are not critical components with important safety functions. A Category B will have been damaged beyond economical repair, usually with major structural damage. In the UK the DVLA will require “Notification of Destruction” but parts can be removed and sold on. In Ireland this vehicle would have to be disposed of in an authorised treatment facility and have a death certificate issued and the vehicle then becomes End of Life (ELV).

Category C The vehicle is repairable but the parts and labour would exceed the value of the car. A Category C is repairable salvage. Usually applies to vehicles with significant damage and where the cost of repairs exceeds the book value. The Motor Insurers Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) defines Cat C as repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs including VAT exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value (PAV).

Category D The vehicle is economically repairable but other factors are involved that cause the insurer to declare the vehicle a write off. Perhaps the replacement car hire is too costly or it will take too long for a specialist part to be delivered. A Cat D is repairable salvage. The Motor Insurers Anti-Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) defines Cat D as repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs including VAT do nor exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value (PAV).

Back to top ↑

Where is Write-Off on my report

When you carry out your Irish Cartell Car Check, any vehicle that is or has previously been written off will show up in the ‘Roadworthiness’ fields. There are 2 roadworthiness fields on your report. In the first section, ‘Vehicle details’, the roadworthiness field will show the current state of the vehicle be it ‘current’, ‘written off by insurer’ or ’scrapped vehicle destroyed’. In the ‘History profile’ section, the roadworthiness will show if the vehicle was previously ‘Written off by insurer’ or ‘Scrapped vehicle destroyed’ as recorded to the government files, otherwise it will show ‘No changes recorded’. Unfortunately on the Irish reports there is no categorisation of write offs. Some insurance companies will let you know the write off category if you investigate further.

On your UK Cartell Car Check, the write off details are recorded under the ‘Damage’ field. If your report show ‘Damage – NO’ then the vehicle has no write off information. If the report shows ‘Damage – Yes’ then the information on that write off will show at the end of the report. It will display the category of write off.

Back to top ↑

Do Cartell have all Write-Off’s

All write off information that Cartell and other car history websites hold are obtained from the NVDF (National Vehicle Driver Files). The insurance companies upload their information to these files and Cartell uploads this information onto their database. Back to top ↑

How accurate are the Write-Off’s

When Cartell receives updates from the government, they automatically get uploaded to the Cartell database. As this information is supplied by third parties, inaccuracies can occour and uploaded to the NVDF. Cartell cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. Please refer to Cartell’s Terms and Conditions for further information. Its is a very minimal amout that are uploaded with inaccuracys so the write off data is generally very accurate.

How detailed are the Write-Off’s

All write off’s are uploaded from the insurance companies to the government files (NVDF) and are then shown on your Cartell Car Check. At the moment, only partial information is uploaded. On your report, you will see either ‘Written off by the Insurer’ or Scrapped vehicle destroyed’. Cartell is working with insurance companies to improve this and to implement the category system like we have on our UK checks. (See above for the insurance category details)

How often are Write-Off’s updated

The frequency of which insurance information is uploaded varies from insurer to insurer but its usually no more than two weeks. Unfortunately, this could be a few months after the vehicle was declared a write off as the information cannot be released to the NVDF until the claim has been completely settled. If you still have concerns about a vehicle that is not showing up as a write off, then Cartell would always recommend an engineers inspection.

Can I Drive a Write-Off

This varies depending on the write off. All category A and B write off should never return to the road. Category C and D write off’s will need an engineers inspection that needs to be approved by the revenue before the vehicle returns to the road. Bear in mind that a write off that returns to the road will be worth less when you go to re-sell the vehicle.

Can I sell a Write-Off


Category A should be sent straight for crushing. Category B can only be sold to a breakers and it should never return to the road. Category C and D can be sold on as long as you disclose to the new owner that the vehicle has been previously written off. This will show up on your Cartell Car Check. If you sell a vehicle that was written off and you did not disclose it to the new owner, then you are liable and may be prosecuted for disception.

UK Write-Off now Irish

Cartell ran statistics in 2009 showing that between 8 – 10% of Irish registered vehicles that were previously registered in the UK were actually written off in the UK. The majority of these were category D which means they were repairable write-off’s. You should always check the full UK history if the vehicle was imported as the vehicle may be perfectly repaired, but it has write off history which devalues the vehicle and you dont want to pay more than you should.

Contact us

If you have any questions about your Cartell Car Check please contact us.