The Fixer: buying a "write off" car

Will my wife be safe driving a car that was once written off?

The Fixer: buying a Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

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Dear Fixer,

I want to buy a car for my wife, who recently passed her driving test. I have a maximum of £3,000 to spend on it.

One of the cars I have looked at was previously written off as the result of an accident. It is a good deal compared to the others I have seen, and the dealer selling it assures me that it is totally safe.

However, I am a bit worried about buying a car that has been in a serious crash. Is it a good idea to buy a car that has been written off?

Apparently, it was a category C write off that the dealer bought at auction and had repaired. I would be very grateful for any advice.

S Sharma, Leeds

Dear Mr Sharma,


When cars are written off by insurers they fall into one of four categories: A, B, C or D. Category A and B write offs are so badly damaged they must be destroyed and never used again.

But those classified as C or D are written off because the insurance company deems cost of repairing them - including extras such as replacement hire cars - too high in relation to the value of the car.

Cars in these categories can therefore be driven again and are often bought, repaired and sold on.

The good news is that if the car has been repaired properly and to a good standard by a reputable garage, there's no reason that it should be any less safe to drive than a new, undamaged car.

However, it's always a good idea to run an online vehicle check before buying a car. The RAC's costs £14.99 and will tell you the vehicle's history, if it's recorded stolen, or if it has any outstanding finance.

The other point to mention is that, as you have found, category C cars tend to be worth less due to their history.

That's great when you're buying, but may mean you also have to accept less if and when you come to sell.

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.


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