If you’ve been involved in an accident and your motorbike has been written off, you may automatically assume that you’ll never be able to ride it again.
However, there are different categories of write-offs and if your bike is placed in one of the more preferred Categories, there’s a good chance that you and your bike could be back on the road following a series of repairs and safety checks. You will of course have to get the go-ahead from an insurer before you can ride your bike again and whether or not an insurer will give you the green light with all depend on the level of destruction and the category your bike has been placed in.
Originally, the categories consisted of A, B, C and D, but in October 2017 these were changed and C and D were replaced with S and N.
In short, the new system can be summarised as:
A – Scrap only
B – Break for parts
S – Structurally damaged but repairable
N – Not structurally damaged but repairable
Let’s take a look at these in a little more detail.
A Category A write-off is the worst group your bike could be placed in. In short, it means that your bike cannot be recovered and it needs to be crushed. No parts can be reused, recycled or sold.
In most cases, Category A motorbikes have been completely burned out, ruined by flood damage or have severe structural damage that cannot be repaired.
Category B motorcycles tend to suffer a similar fate to those in Category A. The bike in its entirety cannot be rode or resold, but certain parts can be ripped out and resold, providing they’re in the right condition.
If your motorbike has been placed in Category A or B, it must be destroyed. Your insurer will take care of this for you.
Category S (formerly Category C)
A Category S write-off is repairable, but it will cost more than the value of the bike to get it fixed and safe enough to be back on the road. Some structural damage which will need to be professionally repaired.
Many bikers decide that there’s no point repairing their bike if it’s in this category, but some people do decide to get it repaired anyway. However, insurers will most likely refuse to fund the repair of the bike in these circumstances.
If you decide to repair a Category S motorcycle, you must first return your V5C registration form to the DVLA. The DVLA will provide a duplicate log book whilst the repairs are being carried out and will return the original, with the category write off recorded, when the repairs are completed.
Category N (formerly Category D)
A Category N write-off applies to motorcycles that have a small amount of damage and can be repaired. Typically, this type of damage may consist of cosmetic issues such as Fairings or damage to steering locks.
These vehicles are perfectly fine and safe to ride again once they’ve been repaired. However, some insurers may refuse to cover the repair themselves. This is often the case if the motorbike is a rare model and it could be difficult to obtain the right parts for it.