From October 1st 2017, a new set of salvage codes will come into effect, replacing four existing groups. The changes have been implemented following around two years’ worth of consultations between various key groups, including government departments, insurers, manufacturers and various other bodies within the motor trade.
The new codes take into account a widening variety of vehicles within the UK, and changes to the way insurance claims are handled, and have been rebranded into four major categories.
Category A will relate to scrap vehicles, for example those involved in a serious accident or fire and which cannot be repaired safely. Category B applies to similarly badly damaged vehicles though it’s possible to salvage certain parts for re-use before the car or van is disposed of. These can include wheels, limited mechanical parts and even engines in some cases. The other two new codes, S and N, refer to vehicles which can be repaired despite some damage, allowing them to be re-used or sold on after repair. S stands for structurally damaged repairable, while N refers to non-structurally damaged repairable new and used cars.
Industry bodies suggest that the changes in vehicle scrappage codes, essentially updating categories C and D which were in use before, is a reflection of greater transparency within the trade. Specifically, it’s vital that buyers are fully informed of a vehicle’s history, especially where there has been damage. Note that it is still possible for dealers to repair vehicles designated for scrap, there is yet to be sufficient legislation to prohibit this.
Previously categories C and D simply outlined where vehicles had been repaired, but the new codes put more emphasis on the condition of vehicles pre and post-repair than how much it cost to carry out the repairs or fixes. The previous categories reflected repair costs to a greater extent, though the actual costs could vary hugely depending on who was carrying out the work. in some cases, it was very difficult to get an insurance policy for a category C or D repaired vehicle, as many insurers wouldn’t cover them, although some companies would still grant policies.
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The new categories should provide greater transparency for buyers and insurance companies as to the history and roadworthiness of a vehicle, and the aim of the changes is to lead to improved safety on the roads. Certainly it should allow buyers more confidence to make the right decision about a vehicle that has suffered damage in the past, allowing them to take a drive on trade plates with more confidence and ultimately helping to inform a purchase.
Industry leaders have welcomed the changes, but agree that further legislation may be required in the future to continue to toughen rules on vehicle scrappage and repair, and increase road safety still more.