The ultimate guide to buying salvage vehicles

If you’re looking to purchase an accident damaged vehicle for the first time, you’re bound to have questions about how the process works. This article aims to explain what accident damaged vehicles are, what categories/titles you’ll find for sale, and most importantly, why you should consider buying one.

What are accident damaged vehicles?

Accident damaged vehicles and cars, also known as salvage in our industry, or non-runners or write-offs to the general public, can be purchased easily and is a great way to save money if you can repair.

Where to buy accident damaged cars?

There are many salvage auction sites where you can buy accident damaged vehicles.

Insurance Write-Offs

Suppose a vehicle has received considerable damage, and the cost to repair will be close to or more than the value of the vehicle. In that case, the car will be written off, and the insurance company will take possession and sell the vehicle to an Authorised Treatment Facility such as Reclamet.

Understanding Accident Damaged Categories

When an insurer writes off a vehicle, it will be assigned a salvage category/title to inform the buyer about the type and severity of the damage received.

These are provided by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and split into six different categories A, B, C, D, S and N. you must understand each salvage category/title before deciding to purchase this vehicle type.

A – Scrap – A scrap car has been damaged beyond repair; the vehicle frame and salvageable parts must not be returned to the road. The vehicle will be crushed.

B – Breaker vehicles – A Category B vehicle should not reappear on the road, although some parts can be salvaged and used in cars that can reappear on the road. The shell must be crushed after.

C – Salvage – A Category C vehicle is repairable; however, the costs required to repair it exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value.

D- Salvage – A Category D vehicle is repairable, and the costs required to repair it are significant, although they do not exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value.

S – Salvage – Repairable Structural – A Category S vehicle has sustained damage to its chassis or structural frame, and the insurer/self-insured owner has decided not to repair the car.

N – Salvage – Repairable Non-Structural – A Category N vehicle has not sustained damage to its chassis or structural frame. The self-insured owner/insurer decided not to repair the car.

U/X – Used Unrecorded/Stolen Recovered – Minimal Damage and Category U – Used Unrecorded vehicles outside the ABI Code of Practice and denoted other vehicles not classified as a total loss under the code. While these vehicles have not been classed as salvage, there is still a chance that they could be damaged.

From the 1st of October 2017, the Code of Practice for the Categorisation of Motor Vehicle Salvage changed. Salvage Categories S (Structural) and N (Non-Structural) were brought in to replace C and D.

The new categories aim to give buyers a better indication of why the vehicle has been written off, i.e. whether it was cosmetic, light damage or structural damage.

Once the necessary repairs have been completed, salvage Category C, D, S and N vehicles can return to the road. Category C and D vehicles classified before the 1st of October will remain in circulation.

Why should I buy an accident damaged vehicle?

Value for money: If you have the knowledge and skills to repair a damaged vehicle, you can save money over buying the car used (including the cost to fix).

Parts: Heavily damaged vehicles, particularly CAT B, C and S titles, could provide you with a source of great-value used parts. Vehicles may be too heavily damaged to realistically return to the road (CAT Bs cannot legally return to the road). They contain salvageable parts which you could buy for a low price, perfect if you are already repairing a similar model.

Enjoyment: A repair or restoration challenge can be hugely fulfilling, especially if you are a big car fanatic. There’s nothing like seeing a damaged and sad looking car returned to its former glory.

Who should purchase an accident damaged vehicle?

Accident damaged vehicles can vary in damage from light cosmetic to deeper mechanical problems. As a result, there is not a one size fits all when considering taking on this challenge. Those who specialise in used vehicle repair would be more suited towards fixing vehicles with lighter damage. In contrast, cars with heavier damage might be more suitable to experienced mechanics who have worked with repairable salvage before.

Of course, suppose you have limited experience with damaged vehicles and are looking to take on your first salvage challenge. In that case, there’s no reason why this type of vehicle might not be appropriate if you can dedicate the time and care it takes to repair it.

Where to buy an accident damaged car?

You can find accident damaged vehicles for sale in several places, including online retailers and car auction companies.

What type of salvage does Reclamet buy?

Used vehicles, high mileage vehicles, classic cars, accident damaged vehicles, cars with mechanical issues/non-runners, mot failures, probate vehicles, cars that are uneconomical to repair, HGV’s, vans, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, caravans/RVs, agricultural and plant machinery.

View our range of salvage auction vehicles for sale.

Call: 01843 823554 / 01843 823224
Email: enquiries@reclamet.co.uk

Reclamet – The Recycling Centre
Woodchurch Road,
Woodchurch, Birchington,
Thanet, Kent,
England. CT7 0HL

Salvage Vehicles 2016 VAUXHALL ASTRA DESIGN ECOFLEX SS 999cc TURBO PETROL MANUAL 5 Speed 5 DOOR HATCHBACK
2016 BMW X6 XDRIVE30D M SPORT 2993cc TURBO DIESEL AUTOMATIC 8 Speed 4 DOOR COUPE
2018 VAUXHALL ASTRA TECH LINE NAV ECOTEC SS 999cc TURBO PETROL MANUAL 5 Speed 5 DOOR HATCHBACK
Salvage Vehicles 2010 BMW 1 SERIES 120D SE 1995cc TURBO DIESEL MANUAL 3 DOOR HATCHBACK
2014 VOLKSWAGEN SCIROCCO TDI BLUEMOTION TECHNOLOGY DSG 1968cc TURBO DIESEL SEMI AUTO 6 Speed 3 DOOR COUPE
2019 LAND ROVER RANGE ROVER VELAR R-DYNAMIC SE 1999cc TURBO DIESEL AUTOMATIC 8 Speed 5 DOOR ESTATE

Reclamet reviews

Great service from Tony in the tyre department cheers

adrian burford
adrian burford2021-07-31
Google

Always good professional service would highly recommend 👌

Albert Snelson
Albert Snelson2021-07-31
Google

Very good service and cheap.

John Sani
John Sani2021-07-31
Google

Really friendly and helpful.

Keith Reading
Keith Reading2021-06-30
Google

A good experience, we needed two part warm tyres for the wife, we turned up, the tyres fitted and we drove away 30 minutes late job done. 🙂

John Gregory
John Gregory2021-06-30
Google

Excellent customer service and communication. Prompt pick up of old car and all personnel were friendly and professional.

Sarah Trigg
Sarah Trigg2021-05-31
Google

Good price for scrap metal.

Found the experience very easy and all staff i dealt with were very helpfull

Jerry Borrie
Jerry Borrie2021-04-30
Google

Booked in for my car to be collected. very efficient, well organized with no issues, money paid straight into my account the same day. The driver was very helpful and polite. Would happily use this company again.

Margate Missy
Margate Missy2021-04-30
Google

Brought my car in to be scrapped and was offered a fair price, much more than i expected to get for my mini. The owner of the business - Stuart was very helpful along with the girls in the office and the weighbridge. Would happily recommend to friends and family.

Verity Smith
Verity Smith2021-04-30
Google

Great place found the staff very helpful and pleasant would definitely recommend them

chris obrien
chris obrien2021-04-30
Google

Fabulous service and very straight forward. I found Stuart to be immensely helpful and knowledgeable.

Andy Morrison
Andy Morrison2021-04-30
Google

Fantastic service. Recommended.

skweeble
skweeble2021-04-30
Google

Excellent service from start to finish. A special mention to Sacha and Gus for their professional and helpful approach.

luke stevens
luke stevens2021-04-30
Google

Excellent service they had exactly what I needed.

Gary Gould
Gary Gould2021-04-30
Google

Was unsure where to begin with locating a certain part, was recommended to Reclamet and now wouldn't go anywhere else, easy and quick process to buy what I was looking for.

Leon W
Leon W2021-04-30
Google

Fantastic business to trade with. Stuart and the team are all extremely helpful, would highly recommend

Daniel O'Brien
Daniel O'Brien2021-04-30
Google

Needed a few parts for my van a week ago kieran was very helpful and knowledgeable part fits and works thanks for the help highly recommended extremely professional and outstanding customer service

Adam Burkett
Adam Burkett2021-03-18
Google

Very happy with the service I received. Helpful and friendly, even changed the battery for me. Would try them for parts fist before anywhere else.

Craig Alexander
Craig Alexander2020-11-27
Google

Honest, great communication, great prices. Friendly. I had a damaged catalytic converter from an attempted theft and Reclamet was the only company that had adequate communication and was not dodgy as most of the other scrap metal dealers seemed. So it was well-worth my drive from central London to Kent to get the £784 they paid me for the catalytic converter. Impressive :-)

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson2020-11-27
Google

Great people to do business with.

Steve Ranger
Steve Ranger2020-11-20
Google

Friendly staff helpful and have most things in stock

Sam Small
Sam Small2020-11-20
Google

Always go for puncture repairs, £10. Also do new and part worn tyres

Mark Wilcox
Mark Wilcox2020-11-11
Google

Absolutely brilliant, needed some steel re-bar for a project, super friendly staff, let me pick out what I needed. Excellent, highly recommended. Will come back!

Bambi Sham
Bambi Sham2020-11-11
Google

I needed a part for my car but didn't want to pay through the nose. i went to the shop and they found the part i needed quickly. i was very happy with my purchase.

Justin Evans
Justin Evans2020-11-11
Google

Brilliant service

Terri Green
Terri Green2020-10-11
Google

Very friendly both over the phone and in person. Had all the parts I needed. Matt was extremely helpful and went out his way to find all the parts I needed.

Connor
Connor2020-09-11
Google

Got new wheel for my fiat 500 less than third of price as another dealer, highly recommend

Lucy Bryant
Lucy Bryant2020-08-11
Google

Bought two new tires, balanced and fittedStaff are professional and courteous.

Alex Broadley
Alex Broadley2020-08-11
Google

Bought a car from them no problems at all highly recommend to all.

Nigel Nelly
Nigel Nelly2020-03-11
Google

Great service, no problems had a new tyre fitted, and new headlight for my car. Very reasonable prices. Staff polite and helpful. Will use again.

Vicky xxx
Vicky xxx2020-02-11
Google

Brilliant service as always,Good price and fitting.

Adam Messenger
Adam Messenger2019-12-11
Google

Great price, quick job, excellent all round.

Chris Hazelden
Chris Hazelden2019-12-11
Google

Saying goodbye to my faithful old car was a wrench but the man at the kiosk was so kind. Excellent service, no mucking around but understanding. Good rate for scrap too. Thank you.

Davina Holness
Davina Holness2018-12-11
Google

Good as gold every time I visit.

Graham Palmer
Graham Palmer2018-04-01
Google

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