Motorcycle insurance write-off categories explained

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An insurance write-off is when you’ve had an accident and your bike is deemed too expensive to repair by your insurer when compared to its value at the time of the accident.

However, there are four tiers of insurance write-off to consider, and if the bike means a huge amount to you then in some circumstances you might consider buying it back from the insurer to repair yourself. If it subsequently passes the relevant safety checks, and your insurance company agrees it’s safe, you could be able to ride the bike on the road again.

In October 2017 the rules for insurance write-offs changed, with categories S and N replacing C and D respectively.

Motorbike insurance write-off (total loss) categories:

  • Category A write-off– These are usually complete scrap and they must be totally crushed including all spare parts. It’s common for fire- or flood-damaged bikes to be cat A write-offs.
  • Category B write-off – These vehicles cannot return to road but some of their spare parts may be salvaged and sold for spares if they’re in the right condition. The bike itself must be destroyed, though.
  • Category S write-off– Means the vehicle is repairable, but cost of repair is more than value of vehicle. Has some sort of structural damage that must be professionally repaired, and it’s unlikely insurers will pay for the repairs. (this was previously category C)
  • Category N write-off– Also repairable with a minor amount of damage, often cosmetic. However, some companies may still refuse to pay out if the parts required are difficult to find, such as with classic bikes. (this was previously category D)

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