The designation of a car as Category D can lower a car’s value for arbitrary reasons. This category also denies consumers an opportunity to own a better and safer car. For these reasons, the Category D designation should be revisited.

Take two like vehicles with about the same body damage. In one instance, the insurance company decides the damage is too extensive to economically repair. The car is slapped with a Cat D tag and hauled to the scrapyard.

If a body banger buys this vehicle to repair, he starts out at a financial disadvantage. He repairs the vehicle, but it goes back on the road with a Category D scarlet letter tied on the bonnet. Consumers are reluctant to buy these cars, thus, these vehicles take a hit in their resale value.

In the second instance, the insurance company decides to pay the repair bill and place the car back on the road. A buyer would never know that the car had been in an accident and repaired. No record of an accident has been noted in an official register. It can be resold at book value.

It doesn’t matter that both vehicles are well repaired and mechanically sound. One can be sold for full book price, while the other car would have a lower resale value.

Cat D punishes a vehicle’s value based on an insurance company’s arbitrary decision that the repair cost is too high.

It’s not fair, say some body bangers. Why would two cars, both repaired well, be given two different values?

It’s a good question, and it’s one that’s not been addressed by regulators or the insurance companies.

A Cat D designation is an insurance company opinion that a car was not economical to repair, using the services of an expensive dealer body shop. It should be noted that 75% of shunts take place at under 20 mph, yet the damage can be prohibitive to repair.

In all likelihood, there are thousands of Cat D cars sitting in scrapyards that body bangers are reluctant to repair. Knowing that these cars will take a financial hit before repairs begin will make a body banger think twice.

Body bangers have suggested a smart solution: After a repair, require an inspection at an authorised garage. If it passes the inspection, the Cat D should be dropped.

This proposal makes sense in four ways:

1) In the UK, about 500,000 vehicles are written off by insurance companies annually. That’s a big pool of vehicles that might be repaired.

2) The inspection would assure potential buyers that the vehicles are again roadworthy.

3) Car bangers would make more money, as would scrapyard dealers who would see their inventory move out the gate more quickly.

4) This effort would recycle newer vehicles back onto the road. These vehicles sport efficient emission controls, which would cut back on pollution, and these cars have better safety features to protect drivers and passengers.

Rethinking the Category D designation would mean better and safer cars on the road. It’s worth a look.