With so many cars, vans and commercial vehicles having lain idle during the summer months, the market revival will bring with it an inundation of vehicles requiring test and assessment. Assessors and Engineers needing to evaluate vehicles, or work carried out on vehicles, need the appropriate motor trade insurance coverage, for their clients and their own protection. Here we look at the options available.
Vehicle assessors use the latest estimating and claims management systems to offer a service that includes vehicle inspection. They are responsible for the delivery of a comprehensive report on the safety and roadworthiness of a vehicle, be it a car, van, truck or even a motorcycle. This includes routine annual vehicle assessments, post-repair inspection, a small claims service and market valuation for sellers and buyers. Vehicle assessors are often engineers or motor mechanics and can operate on a full or part time basis, from home or from a business locale.
For insurance purposes, an insurance company can stipulate that an independent engineer or assessor inspects a vehicle before it agrees to provide cover (although a MOT certificate can also be used as proof of roadworthiness).
Inspections and Write Offs
Post-repair inspections are undertaken to satisfy the vehicle owner and give them reassurance that their vehicle has been repaired correctly. The assessors report can also be used as an essential checklist in preparation for any repair work if any faults were discovered.
Diminution inspections occur after a car or van has been in an accident, suffered damage as a consequence and has been repaired afterwards. Although the vehicle might be roadworthy, it can affect the car’s overall resale value.
In October 2017, the UK government re-classified the write-off system with new categories at the bottom end of the scale. Let’s take a look at them:
Category A is assigned to the most severely damaged vehicles, meaning that it’s only fit for scrap usually as a result of a high-impact crash, total burnouts or vandalism resulting that that even serviceable parts can’t be re-used.
Category B is used for vehicles that have widespread damage and are thus not roadworthy. Whilst the shell is normally scrapped, useable parts may be salvaged and used on other vans or cars. However only Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATF) are allowed to store and process these vehicles.
Category N (which replaced the old Cat D), is used for vehicles that have received non-structural damage that the insurer declares is not worth fixing. This might affect the brakes, the mechanics, the suspension system or the electronics, so it will still usually need rectifying before it is deemed roadworthy. As it is quite easy to repair this damage, most Category N vehicles shouldn’t cost much more to insure than a non-damaged car.
Category S (which used to be called Cat C) is for vehicles that have received damage to the structure or bodywork but can be repaired and made roadworthy. It’s important to note that, although a Category S write-off is among the least severe, the vehicle will be deemed unsafe for use until it has been professionally repaired.
Remember that in all cases, the DVLA must be notified of the write-off, and will need to assess any repairs made to a Category S car before it is roadworthy.
All vehicle assessor insurance policies should be designed for vehicle engineers or assessors who work on either a full or part-time basis and should require a fully comprehensive road risk policy enabling you to test drive and move customer’s vehicles. You can ask your insurer to tailor the policy to cover everything from road risks, as well as tools, diagnostic and photographic and computer equipment.
Also look at customers’ vehicle indemnity limits, public and employers’ liability and office, contents and equipment cover, business interruption and theft. It can also include specified driver coverage, static parking risks and compound cover which insures against the full value of all vehicles at one single location and should cover your own vehicles for social domestic and pleasure use, as well as business use.