Don’t Get Stung By An Insurance Write-Off

HPI urges used car buyers to protect themselves against the threat of purchasing a potential death trap masquerading as a bargain. One in 33 vehicles checked by HPI, in 2012, was an insurance total loss – otherwise known as a write-off. This equates to 625 cars a day or over 223,000 cars per year being dangerously repaired and sold on to unsuspecting consumers. Don’t take the risk, warns HPI, get a vehicle history check, such as the HPI Check to confirm if a vehicle has a hidden past.

All vehicles that are written off are put in to one of four categories, depending on the level of its condition. The categories include cars that can be repaired and returned to the road, or ones that are recommended to be totally scrapped and never allowed back on the road again. It is not illegal to repair or return ‘written off for salvage’ vehicles back to the road as long as the seller declares the facts and provides evidence that the car has passed a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC)*.

However, says HPI, a lack of good quality second hand cars for sale, means unscrupulous sellers are using a variety of ways of conning used car buyers out of their money.  Daniel Burgess, Managing Director for HPI explains, “Criminals continue to capitalise on a shortage of used cars for sale by disguising write-offs as a good buy.

“It’s all too easy to be taken in by shiny paintwork and a low price, but it could be hiding a multitude of faults that haven’t been fixed. Unscrupulous vendors will sell a write-off to make a quick profit but if the vehicle is not properly repaired any price is too high.”

An HPI Check will give a used car buyer the complete picture of a vehicle’s history, including revealing if the car has been an insurance write-off and if so, which category. This offers protection from paying good money for a vehicle that is not fit for purpose and a possible safety risk. Daniel Burgess concludes, “A check against HPI’s registers will tell you if the car has ever been written-off. However, we recommend that anyone looking to buy a car that has been declared an insurance write-off should seek to have it independently checked by Autolign or Thatcham to ensure that it is in fact road worthy before they part with their cash.”

The ABI Categories of ‘Write off’

Category A Scrap only – i.e. with few or no economically salvageable parts and of value only for scrap metal e.g. total burnouts.  These vehicles should not appear on the road.
Category B Break for spare parts if economically viable.  These vehicles should not reappear on the road.
Category C Repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value.
Category D Repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs do not exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value.

The HPI Check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register (NMR) as standard, now with over 160 million mileage readings. HPI also confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it or has been written-off, making it the best way for consumers to protect themselves from fraudsters looking to make a fast profit. In addition, the HPI Check offers a £40,000 Guarantee* in the event of the information it provides being inaccurate, offering added financial peace of mind to used car buyers.