HPI Highlights The Threat of Buying An Insurance Write-Off

Following a recent investigation into write-offs on BBC Radio 5 Live, one of the leading vehicle information providers, HPI®, urges used car buyers to protect themselves from purchasing a potential death trap masquerading as a bargain. One in 33 vehicles checked by HPI® in 2013 was an insurance total loss or a ‘write-off’. This equates to nearly a quarter of a million vehicles being dangerously repaired and sold on to unsuspecting consumers. Don’t take the risk of buying a bodge job, warns HPI®, conduct a vehicle history check, such as www.hpicheck.com to find out if a vehicle has a hidden past.

The BBC Radio 5 Live programme, highlighted a number of cases, where previously written-off vehicles had been involved in an accident. In some instances, the vehicle was badly repaired, making it a safety threat to the driver and all other road users. The tragedy is that someone in an accident involving one of these write-offs could be killed because of bad repairs or faults, like a missing airbag, warns HPI.

The voluntary code of practise published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) requires that an insurance company writing-off a vehicle categorise it in line with the severity of the damage sustained. The categories include cars that can be repaired and returned to daily use, or ones that are recommended to be totally scrapped and never allowed back on the road. It is not illegal to repair or return category C or D 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, HPI advises used car buyers to watch out for unscrupulous vendors with vehicles that have been poorly repaired and possibly pose a serious threat to the safety of its occupants and other road users.

“Our figures and the stories from the BBC Radio 5 Live programme show that buying a written off vehicle is a very real risk for used car buyers,” explains www.hpicheck.com Senior Consumer Services Manager, Shane Teskey. “It’s all too easy to be taken in by shiny paintwork and a bargain price, but that shiny exterior could be hiding a host of faults that make the vehicle dangerous. Dodgy sellers are out to make a fast profit and will happily take your money for a vehicle that’s not fit for purpose.

“The HPI Check confirms whether a vehicle has been written off, helping buyers make safe and informed decisions before they part with their cash. We also recommend that anyone looking to buy a car that has been declared an insurance write-off should seek to have it inspected by a suitably qualified individual.”

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 also includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register 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 £30,000 Guarantee in the event of the information it provides being inaccurate, offering added financial peace of mind to used car buyers.

Teskey concludes, “We recently launched the HPI Inspection service, at www.hpiinspections.co.uk, which can help buyers avoid buying a death-trap. All HPI Inspections are conducted by a qualified engineer, who use their expert eye to look for things such as accident damage on the body-shell, chassis and body panels – as well as over 200 other individual car items; offering total peace of mind.”