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237,000 cars we check are an insurance write-off

Are you about to buy a car you could regret a few miles down the road? Don’t take the risk...

A winning smile, a bit of polish and a low price tag is the perfect combination for an unscrupulous seller out to make a fast profit. Unfortunately, it’s usually enough to lure a buyer like you and you wouldn’t be the only one.

If you’re on a budget and you find a dream car for an even dreamier price tag, you’d be a fool to walk away or delay handing over your cash. Right? Wrong. Thousands of written off cars are dressed up as bargains, many have had shoddy repairs carried out and some aren’t fit to be on the road.

One in 33 vehicles checked by HPI was an insurance total loss – otherwise known as a write-off. This equates to 649 cars a day or nearly 237,000 written off cars per year are being sold on to unsuspecting consumers, many of which should be on the scrap heap.

Don’t take the risk, get an HPI Check to confirm if a vehicle has a hidden past.

Stefan Wishes He’d Done An HPI Check

Stefan Mordue, an architect from Newcastle, had just passed his test and was excited to buy his first car. He found his dream car in the classifieds and viewed it with his Mum and cousin. The car was within budget and looked perfect, so he went ahead and bought it.

Once Stefan got the car home, he had it serviced by a mechanic, who uncovered some serious mechanical problems. It was only then, he decided to do an HPI Check which revealed the car was a category C write-off. Further investigation and assistance from Trading Standards reported that his dream purchase had actually been bought from a scrapyard and was unroadworthy and worthless.

“I felt sick to my stomach. The car was unsafe to drive and was eventually impounded and crushed,” says Stefan. “I just wish that I’d carried out an HPI Check.” 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 vehicles written off as category C or D 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) if required.

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.

Know The Risks - The ABI Categories of ‘Write-Off’

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. You should never buy a Category A or B vehicle, as they are unsafe to repair and shouldn’t be allowed on the road.

Anyone looking to buy a car that has been declared a Category C or D insurance write-off should seek to have it independently checked by HPI® to ensure that it is road worthy before you part with your cash. Conduct an HPI Check today to help you bag a bargain not a banger.

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.

You should never buy a Category A or B vehicle, as they are unsafe to repair and shouldn’t be allowed on the road. Anyone looking to buy a car that has been declared a Category C or D insurance write-off should seek to have it independently checked by HPI® to ensure that it is road worthy before you part with your cash.

Know the Risks

Investing in an HPI Check could save you financial loss and heartbreak by telling you the following: 

Outstanding Finance

1 in 4 vehicles checked by HPI are still subject to an outstanding finance agreement. Those who buy a car which is still on finance could have unwittingly bought a vehicle that is still owned by the finance company, who could claim it back at any time until the outstanding amount is settled.

Stolen

HPI Checks identify more than 30 vehicles per day. Buying a stolen vehicle means you will lose the car and the money you paid for it, when it’s returned to the rightful owner.

Write-off

Shiny paintwork might be hiding a vehicle that has been declared an insurance write-off. Whilst some of these can be repaired safely and returned to the road, others are only fit for scrap. The HPI Check not only identifies if a car has been written-off, but also which category of write-off, helping buyers make an informed decision about the purchase. 

Clocked

1 in 20 vehicles checked by HPI have a mileage discrepancy. The HPI Check uses the National Mileage Register of more than 160million mileage readings, alerting car buyers and dealers to potential mileage discrepancies and helping them avoid paying too much for a used car that has more miles on the clock than it appears.

Don’t fall victim to dodgy sellers trying to make a fast profit. Conduct an HPI Check® today to help you bag a bargain not a banger.

Visit the AutoExpress HPI Checker or call 0845 300 8905

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