Don't write-off every 'write-off'.
Byline: Examiner Motors Correspondent
HPI is offering used car buyers a guide on how to purchase an insurance write-off that is not only safe to be on the road, but could save them 50% off the ticket price.
The provider of HPI Check uncovers 649 vehicles per day for sale which have been declared insurance write-offs.
It says not all insurance write-offs are created equal. Whilst some write-offs are not fit to be allowed back on the road, HPI reminds used car buyers that others can be professionally repaired and legitimately returned to the UK's roads.
All vehicles that are written off are put in to one of four categories outlined by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), depending on the level of its condition.
The categories include A and B category cars that are instructed to be either scrapped or broken down for parts because the damage is too severe for repair and should usually not be allowed back on the road again or category C and D cars that can be repaired and returned to the road, but are not economically viable to do so.
In a repaired state a category write-off vehicle is normally worth 50% to 70% of the equivalent of a non-categorised car.
Neil Hodson, managing director for HPI explains: "The real risk with buying a write-off is paying good money for a vehicle that's been badly repaired and is a danger to drive, or worst still, should probably never have been put back on the UK roads in the first place.
"Unscrupulous sellers patch up total loss vehicles and sell them on to unsuspecting buyers for a quick profit.
"If a write-off hasn't been properly repaired, any price is too high. However, there are write-off categories that if repaired professionally, offer good value for buyers."
If a car is categorised an A, B or C write-off by an insurance company, a vehicle identity check (VIC) marker is placed against the DVLA record.
Anyone buying a car with a VIC marker against it needs to ensure it has passed a VIC test, before they can get the V5C vehicle registration certificate and tax the vehicle.
The VIC test takes place at a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and buyers can find their nearest centre by visiting www.gov.uk/vehicleidentity-check-site Neil Hodson continues, "An HPI Check gives used car buyers the complete picture of a vehicle's history, including revealing if the car has been an insurance write-off and if so, which category. Armed with this information the buyer is able to negotiate a realistic price for the car, whether it's been repaired or not."
WRITE-OFF A TO D CATEGORY A Scrap only - ie. with few or no economically salvageable parts and which is of value only for scrap metal eg. total burnouts.
CATEGORY B Break for spare parts if economically viable (excluding any residual scrap value).
Salvage disposers should use best endeavours to ensure that Category A and B vehicles do not reappear on the road.
CATEGORY C Repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs including VAT exceed the vehicle's pre-accident value.
CATEGORY D Repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs including VAT do not exceed the vehicle's pre-accident value.
A 'write-off' car may be repairable