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Cat B Write Offs Being Sold as Runners


Leading vehicle information expert HPI, is warning used car buyers about the

potential number of Category B insurance write-offs being dangerously repaired and

returned to UK roads for sale rising. These are vehicles that have been recommended

by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to be crushed or broken down for spare

parts or scrap.   HPI urges consumers to protect themselves against the threat of

buying a potential death trap.


"The Government's Scrappage scheme gave the UK new car market a fantastic boost, but

the continuing 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,"

says Nicola Johnson, Consumer Services Manager at HPI. "Criminals have been

capitalising on this shortage by disguising Category B write-offs as a good buy.  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."


All vehicles that are written off are put in to one of five 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 and return 'written off for salvage' vehicles back to

the road, however all classifications excluding Category D must pass a Vehicle

Identity Check (VIC) with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).   

Insurers notify the DVLA of all cars 'written off' within salvage categories A, B, C

and D. This notification will set a 'VIC marker' against the DVLA vehicle record for

Category A, B and C write-off. While a VIC marker remains set, DVLA won't issue a

registration certificate V5C, or vehicle license reminder V11.  VOSA carries out the

VIC which is designed to confirm the car's identity, not its road worthiness.  This

helps to ensure that the genuine car is returned to the road in a bid to reduce the

problem of ringing - when stolen cars are given the identity of a written-off

vehicle.  The VIC marker will only be removed when the car passes a VIC test by



However stresses Nicola Johnson from HPI, the VIC test should not be mistaken as a

safety test.  "Anyone looking to buy a car that has passed a VIC should seek to have

it independently checked by Autolign or Thatcham to ensure that it is in fact road



"One in twenty five vehicles checked by HPI are recorded as insurance write-offs and

we currently hold 650,000 write-offs on the HPI database, which confirms the scale

of the risk to buyers. However, a check against HPI's registers will tell you if the

car has ever been written off, giving you the information you need before parting

with your cash.


"It's 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."


The ABI Categories of 'Write off'


      Category A

     Scrap only - vehicles in this category should have been crushed. They should

never return to the road and doesn't have any economically salvageable parts

and is only of value for scrap metal. 


      Category B

     The body shell of a vehicle in this category should have been crushed and

should never reappear on the roads. They can however be broken for spare parts

and residual scrap.


      Category C

     Vehicles in this category are extensively damaged and an insurer has decided

not to repair it. If one of these vehicles were to go back on the road they

should have an independent inspection first. 


      Category D

     Vehicles in this category have been damaged and an insurer has decided to not

repair it. 


      Category F

     Vehicles in this category have been damaged by fire and an insurer has decided

not to repair them. 


More on Write Off Categories: www.honestjohn.co.uk/faq/insurance

More at HPI check



David denton    on 2 October 2016

What about vehicles that are flood damaged fresh water flood damaged

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