Car check

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Car checks

United Kingdom[edit]

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (UK), better known as the DVLA, is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT). The Agency is accountable to the Secretary of State and Ministers and, through them, to Parliament and the public, for efficient and effective management of the Agency and its responsibilities. Its primary aims are to facilitate road safety and general law enforcement by maintaining registers of drivers and vehicles, and to collect vehicle excise duty (car tax).

Vehicle identity check[edit]

The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) was introduced to help reduce vehicle crime. It is intended to deter criminals from disguising stolen cars with the identity of written off or scrapped vehicles, a practice known as 'ringing'.[1] Since the introduction of the VIC scheme in April 2003, around 717,000 checks have been undertaken with only 38 confirmed ‘ringers’ detected, at a cost of around £30 million to the motorist.[2] The VIC test is at present under review.

When an insurance company writes off a car, the car is recorded as a 'write off' and the registration document (V5 logbook) is surrendered to them and destroyed. The insurance company will then notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that the vehicle has been written off. This notification will set a 'VIC marker' on the vehicle record on the DVLA database. If the vehicle is then repaired with the intention of returning it to the road, the DVLA will not issue a new registration document or vehicle excise duty licence until the car passes a vehicle identity check (VIC). The VIC is designed to help confirm that the vehicle being returned to the road has been repaired following any accident damage and has not been stolen.

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) will carry out the VIC. This will involve comparing the vehicle presented to VOSA against the information held by DVLA, such as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model, colour and engine number. The VIC compares the record of previous accident damage with evidence of damage repair as well as checking other components to confirm the age and identity of the vehicle.

Vehicle check[edit]

The DVLA provides information on the registration of vehicles to certain vehicle check companies for consumer protection and anti-fraud purposes. The information may be added to by companies with details from the police, finance and insurance companies.[citation needed]

MIAFTR Data[edit]

MIAFTR data is provided by the UK insurance industry and states whether the vehicle has been “written off” by an insurer. Insurers make an economic decision as to whether to write off a vehicle in the case of a claim depending upon the current value of the vehicle against the cost of repairs in the claim. Should the cost be deemed too large to make repairing the vehicle economical, a category will be assigned to the vehicle. This category is not an indication of the level of damage that the vehicle suffered in the incident which triggered the claim. As it is an economical decision whether the vehicle is repaired or is written off, that decision is now based on the cost of repairs against the vehicle's pre-accident value.

Now the table below titled "Total Loss Category Descriptions" is NOT an official document and is the opinion and interpretation of an individual. The official description by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is much simpler and at the same time completely out of date.

Total loss category descriptions
  A B C D
What does this category mean? The vehicle has not been repaired following extreme damage. It was deemed too damaged and unsafe to be repairable and whether or not there are salvageable parts , the whole vehicle, i.e. mechanical, electrical, interior and exterior, and structural, must be crushed. The vehicle has not been repaired following significant damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable however did have salvageable parts. the bodyshell must be crushed. This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs exceeded the vehicle value. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons. This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs were significant compared to the vehicle value or the parts required were not available in an acceptable timescale. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons (including excessive storage costs while waiting long lead times for parts).
Why may the insurer not have repaired the vehicle? The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle extensively damaged and therefore unrepairable and any attempt at repairs would render the vehicle too dangerous to be allowed to be allowed on the road. The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle too damaged to be repaired, however there may be value in its non-structural spare parts and these may be sold if undamaged but air bags and seat belt components must be properly disposed of in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions - these items must never be re-sold. The VIN plate must be securely destroyed. The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle repairable, however the costs exceeded the Pre Accident Value of the vehicle. This marker is not an indication that a vehicle is un-roadworthy, but that the insurance company involved in the claim has made the decision not to repair it purely for economic reasons. The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle repairable, however the costs were fairly significant (i.e. greater than 50% of the Pre Accident Value) or significant delays would be involved in obtaining the parts required. This marker is not an indication that a vehicle is un-roadworthy, in fact it may not have suffered any external damage, but that the insurance company involved in the claim has made the decision not to repair it purely for economic or timescale reasons
What scale of damage may the vehicle have had? This vehicle would have had extreme damage e.g. burnt out, completely destroyed, extreme chassis or bodyshell/frame damage or totally submerged in water. The insurer considered this vehicle to have NIL value. The dismantler must be licensed and must not sell the vehicle (other than after being crushed) or any part of it. The VIN plate must be securely destroyed. This vehicle would have had significant damage e.g. extensively damaged, bent chassis or bodyshell/frame or half submerged in water. The insurer considered this vehicle to have some value as salvageable parts (e.g. greater than £50) except air bags and seat belt components must be properly disposed of in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions - these items must never be re-sold. The dismantler may otherwise sell undamaged parts. The VIN plate must be securely destroyed. The damage level varies greatly for a Cat C vehicle. The damage may be quite extensive (but not structural) on a fairly new car, however in contrast the damage may be very light on an old car. This vehicle may have been submerged in water up to the floor level. This category is purely an economically constructed total loss. It simply states that the insurer chose to not repair the vehicle for economic reasons. The damage level varies greatly for a Cat D vehicle. The damage may be quite significant on a fairly new car, however in contrast the damage may be very light on an old car. It may be simply that the required parts were not readily available, even down to something as straight forward as internal trim or seating. This category can be purely an economically constructed total loss or timescale related. It simply states that the insurer chose to not repair the vehicle for economic reasons or possibly the parts were not readily available.
What should I do before buying a car? You should not buy or attempt to buy a vehicle in this category. You should not buy or attempt to buy a vehicle in this category. You should satisfy yourself that a vehicle you are purchasing is in roadworthy legal condition.

You may choose to use a professional engineer to provide an inspection if you wish.

You should satisfy yourself that a vehicle you are purchasing is in roadworthy legal condition.

You may choose to use a professional engineer to provide an inspection if you wish.

What would the insurer do? The insurer categorised this vehicle an A.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through salvage process with the aim of not allowing the car back on the road. Note that although the insurer is not bound by law to do this, the dismantler of the vehicle is required to crush the entire car and is required to remove and destroy securely the VIN plate of the vehicle. The owner may have retained the vehicle.

The insurer categorised this vehicle a B.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through salvage process with the aim of not allowing the car back on the road. Note that the insurer is not bound by law to do this. The dismantler of the vehicle, who may remove and sell undamaged parts, is required destroy the car as a whole and is required to destroy securely the VIN plate of the vehicle. The bodyshell/frame/chassis must be crushed. Air bags and seat belt components must be properly disposed of in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions - these items must never be re-sold.The owner may have retained the vehicle.

The insurer categorised this vehicle a C.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through the salvage process. They would have the view that this vehicle can return to the road following repair.

The insurer categorised this vehicle a D.

The Insurer would make best endeavours to put this vehicle through the salvage process. They would have the view that this vehicle can return to the road following repair.

What would be the salvage process if applicable? If the vehicle is put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator all parts should be destroyed with the intent not to return the car to the road. If the vehicle is put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator all parts may be sold,

however the damaged chassis or bodyframe should be destroyed. The intent is to not return the car back to the road.

The vehicle may be put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator either for re-sale or for breaking for parts. The vehicle may be put through a licensed or authorised salvage operator either for re-sale or for breaking for parts.
What if the vehicle has been retained by the owner or returned to the road? If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. Note that on older cars the damage may be fairly light and not impact its roadworthiness. If the vehicle is retained by the keeper it can be returned to the road following repair. It is recommended to have an independent inspection of the repairs. Note that on older cars the damage may be fairly light and not impact its roadworthiness.
What does the DVLA/VOSA get informed of? DVLA have received notification of categorisation under the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002. DVLA have received notification of categorisation under the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 DVLA have received notification of categorisation under the Road Vehicles (Registration and

Licensing) Regulations 2002

No notifications are made to the DVLA/VOSA.
Is the vehicle subject to a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC)? The vehicle is subject to a VIC should a new V5C be re-issued (i.e. change of owner or a change of registered keeper address).

Check the VIC status at http://www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk/EvlPortalApp/

The vehicle is subject to a VIC should a new V5C be re-issued (i.e. change of owner or a change of registered keeper address).

Check the VIC status at http://www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk/EvlPortalApp/

The vehicle is subject to a VIC should a new V5C be re-issued (i.e. change of owner or a change of registered keeper address).

Check the VIC status at http://www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk/EvlPortalApp/

This vehicle is not subject to a VIC.
What is a VIC? The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) scheme has been introduced as a deterrent to ringing. Insurers must notify Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of all cars "written off" within salvage categories A, B or C. This notification will set a "VIC marker" against the DVLA vehicle record. Whilst a VIC marker remains set, DVLA will not issue a registration certificate V5C, or vehicle licence reminder V11. The VIC marker will only be removed, when the car passes a VIC. The VIC, is carried out by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).

For further information about VIC contact:
Vehicle Inspectorate Enquiries: 0870 6060 440
Vehicle Inspectorate website: www.via.gov.uk
DVLA Customer Enquiries: 0870 607 6688
DVLA website: www.dvla.gov.uk and
CODE OF PRACTICE FOR THE DISPOSAL OF MOTOR VEHICLE SALVAGE: www.abi.org.uk/~/media/Files/Documents/Publications/Public/Migrated/Motor/Code%20of%20practice%20for%20disposal%20of%20motor%20vehicle%20salvage.ashx

A system that needs updating The fact is that today's insurance loss adjusters/engineers have no uniformity in their decisions and the level of damage between a cat D or C is meaningless as Cat D or C is now no longer an indication of the level of damage.

This brings a further question. Why have cat C and D at all! The VIC test only applies to cat C cars and is decided by the engineer who informs DVLA that the Log book has been shredded. As previously mentioned this is to deter car ringers who would buy a cat C and use the VIN plates and documents to sell on a stolen car of the same model and spec. So why isn't a cat D subject to the same VIC? Historically maybe cat d cars were hardly damage but not now.

Even the official description of what makes a cat C or D is ambiguous. C: Repairable, where the insurer's repair costs exceeded the vehicle's pre-accident value. D: Repairable, where the insurer's repair costs did not exceed the vehicle's pre-accident value.

The reason insurance companies sell on the vehicles that they do not repair is to recoup some of their total loss. If they did not sell these vehicles your insurance premiums would become unaffordable. Also it makes GREEN sense in this throwaway society to repair that that can be repaired.

Is it time for a change? There were 265,877 road vehicle accidents in 2012. Of those 197,388 were cars. If 60% of those were repaired by the insurer then there are 118.4 thousand repaired cars put back on the road in 2012 and beyond. These cars have been through the same process of being repaired but they don't have any Category D or C marked against them. The reason for this is the insurance company only informs HPI of the cars it does not repair and their category. Insurance companies do not tell HPI of the cars that they did repair and no one will ever know.

They say this is because an engineer inspect the cars repaired by insurance companies, but do they? and if they do so what?

Why not give every car that is damaged a category based on the level of damage say A to Z and the category stays with the car no matter who repairs it. Now, would you as a vehicle owner accept your vehicle back from the repairers knowing that the vehicle has a category against it. Of course not, because the stigma that is attached the category repaired cars means it would never achieve its PAV and again your insurance premiums would become unaffordable.

Why should a car that is repaired by the insurance companies workshop not have a category.

does this system help the motorist? Identical cars A and B both have identical damage. Car A was in London while car B was in Stockport. It cost £900 more to fix car A that car B because of the storage charges in London. It so happens that they are both with the same insurance company (not that it really matters). The same Loss Adjuster/engineer decides not to have car A repaired (so car A automatically gets a category C) as the repair cost for car A are £400 above his maximum for that cars year and model however he will get car B repaired.

So car B gets repaired and is not shown on any database and the owner certainly will never tell a future buyer that fact and even if he did the car is NOT on any database as a category car.

Car A however is bought from the insurance company by the registered workshop (not that it really matters) that repaired car B. They repair car A to the same standard BUT car A is now on the HPI register as a category C and no matter how many engineers inspect and pass the car it cannot be removed from HPI's database. Even if (after a £300 test) HPI categorised the car as Condition inspected the car is still category C.

Would the real solution be to allow every repaired car to have a category removed once inspected by an independent official registered vehicle engineer.

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