HPI Check

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
HPI Check
Product typeVehicle History Check
CountryUnited Kingdom
MarketsUnited Kingdom
TaglineFor Smarter Automotive Decisions

HPI Check is a vehicle history check service[1] provided exclusively by HPI (formerly known as Hire Purchase Information) in the UK. HPI pioneered the vehicle history check in 1938.[2] The HPI Check produces a report that provides information about a vehicle's history, mainly if it has outstanding finance, or if it is written off, stolen or clocked, among other things.[3]

The term "HPI Check" is a term widely used to describe an actual vehicle history check throughout the motoring industry in the UK.[4] However, "HPI Check" is a registered trade name[5] of HPI.

An HPI Check is usually performed just before purchasing a used car from a dealer or a private buyer to discover whether the vehicle has a hidden history. The check can reveal vital alerts that can help protect used car buyers from fraudsters. An HPI Check does not only check the history of used cars but can be used to check any vehicle that is registered with the DVLA including; vans, motorbikes, quad bikes and motor homes.

The HPI Check history report data comes from the DVLA, the National Mileage Register, Police records, insurance companies, finance houses and industry bodies. The HPI Check Report is available to both consumers and dealers all over the UK.

HPI Check History[edit]

The HPI Check was originally created in 1938[6] by HPI in response to the rise of fraudulent re-financing of vehicles.[7] In time, more information was added to the HPI Check report: stolen vehicle information was added in 1947 and car accident history data in the 80s.

Contents of the HPI Check report[edit]

The HPI Check produces a vehicle history report that includes a check on the following:[8]

  • Outstanding finance. Standard finance agreements work in a similar way to mortgage agreements, in that the lender or finance company owns the vehicle until the debt is settled. That means the person selling the car may be the registered keeper, but not the owner of the vehicle. The owner will continue to be the finance company until the loan agreement has been paid off.
  • Written off. If a vehicle is damaged and an insurance claim is processed for it, the insurer will either authorise repairs to the vehicle, or write it off (declare it a total loss, or not economically repairable). If it is written off, it will be recorded in a write-off category, A, B, C, or D.[9] Category A and B cars are so badly damaged they should never appear back on the road. Category C and D vehicles can be repaired and returned to the road, but you should exercise caution with them, and check the repairs have been done correctly and fully. A vehicle inspection should be able to confirm the quality of repairs and general roadworthiness of the vehicle.
  • Stolen. When a car is reported stolen its registration details are added to the Police National Computer and this data is available to HPI Check via a register. As a result, the HPI Check will flag up if a car has been reported stolen.
  • Mileage verification. The National Mileage Register was set up by HPI Ltd, to research and confirm previous mileages on vehicles, to help prevent clocked cars being sold on. The register currently holds in excess of 200 million mileage readings.[10]
  • Number of previous owners. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) holds records of all owners of any vehicle registered in Great Britain. This database of vehicle ownership is available to HPI.
  • Number of registration plate changes. The DVLA also keeps a record of all registration plates including any transfers. As a result, the HPI Check includes full details of any registration plate changes throughout the lifetime of any vehicle.
  • Vehicle identification data. At the heart of the HPI Check is a vehicle's registration plate, but a car's Vehicle Identity Number (VIN, or chassis number) is also recorded by the DVLA, along with its engine number. As a result, an HPI Check discloses what chassis and engine numbers are recorded for a car so the relevant checks can be made to ensure the car is legitimate
  • Logbook loans. It's possible to take out a loan, using a car as security. The practice is called a logbook loan [11] because the car's logbook (Registration Document, or V5C) is offered as collateral. As the lender effectively owns the car until the loan is paid off, it can't be sold on – it effectively has outstanding finance on it.
  • Recorded as scrapped. Once the DVLA has been notified that a car has been scrapped it should never be offered for sale or returned to the road, unless its status is amended on the database.
  • Imported. Cars that were delivered new in another country may not be built to UK specification. These parallel or grey imports [12] could cost more to insure or not be approved for use in the UK. Parts may also be hard – or even impossible – to find.
  • Exported. If a car has been officially exported from the UK but is then offered for sale, it cannot legally be used or insured on UK roads. The fact that a vehicle marked as exported has not actually been exported would also raise questions about its true identity.
  • Colour changes. If a car's colour is changed, by law the DVLA must be notified of that change. If a car's records are updated to reflect this, those changes will appear as part of the HPI Check report.
  • Current MoT. The MoT is an annual roadworthness test that applies to all cars in the UK once they've reached their third birthday. It's legal to sell a car without an MoT, but it isn't legal to sell a car that doesn't have a current MoT certificate, while claiming that it does. An HPI Check reveals whether or not the car has a current MoT.

Road tax status: It isn't legal to use a car on a public road if it isn't taxed. However, when a vehicle is sold, its road tax is automatically cancelled and the new owner has to tax the car in their own name.

  • Road tax costs. Officially known as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), this tax is based on a car's CO2 emissions, which are recorded among the DVLA data.
  • Estimated fuel costs. A car's fuel consumption is directly related to its CO2 emissions. With the latter recorded as part of the HPI Check data, a typical fuel cost for 12,000 miles can be calculated.
  • Vehicle valuation. Vehicle history check provider HPI was merged with used car valuation experts CAP in 2015.[13] As a result, an HPI Check includes a valuation of the car based on the recorded specification and the current mileage.

As well as these pieces of information, the full specification of a car is also included as part of the HPI Check. This data includes items such as the car's performance (maximum power and torque, top speed, 0-60 mph), the engine capacity, type of fuel and what sort of gearbox is fitted (manual or automatic) along with the number of gears.


  1. ^ "What is an HPI check? - Car News, Reviews & Buyers Guides". Car News, Reviews & Buyers Guides. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  2. ^ Cave, Andrew (2003-07-01). "HPI valued at £70m in latest sale". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  3. ^ "Q&A: Buying a used car". BBC. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  4. ^ "What is an HPI Check? - HPI Explained. - Netcar". Netcar. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  5. ^ "Case details for trade mark UK00002387858 "HPI CHECK"". www.ipo.gov.uk. Intellectual Property Office. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  6. ^ "Beware of 'virtual car seller' scam". Action Fraud. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  7. ^ "How to avoid the pitfalls of buying a car". Mirror Online. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  8. ^ Brignall, Miles (2014-08-04). "I paid £4,800 cash for a car that turns out not to be mine". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-04-12.
  9. ^ "Should I buy a Cat D car, Cat C car or an insurance write-off?". carbuyer.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  10. ^ "HPI's National Mileage Register Reaches 200 Million Milestone". responseresource.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  11. ^ "Logbook loans explained". moneysupermarket.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  12. ^ "Importing a Car". theaa.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  13. ^ "HPI and CAP to merge UK operations". motortrader.com. Retrieved 2016-06-19.

External links[edit]