Write Off Check

Buying a car is a serious business. It is serious because it is a major purchase that you must be able to rely on. It is serious because it involves a large amount of money.

All sellers of used cars are obliged by law to let potential buyers know the accurate history of a vehicle. They don’t always do so. That’s why you need to check the history of a car yourself.

What are the biggest dangers in buying a used car?

Buying a used car is always a risk. You can mitigate that risk by finding out the history of the car.

A history check of a car will let you know two important things. You will find out if a car has ever been involved in an accident. Cars that have been involved in an accident are more dangerous to drive and are often more difficult to insure too.

You can also check the history of a car to find out whether or not it has ever been written off.

What does a car write-off mean?

Writing a car off is a decision taken by an insurance company. They use it to classify whether it is possible to take insurance on a vehicle.

The ‘write off’ is basically the decision not to insure the car further by an insurer. The reasons for writing a car off will vary, but the two main ones are:

  • That the car has been involved in an accident and is so badly damaged that it isn’t safe to drive. In these circumstances, the insurance company will sometimes insist the car is scrapped too.
  • The car has been damaged but the cost of repairing it is deemed higher than the value of the car.

Your insurance company will let you know if your car is a write-off or not. The decision to write off a vehicle or not is theirs.

What are the categories applied to writing off a car?

Insurance companies choose one of six categories when they write off a car. Each category has a different meaning.

The six categories are:

  • A – The whole car must be scrapped, and no repair is possible.
  • B – The car cannot be repaired, and the body shell must be scrapped, but any other parts may be salvaged.
  • C – The car can be repaired but at a higher cost than the vehicle’s value. It can also be driven again if it’s repaired to a roadworthy standard.
  • D – The car can be repaired for less than the value of the car, but it would be uneconomical to do so when costs such as transportation are added in. It can be driven if fully repaired.
  • N – Non-structural damage can be repaired and it can then be driven again.
  • S – Structural damage can be repaired, and once this is done it can be driven again.

Does writing off a car mean it cannot be driven and insured again?

Cars that have been written off but are still safe to be driven if they are properly repaired.

They can then be insured with another insurance company and driven. They can also be sold on, often to used car dealers.

But it is always important to know whether or not a car has been written off.

Why do you need a car write-off check?

Statistics show that in the UK a car is written off roughly every ninety seconds. That’s around close to 400,000 vehicles every year.

One consequence of this is that there is quite a high chance of coming across a written off car when you are looking for a vehicle in the used car market.

That’s why so many used car dealers are tempted to break the law and fail to let you know if a car has been written off.

The question you need to ask yourself if you are buying a new car is: can you take the risk that the car has not been secretly written off?

Use our write off checker and you’ll get the information you need to make an informed choice. Just type in your car registration number below and a vehicle history will be created that tells you the accurate ownership of a vehicle. Your registration number or number plate is also sometimes referred to as your VRM (Vehicle Registration Mark).

How can you check if a car has been written off?

Luckily, we have built an online tool which can give you the answer you need.

To get an accurate report, all you need is your car registration number. It includes numbers and letters and is found on the front and rear of the vehicle.

Just type in your car registration number below and a vehicle history will be created that tells you the accurate ownership of a vehicle. Your registration number or number plate is also sometimes referred to as your VRM (Vehicle Registration Mark).

How reliable is our car write off check?

Our car write off checker uses data from a variety of sources to compile a full history. This includes the Driving Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) and the Police National Computer database. This means we use official government police records as part of our checks. All cars that have been reported as stolen or involved in an accident will be marked as so on the police computer.

Does a seller have to tell you if a car has ever been damaged or written off?

Under the law, a seller must let you know whether a car has been in an accident or written off. This is regardless of whether the seller is classified as a dealer or a private seller. All types of sellers are under a legal obligation to let you know whether a car has been written off.

Although it is a criminal offence for a seller not to tell the truth, some do not do so. In failing to disclose this information they break both the law and the duty of care they have to buyers.

Can you use our tool to find out whether a motorbike has been written off?

Our write off tool deals with all vehicles with a number plate, and that includes motorbikes.

Does our write off tool cover commercial vehicles and vans?

Yes, it does. You can use it to check the history of a van or commercial vehicle that has been stolen or has a hidden history such as being written off, involved in an accident, or scrapped.

Can you still buy a car that has been written off?

Yes, you can still buy a car that has been written off. Only cars marked with C, D, N or S during the write off process can be legally sold. But you have to know whether the car has been written off, so use our easily navigable write off checker.

Just type in your car registration number below and a vehicle history will be created that tells you the accurate ownership of a vehicle. Your registration number or number plate is also sometimes referred to as your VRM (Vehicle Registration Mark).

Can you insure a car that has been written off?

Even if you don’t do a car history check, your car insurance company will definitely do one when you go to insure your new vehicle. They will take the history of the vehicle into account when calculating what you have to pay in insurance costs. Every vehicle will be assessed individually.

In some cases, the insurance company may require formal documentation or photographs of repairs, as well as third-party assessments to check if a car is still fit to be driven. This could well take time and you need to know if this is likely before you buy the vehicle.

Some insurers even refuse to insure cars that have been involved in medium to serious accidents. They might decide the car is not worth insuring. And without insurance, you cannot legally drive.

Insurance companies can also consider cosmetic defects like scratches as damage, though that will not necessarily be seen as serious.

What other issues should you think about?

Other things you need to think about when buying a used car are if there is any outstanding credit on it. We have a tool that lets you check this too.

We have also built searches that look for things like a car’s vehicle emissions, its car tax status, as well as when its MOT is due, and any history of number plate changes. Our tools also cover the full spec of the vehicle which you’re looking at.