A staggering 237 thousand written off cars are uncovered every year by hpi as being offered for sale by sellers who won’t always declare to buyers that they are insurance write-offs.
However, warns hpi, with the used car market anticipated to be swamped with flood damaged cars in the coming months, the risk of purchasing a write-off could significantly be on the rise and buyers are being urged to take the necessary precautions.
Whilst it’s not illegal to professionally repair and sell Category C and D insurance write-off cars, those that have been declared a Category A and B write-off are only good for the scrap heap or should be broken down for spare parts; they should never be returned to the roads. Unfortunately, there are fraudsters willing to patch up and disguise written off vehicles and sell them on to unsuspecting buyers for a quick profit.
The risk with unwittingly buying a water damaged insurance total loss, that hasn’t been properly repaired, is that engine components that have been flooded need to be completely replaced to ensure they work correctly. Brakes, starter motors and catalytic converters can fail at any point and pose a risk to drivers, their passengers and pedestrians.
However, there’s an added danger in the coming months for buyers in that some car owners may innocently try to sell on their flood damaged vehicle, once its interior has dried out and has been professional cleaned, oblivious that it is potentially hazardous. Whilst they are genuinely unaware of the hidden dangers that flooding may have caused to the mechanics of the car, omitting its history to a potential buyer will leave the new owner in the dark about its real condition.
Neil Hodson of hpi said: “To avoid landing yourself with a nightmare on wheels, rather than your dream car, we urge you to conduct a vehicle history check. This will tell you if the car has been declared an insurance write-off and importantly, what category write-off it is."
Hodson added that it's really important to understand that not all written off cars should be avoided. "Category C and D write-offs that have been professionally repaired and declared roadworthy can present a bargain for buyers.
"In a repaired state, cap Black Book estimates a category write-off vehicle is normally worth 50% -70% of its pre-accident value, so if you’ve done an hpi check and know the car has history, you will be armed to negotiate a good deal."