Rules for insuring write-offs updated to help customers

Rules for insuring write-offs updated to help customers

THE RULES for insuring write-offs are being updated for the benefit of second-hand car buyers who are looking at purchasing salvaged vehicles.

The Salvage Code will receive an update on October 1 meaning structurally damaged cars that have undergone repairs will have a new ‘S’ marking on their V5C registration certificates, giving customers a new way of finding out the vehicle’s history.

The symbol will indicate that the customer needs to organise a vehicle inspection or use a professional car history checking service to ensure the car has been adequately repaired.

As the changes will take some time to filter through the used car market, customers buying second-hand cars are advised to always take a test drive, carry out a car history check, look for gaps in the car’s service history, check the MOT history, get an engineer to examine the car and compare online valuations.

While the updated rules gradually take effect, second-hand car customers are urged to continue using the same methods of car history checking as they normally would, such as taking a test drive, carrying out a car history check, looking for gaps in the car’s service history, checking the MOT history, getting an engineer to examine the car and comparing online valuations.

DAC Graham McNulty, National Police Chief Council lead for motor vehicle crime: ‘I welcome the measures taken in the new code with regard to the categorisation of vehicle salvage. These steps will not only protect the public further through the additional safeguards preventing unsafe vehicles returning to the road, but also help to detect and deter criminal activity. The codes will provide consumers with further peace of mind regarding the provenance of a vehicle prior to purchase.’

Ben Howarth, senior policy adviser for motor and liability at the Association of British Insurers, said: ‘Not all insurance write-offs need to be taken off the road forever, and buying one of these cars can be a great way to find a bargain. The new Salvage Code should mean there is better information for anyone considering a second-hand car, so you know what questions to ask and can buy with confidence. While these changes work their way through the system, make sure you also carry out other background checks on any used car you’re thinking of getting.’

Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer from Thatcham Research, said: ‘This is about providing clarity to the consumer. The changes have refocussed the process of classifying salvaged vehicles away from financial criteria to a categorisation that provides greater insight into the nature of the damage.’

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