Recorded Accident Damage

By using the Motor Industry Anti Fraud and Theft Register (MIAFTR) database, My Car Check can confirm if a used car has been in a serious accident or previously 'written off'.

While it is not illegal for certain write-offs to return to the road, it is something that buyers should be aware of. Leaving the safety aspect aside, previous write offs should generally cost less than a like-for-like non-accident damaged vehicle.

In this day and age, vehicles can be repaired to an exceptionally high standard. However, when the My Car Check call centre team conducted a survey asking consumers: "Would you consider buying a previously written off vehicle?" 79% said "No".

What is recorded accident damage?

Write Off, Total Loss, Category Loss and Vehicle Condition Alert Register (VCAR) are all terms used to indicate that a vehicle has been in a severe accident.

The term 'Write off' describes a vehicle that an insurance assessor has deemed so accident damaged that it is not financially viable to repair it. In the UK, it will be classed under one of four categories (A, B, C or D) depending on the extent of the damage (see tables below).

Buyers should be aware that write off markers are permanent. They remain on the vehicle’s record forever. A My Car Check report will highlight if a marker is present and, if so, against which category.

If a vehicle has been involved in several accidents it can have multiple insurance losses registered against it. This will reduce the amount the vehicle is worth. The logic is: why would you pay full market value for a previously written off vehicle when you could buy one without previous accident damage for the same price?

Many consumers rule out purchasing previously written off vehicles. Common reasons given include:

  • No guarantee that any repair work carried out has been completed to a satisfactory standard.
  • No guarantees that parts used in the repair were new (they might have been refurbished or purchased from salvage yards).
  • Diminution in value (value is greatly reduced) due to the loss marker placed against the vehicle.
  • Safety and performance concerns.
  • Can affect insurance (some insurers will not cover previous loss type vehicles).

A lower than average price will often indicate a loss history against a vehicle. Indeed, some consumers actively look for category D or C loss vehicles (both can legally be put back on the road) and view them as potential bargains.

Our car checker service can provide accurate valuations for category D, C and undamaged (sometimes called 'clean') vehicles.

Many private sellers won’t disclose a loss history, sometimes because they didn't do a vehicle check so don't know they've been driving around in a previous write-off. A more unscrupulous seller might try to achieve a higher sale price than they know the vehicle is worth.

If you're considering purchasing a category loss vehicle, please speak to your insurance company first. It doesn't matter how cheap the vehicle is if you can't get cover to drive it.

For peace of mind, in addition to a car reg check, some buyers ask a qualified technician (mechanic) to do an independent vehicle inspection.

If you require further guidance on recorded accident damage, or have a query about any aspect of our vehicle checks, please call our UK-based contact centre on 0330 331 0030.

The tables below provide official definitions to help My Car Check customers make a more informed choice regarding purchasing a previously written off vehicle.

Total Loss Category Descriptions

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 to be repairable with little or no salvageable parts. The vehicle has not been repaired following significant damage. It was deemed too damaged to be repairable however did have salvageable parts. 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. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons.
Why may the insurer not have repaired the vehicle? The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle extensively damaged and therefore un-repairable. It has little or no salvageable parts. The inspecting engineer considered the vehicle too damaged to be repaired, however there is value in its spare parts. 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). 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.
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.

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).

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. This category is purely an economically constructed total loss. It simply states that the insurer chose to not repair the vehicle for economic reasons.

What should I do before buying a car? 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. 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 the insurer is not bound by law to do this. 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 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 taxdisc.direct.gov.uk

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 taxdisc.direct.gov.uk

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 taxdisc.direct.gov.uk

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

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

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

N/A

MIAFTR – Theft Loss Type Descriptions

MIAFTR – Theft Loss Type Descriptions
  Theft Recovered
– Undamaged
Recovered – Damaged Recovered - Total Loss
What is this loss type?

This vehicle was recorded with a theft marker on the date provided.

It does not necessarily indicate that the vehicle remains stolen.

This vehicle was recorded as a theft and subsequently recovered on the date provided.

This vehicle was recorded as a theft and subsequently recovered on the date provided.

The vehicle was damaged, however with the lack of corroborative evidence the extent of damage cannot be identified. Damage in such cases is often minor therefore the consumer must not be informed of any damage. This vehicle was repairable, but the repair costs exceeded the vehicle value. The insurer chose not to repair for economic reasons.

This vehicle was recorded as a theft and subsequently recovered on the date provided.

The vehicle upon recovery was deemed a total loss by the insurer. Please see Category descriptions for further information.