INSURERS are changing the way they categorise damaged vehicles that have been salvaged, so that used car buyers can easily find out the history of the vehicle.
From Sunday, the Salvage Code will be given an update that will result in cars that have been structurally damaged but deemed repairable being given an ‘S’ marking on their V5C registration certificates.
The hope is that when a customer sees this on a car’s certificate, they will then know to check that the vehicle has been sufficiently repaired with a vehicle inspection or a professional car history checking service.
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.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty, National Police Chiefs Council lead for motor vehicle crime, said: ‘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, added: ‘This is about providing clarity to the consumer. The changes have refocused 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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