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How do you check if a car has been in an accident in the UK?

Car Accident Check

As a used car buyer, you want to know if your car has been in an accident. Although you may not be aware of it, some cars can be made to appear as if they were involved in an accident. This doesn’t necessarily mean they were written-off; they would have been brought back to the dealer after an accident and then repaired.

You must know what the various damage classifications, such as CAT N and CAT S, indicate. The older style categories, which are known to most people, have been replaced; for example, CAT D is no longer in use.

This blog will show you how to check if a car has been in an accident and how you can know the details about the damage.

The biggest question many people in the UK  have is if a vehicle check shows if the vehicle has been in an accident. The answer to this is a simple yes and no.

A vehicle check will only confirm whether the car has been “written off” and has been the subject of a recorded insurance claim.

The first stage is to check for structural damage by looking at the frame and chassis. If any of these components have been damaged, then a category is automatically assigned. 

This will then be recorded by the MIAFTR database to help insurance companies or local authorities prosecute if necessary. MIAFTR (MIA Grades) is used for this part of the assessment. 

The most important thing to keep in mind about MIAFTR is that it does not take into account any external factors. By contrast, insurance companies and the police will take into account external factors when assessing a collision or damage.

If you bought a car that shows signs of damage, then it might be difficult to sell it in future or get most of your money back.

The most obvious sign of damage is an accident history report, which is often not stated by lots of sellers and dealers. It’s essential to check every single corner and make sure that it hasn’t been in an accident before you purchase it.

Be prepared to walk away from a car if there are clear signs of damage or repair.

Sometimes this repair infuriates customers who are looking for cars that haven’t been in accidents — or have suffered from minor damage — when they test drive one.So be sure to proceed with the sale if you decide to with caution and awareness of the risks and pitfalls.

Does a dealer/seller have to declare an accident?

If you are planning to  buy a used car in the UK and the seller is not aware that it has been in an accident, you might be able to claim from them. 

The good news is that there are some criteria that need to be met before you can legally do so. This is because, if the seller or the dealer genuinely was not aware of the accident damage, then it is quite challenging to bring a claim against them.

Dealers and vehicle sellers should be aware that the law requires them to declare a write-off to buyers, if they have had any accidents. The Consumer Protection (Amendment from Unfair Trading Regulations, adopted in May 2014, combine “The Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations,” which prohibit unfair commercial practises in general and, more specifically, false advertising, deceptive acts, and deceptive omissions.

What other options are there to inspect a write-off vehicle ?

It’s not the end of the world if you find some signs of undeclared damage on your dream car.

Many used cars are sold with vehicle inspection and this should provide you peace of mind. The vehicle inspection reports will flag up if there are any issues.
Since it requires a manual inspection, we do not provide this service but you can get one from here.