Full vehicle check - A guide for buying repaired written-off vehicles

How a full vehicle check helps in buying a written-off vehicle?

Buying a good conditioned vehicle at an affordable price is a bit difficult thing. Sometimes knowing the real structural condition of a vehicle may be very hard, which may lead you to buy a faulty or overvalued vehicle. But it is possible to check if car has been written off or not by getting a full vehicle check.


Write off – The process of declaring a vehicle as total loss. Write off can be categorized as two categories


  • Category A or B

  • This is referred to as actual loss, where the vehicle should be scrapped and cannot be re-registered in DVLA and marked as unsafe.


  • Category S or N (Previously C or D)

  • This is referred to as constructive loss, where the vehicle can be repaired but it will exceed the present value of the vehicle.


You can buy a written-off vehicle if you think it is worth the value. But the vehicle should be brought to a good condition. You can only buy Cat S or N vehicles. The cost of insuring a written-off vehicle might be expensive and most of the insurers won’t provide cover for the vehicle that have been written off previously.

Things you should do before you buy

  • Check if the vehicle is repaired to satisfy roadworthy conditions

  • Get in touch with the concerned person who is responsible for write off and repair

  • Hire a vehicle expert who can identify any structural damages of the vehicle

full vehicle check

Perform a full vehicle check to find more information about the vehicle

  • A full vehicle check from CarDotCheck helps you to know more details about the vehicle like stolen records, finance records, mileage anomalies, and much more.

  • Most importantly check vehicle details thoroughly to know if the vehicle has been written off or not.

  • You must check the vehicle MOT records to ensure there are no mileage anomalies and the vehicle is roadworthy to use. A free vehicle check history reveals the MOT history of the vehicle.

  • Ask the vehicle owner to provide the service history receipts of the vehicle.

  • Check if the vehicle manufacturer recalled the vehicle for any reasons on GOV.UK

  • Verify the VIN number which you have got from the full vehicle check report with the VIN recorded in the V5C logbook. As well as check the registered owner of the vehicle. Also, you can contact the DVLA vehicle inquiry service to confirm the vehicle details.

You should contact your insurer and get a quote before purchasing the written-off vehicle. It helps to decide whether buying that vehicle is affordable after the purchase or not.


Scenarios after purchasing a written-off vehicle

If you fail to inform the insurer about the vehicle has been declared a total loss, you insurer can reject all the claims you may make on the grounds of non-disclosure.

What happens if you are told your vehicle is a ‘total loss’?

It is the vehicle owner’s responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy. For that you should know the history of the vehicle.


Let us say that only after the purchase of the vehicle you came to know that your vehicle was once a total loss and you were not informed about this at the time of sale, the following options are available:


The Sale of Goods Act 1979

A vehicle purchased from the dealer is covered by the Sale of Goods Act. Any vehicle sold must have any one of these description “as described”, “of satisfactory quality” and “fit for purpose”. A written-off vehicle falls short of these descriptions.


If the vehicle doesn’t fall in the above conditions you have all the right to return the vehicle and can receive a refund. It must be done within 6 months of purchase.


Always, check if car has been written off if you’re buying a written-off vehicle by performing a vehicle data check, and most importantly you must get new insurance for the vehicle after you transfer the vehicle to your name.


Attempting to locate a specific service? Utilize our CarDotCheck guide to find the data you need. Liberate your vehicle data requests from overwhelming prices and complexity

CarDotCheck and cardotcheck.co.uk are trading names of Bloomsoft Solutions Limited.