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What does 'HPI Clear' really mean?

29 Apr 23

Could your 'HPI Clear' car be an unrecorded write off?

You may be used to be seeing the term 'HPI Clear' in car listings, most people take this to mean that there is no outstanding finance on the car and it's never been an insurance write-off. You may even see that the car has passed a history check on sites like Auto Trader and eBay but what if I told you that there are literally thousands of 'HPI Clear' cars that have been subject to an insurance write-off (including cars with structural damage) that are legally being sold as 'HPI Clear'. It's true.

Allow me to explain...

Many of the big names in history checks search the DVLA and MIAFTR databases (MIAFTR is the insurance database containing records of written-off and stolen vehicles, as defined by the Code of Practice for the Disposal of Motor Vehicle Salvage). On the face of it that all seems fine but did you know that insurers are not legally obliged to record written-off vehicles on that database? it's seen as good practice but it's time-consuming and can therefore be costly so some insurers simply do not register their written-off vehicles whilst others sometimes slip through the net.

In the UK today I can promise you that there are hundreds of live listings with a big green tick next to them on very reputable websites for vehicles that were once an unrecorded Cat-C, Cat-D, Cat-S or Cat-N write off that are being sold at full retail price. This is a scandalous situation but there is a quick and easy fix. If a vehicle has already passed an 'HPI' style check, simply get a Salvage Plus History Check from VehicleScore for just £2.97 to help put your mind at ease. can give you details of the vehicle passing through a salvage auction and sometimes even show you photos of the car in it's pre-repaired/post-accident condition. This can help you to see the extent of the damage and check for the quality of the repair. It can also be used as a powerful bargaining chip with the seller! It's worth noting at registered write-offs, once repaired, are often sold for 25-30% less than the normal retail price.

by Jim Starling

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