Postcode lottery for write off risks

Just 30 miles separates the best and worst places in the UK to buy a used car, in terms of write-off risk.

According to My Car Check, motorists buying a used car in Billingshurst, West Sussex have a 42.48% of checks returning a write-off warning. That compares to just 5.07% in Farnborough, Hampshire.

Other towns with high write-off risks are Dewsbury, West Yorkshire (36%), Morden, South London (35%), Halifax, West Yorkshire (34%) and Blackpool, Lancashire (34%).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Farnborough is followed by Sudbury, Suffolk (6%), Burnham, Buckinghamshire (6%), Treharris, South Wales (6%), and Maidenhead, Berkshire (7%).

Head of My Car Check, Roger Powell, said, ‘We have only recently started analysing our data by location and were surprised to discover a substantial variance in the write-off risk across large UK cities. Around one in four cars checked in London and Birmingham over the last year were found to have been written-off, compared to only one in seven in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Bristol. When you delve into the data for smaller towns the disparity is even more pronounced. Used buyers in Billingshurst face an alarmingly high risk, whereas for buyers in nearby Farnborough the risk is only one in 20.’

He continued, ‘Buying a car is a big deal and establishing whether it has ever been written-off is vital. Even leaving the safety aspect aside, a write-off will usually be worth considerably less than a similar non-accident damaged model. Many people don’t realise it is legal for certain write-offs to return to the road. In fact, it is not unusual for a car to have been involved in several accidents. In this day and age, vehicles can be repaired to a high standard, but a My Car Check customer survey a couple of years ago found that 79% wouldn’t buy a write-off.’