15,000 write-offs back on UK roads every year

One-in-50 vehicle write-offs are being put back on the road with a clean vehicle history.

According to an Autocar investigation, a loophole in a database used by the insurance industry is leaving buyers at risk with up to 15,000 cars that have been written off returning to UK roads every year.

The Motor Insurance Anti-Fraud Theft Register (MIAFTR) is used by insurers to record the details of cars they have written off, and by vehicle-check companies when confirming a car’s status.

However, the MIAFTR is a voluntary scheme, and not all of the UK’s 200 insurers are signed up to it, meaning insurance write-offs can be resold without the correct vehicle status.

Vehicle history checker, Motorcheck, told Autocar it estimates that at any given time, more than 2,000 cars are advertised with a clean history, but which have serious questions about their past life.

Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw said: “Used buyers are at risk of unknowingly buying a written-off vehicle because of this loophole in the industry. A single vehicle health check is no longer a good enough guarantee, as our investigation found owners had bought cars which had been incorrectly flagged as not written-off by a vehicle health check provider.

“The Motor Insurance Bureau has told us they are introducing new measures to improve the database, but for now buyers remain at risk of inadvertently buying second-hand cars with incorrect histories, as well as having to rely on multiple vehicle check agencies to get an accurate understanding of their potential purchase’s background.”