VIC: Repaired Written-Off Cars No Longer Need Identity Check

A car written-off by its insurer then repaired can now return to the road without a vehicle identity check (VIC), government says

Vehicle identity check abolished

A car that is written-off by its insurer then repaired can now return to the road without a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC), the Department for Transport confirmed.

The VIC was introduced in 2003 to prevent ringing which is the process of transferring the identity of a written-off vehicle, to a stolen alternative.

The latter is then easier to sell. However, the government argued that: “Advances in technology - and the fact that most vehicles returned to the road have been in the hands of the same keeper for seven years or more - mean this (identity) check has become unnecessary”.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “The government is on the side of the honest motorist which is why we are scrapping this scheme which flies in the face of common sense and creates an unnecessary burden.

It will save motorists and businesses millions every year. During the past twelve years around a million checks have been made, resulting in only a handful of actual cases of wrongdoing.”

The Department for Transport says it took account of:

  • “Major advances over the past decade in vehicle security which deter the low-level criminals for whom the VIC scheme was initially set up to combat;
  • Advances in online resources which allow secure checks to take place without a paper check;
  • Vehicles being equipped with increasingly sophisticated mechanical and electronic security methods.”

How vehicle identity check worked

A vehicle received a marker when written-off by its insurer. This prevented the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency issuing (say) a V5C log book or posting reminders to pay excise duty. It was, therefore, necessary to have the marker removed via a Vehicle Identity Check that cost £41.

The vehicle had to have registration plates, be fit for the road, have an MOT (if applicable) and be insured. Road tax was not required, however. The inspector then checked legitimacy via references such as an identification number.

UK categories of insurance write-off

Damage to a written-off car is categorised from A to D. The Code of Practice for the Disposal of Motor Vehicle Salvage definitions are: 

  • Category A. “Scrap only, i.e. with few or no economically  salvageable parts and which is of value only for scrap metal”;
  • Category B. “Break for spare parts if economically viable”;
  • Category C. “Repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs including VAT exceed the vehicle’s pre-accident value (PAV)”;
  • Category D. “Repairable total loss vehicles where repair costs including VAT do not exceed the vehicle’s PAV”.

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Have your say

Was the government right to abolish the VIC? Tell us what you think in the comment section.

This is so wrong, how do we know a car has been repaired, let alone how well!

it was never about how well the car has been repaired --- it was a expensive rip off --- the only checks are whether the vin on the car matches the paperwork.

Presumably it will still have the write-off category recorded and always required a fresh MOT anyway. The VIC test never concerned itself with roadworthyness, only 'identity' and required you to jump through pointless hoops to get it.

doesn't even need a new mot --- and not always recorded as a write off, the idiotic thing is if you sell it as a private sale, you are not obliged to inform a new owner. A dealer has to reveal it but a private sale has to be 'buyer beware' --

Just saved me £41 and a 100 mile journey to the nearest VIC test centre so I am pleased. My log book arrived back last week with a marker saying it has been extensively repaired, after it had previously been given a category c marker and written off by the insurance company for just a tiny dent on front wing and a broken headlamp and fog lamp by the previous owner.

All cat c cars have the fact they have been damaged repaired printed on the bottom the log book V5 so there is no way of hiding the fact when selling the car on after repair. The VIC check was a complete waste of time and money, its taken the DVLA a long time to catch up with the modern paperless way of life and I for one am glad there starting to move with the times.

The Vic check was always a waste of time as Andrew has commented below, it was the larger waste of time as it did not include commercial vehicles, which were the higher risk. The categorisation of vehicle will be changing shortly , but there is still very little in the way of consumer protection in buying a previous total loss. If you need any advice my website is , happy to give insurance information and guidance if you wish . And just to clarify, a car has NEVER needed a further mot, though i suggest it is always done to ensure the car is roadworthy,but please note roadworthy does not mean safe..i have seen many unsafely repaired cars with an mot on them. The new changes in salvage categorisation WILL be applied to the V5 when they come out, this does not always happen at the moment, but they will be marked on the V5 as structural and none structural, cat a and b will disappear and will now definately not get back on the road, where it was possible to get a cat B through a VIC in the past, which shows you have daft it was. The DVLA Will then no longer issue V5's on CAT A And B cars.