INSURERS have called for the rules on written-off cars to be changed to prevent unsafe salvaged vehicles entering the used car market.
Loopholes in the current Salvage Code of Practice, which dictates how to process cars that have been written off in accidents, are allowing criminals to patch up and sell dangerous cars to unaware customers, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
It said the risk of “Frankenstein cars”, which are salvaged vehicles patched up with stolen parts, is of particular concern.
Loopholes identified include written-off cars still being allowed to retain their MOT roadworthiness certificate, limited ID verification at salvage auctions and a lack of identity checks for repaired written-off vehicles.
The ABI believes a solution can be found through the collaborative efforts of insurers, policy makers, car makers and the police, but it is not advocating sending write-offs to the crusher. According to policy director James Dalton, destroying “perfectly repairable” vehicles would “represent significant unnecessary waste and damage to the environment”.
However, Dalton believes it would be unwise for car insurers to “mandate an increase in the number of vehicles that should be repaired”, on safety grounds.
The ABI’s calls to reform written-off car salvage rules echo the actions of the West Midlands Police, which launched a “Shop a Chop Shop” campaign in August 2018 as part of a crackdown on criminals selling cars that were bodged together with stolen parts.
During raids on garages in Birmingham on April 10, 2019, West Midlands officers arrested three suspects and seized “hundreds of car parts” that were sourced from 12 stolen vehicles.