Skip advert
Advertisement
Your questions answered

What is an HPI check?

‘HPI clear’ is a phrase you’ll have come across when car hunting – but what does it mean?

HPI check

If you’re in the market for a used car, it pays to know as much as possible about the car you’re buying. Checks for bad repairs, service history, condition and suspect MoTs all go without saying – but what about the stuff you can’t see?

Advertisement - Article continues below

An HPI vehicle history check is the best way to make sure your potential purchase hasn’t been written off by an insurer in the past, and that it doesn’t have any outstanding finance. HPI stands for Hire Purchase Investigation, an organisation which provides checks on vehicles to its users.

The HPI Check service, introduced online in 2001, is the industry standard, and with good reason. It covers over 80 information points on every car, all of which help to keep buyers from buying a car they shouldn’t.

To use the service, you simply enter the car’s registration number into the box at hpicheck.com – then pay to see the results. HPI’s Basic Check covers outstanding finance, theft, insurance write offs, import/exports and scrappage information and costs £9.99. A far more comprehensive check can be carried out for £19.99, or you can buy three full checks for £29.97 – that’s £9.99 each, with the checks redeemable within a two-year period.

Advertisement - Article continues below

HPI uses data collected from insurers, finance companies, the police, DVLA and others to collate its results. Other companies including the RAC and AA also provide a history-check service.

There are some things that an HPI check can’t confirm, though. The check confirms how many owners the car has had, but can’t tell you exactly who they were – a particular issue if you’re concerned about the car having been previously owned by a car-hire firm or taxi company, for example. 

Similarly, HPI cannot confirm details of any accidents that haven’t resulted in a write-off – we recommend a professional inspection if you have any doubts, as this should flag up any signs of previous damage. An investigation carried out by our sister title Auto Express uncovered evidence of previously written-off cars coming up clear on HPI, however, so the system is not immune to error.

Also, given that the HPI check uses a car’s numberplate, it’s possible that a stolen car could be wearing a ‘cloned’ registration. To make sure this isn’t the case, it pays to double-check your car’s VIN, too.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Cupra Born VZ hot hatch brings major performance upgrades
Cupra Born VZ - header
News

Cupra Born VZ hot hatch brings major performance upgrades

The hot Cupra Born gets more power, range and touchscreen real estate
20 Feb 2024
Move aside MG ZS: Seres 3 is now the UK cheapest electric SUV
Seres 3
News

Move aside MG ZS: Seres 3 is now the UK cheapest electric SUV

The new Chinese electric SUV gets a starting price below £30k and a range of just over 200 miles
16 Feb 2024
New Volkswagen ID.7 Tourer: specs and full details for the practical electric estate
Volkswagen ID.7 Tourer - header
News

New Volkswagen ID.7 Tourer: specs and full details for the practical electric estate

VW’s electric exec gets a practical estate model with a 605-litre boot and 426-mile range
21 Feb 2024