The death of the Vehicle Identification Check (VIC)

Posted on December 2nd, 2015 by Rob Marshall


The priority to shave costs from government departments has brought about sweeping changes, the most obvious of which has been the cessation of the tax disc. At the end of October, the Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) has also been abolished.

Launched in 2003, the idea was to check that crash-damaged vehicles, specifically those that had been ‘written-off’ under the insurance industry’s Category C, had the quality of repairs checked in detail, before they were placed back on the road. A further intention was to discourage the criminal fraternity from swapping identities from write-offs to identical stolen vehicles.

Unfortunately, the practical cost of getting to the test centre tended to be considerably more than the VIC’s £37 fee. As the vehicle could not be driven, it had to be transported by the owner with its wheels off the ground to VOSA/DVSA’S appropriate testing station, which could be a considerable distance away.

According to the Editor of Car and Accessory Trader magazine, the VIC never did what it was intended to do. Not only did it not check for roadworthiness, only the car’s identity, but it also uncovered only approximately three dozen suspect vehicles in its twelve years of operation. This low success rate, allied to the bureaucratic cost of operating the scheme, has seen it abandoned. Now, all that is needed for a Category C-classed vehicle to be declared roadworthy, is an MoT Test pass.

While there is no denying that the VIC tended not to be very effective, the very hassle of getting the inspection completed must have seen border-line crash-damaged vehicles scrapped, instead of being repaired. Therefore, should you be attracted by the low price of a repaired ‘Cat C’ vehicle in the future, be certain that you have the vehicle inspected carefully, prior to parting with any cash.