Buying a used car? Getting a vehicle history check like a HPI check is a very good idea. Some car history checks cost money, while others are free. However, generally speaking you get what you pay for so it depends if you need a full and comprehensive check. See below for a run down of the checks available
Free HPI check?
HPI is a specific car history check done by a company called HPI Ltd. This check is not available for free. It costs £19.99 and is only available from www.hpi.co.uk. HPI have been doing car history checks for 70 years and it is the most comprehensive vehicle history check, including information provided by insurance companies, hence the price tag.
HPI’s vehicle history check also offers financial assurances of £30,000 – that means they give you up to £30k if you lose out due to any incorrect information they have provided.
Here’s just some of what is included in the HPI check, which covers 80 data points – more than any other car history check!
- Is the car stolen?
- Does it have outstanding finance? (if it does you may have to pay this!)
- Has it been crashed and/or written off?
- What is the real mileage?
- Has it passed previous MOT tests?
- Has it previously been scrapped?
You can see the full list of 80 data points that they check on the HPI website
Cheaper HPI-style car checks
There are some cheaper and even a few free car checks but it goes without saying that these are not as comprehensive as the official HPI check and many do not have the financial assurance guarantee that comes with HPI
Not free, but a fraction of the cost of HPI at £1.99 for the basic check. This includes checks such as whether the car is stolen, scrapped, written off and a VIN check. But, there is no compensation guarantee or outstanding finance check
The Gold check offers £30k compensation plus they check outstanding finance, vehicle valuation and finance data. This is close to an official HPI check in terms of some of the key data points being offered, but HPI’s check is still more comprehensive and has been developed over 80 years of expertise in checking car history. That being said, Total Car History have great reviews on TrustPilot and their check is solid
This is the most comprehensive free check I could find. As with all free checks, it leaves out a lot of key data, but they do a nice job of compiling various free checks in one place.
There are a number of text checks available but they all offer similar service. CarTextCheck.co.uk claim to be the “original” text check service. They will check if the car is stolen, written off, DVLA data and valuation and should provide the check instantly via text
Free car history checks
Below are free checks you can do yourself. Many of these are included as part of the paid checks above but can be got for free by going to the source such as the Gov.uk databases.
These free checks leave out a lot of key information that is included in the official HPI check, usually information that is not available for free because it is provided by insurance companies, for example. If you want a full check, as I’ve said already, go with the official HPI check
Gov.uk has a number of resources for doing free checks on a vehicle
The full gov.uk step-by-step guide can be found here
There are also a few other free checks you can do:
Found what you were looking for?
Hopefully this guide helped to explain the market for HPI checks and car history checks available in the UK
By way of conclusion I’d say that the HPI check is the best car history check if you are seriously considering buying a used vehicle. You can get the check via their website at hpicheck.com