What is HPI and What is a Full HPI Check?

What is a HPI check and do you need one?

If you’re looking to buy a new vehicle you’ll often see 'fully HPI checked' or 'HPI clear' within the description.

Although this may sound like one of those jargon sayings it’s recommended you only buy a used vehicle with this status.

There are other versions of HPI such as CDL or Car Data Check which are all trademarks in their own right however most dealerships describe the check as 'HPI' regardless of the company they use.

What is a HPI check

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What does HPI stand for?
HPI stands for "Hire Purchase Investigation" and is a basic vehicle history check.

What does a HPI check do?
This vehicle check provides information to ensure the vehicle you want to buy:

  • isn't already financed elsewhere
  • hasn't been written off from an insurance claim or been badly damaged
  • has the correct mileage
  • is not reported stolen

If a vehicle is not "HPI Clear" and you buy it, you could have it taken off you and lose any money you've paid out (worst case scenario).

How often will this happen?

Dealerships / Trade
They may accidentally buy stock that already has finance on it. If they do this they will need to pay off the finance before they can sell it. Most do this without any issue as it's a risk they are aware of.

Private sellers
Difficulties arise when a current finance customer decides to sell the vehicle - this is illegal and they are not allowed to. Unfortunately, the only way to know if a private seller is able to sell the vehicle is to do a "HPI Check".

Vehicle HPI checks

HPI checks will also protect you from the car being taken away by the police (if it has been reported as stolen), or the car not being legal if it’s been written off and isn't road worthy.

The check can also help you see if the mileage is incorrect and the vehicle has been potentially 'clocked'.

Your rights

A 'HPI check' costs money regardless of where you buy it from which is why you'll only really see dealerships who offer it when you’re buying a car.

You can buy your own check, but if you’re looking at more than one vehicle this can get pricey. A single check is around £20 but you can find some deals such as 3 for £30.

Remember paying £20 may be worth it if the vehicle of your dreams isn’t actually allowed to be sold.

If you're looking for more tips and advice read our blogs on what to look for when buying a new car and the tips for looking after a car you've purchased.

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