Is your second hand van all it’s cracked up to be?

Buying a second hand van may be good for cheap van insurance savings, but unless you go through a recognised dealer, you are always leaving yourself open to unscrupulous individuals who are looking to offload a van that is either not entirely what it seems or has a hidden past, according to two separate reports this week.

In the first report in the Northern Echo a family, a criminal gang consisting of a father and two sons, is facing custodial sentences for illegal tampering with odometers. Concentrating on the luxury car and light commercial vehicle market, Alfred Welch Snr and his two sons Alfred Jnr and James have been found guilty of resetting the mileage clocks of more than forty vehicles in a racket suspected to be worth half a million pounds.

The three will face sentencing at Teeside Court next week after police interviewed 140 witnesses over a four year period from all corners of the UK and EIRE in an operation they tagged Sledgehammer. The authorities were tipped off following complaints made to industry watchdogs as the family routinely purchased high-mileage vans at auction, wound back the clocks and sold them on for an elevated price more than what they were worth.

This has a damning effect on the new owners who believe they are buying genuine mileage vehicles, an aspect that many van insurance brokers incorporate into their van insurance quotes when calculating premiums for commercial vehicle drivers. Should any parts be subject to more wear and tear than records suggest, it highly unlikely that the broker will pay out in light of any claim.

In connection with this, HPI have this week been promoting awareness of the facility they provide for background checking any second hand van that tradesmen may be in the market for.

Kristian Welch, HPI’s consumer director – and no relation to the Welch family in question in the above court case, as far as we’re aware, is heightening van drivers awareness of the fact that, according to their research, a quarter of vehicles may be subjected to finance issues that have not been resolved by the owner selling it. And to add to that misery, it is believed that one in ten are write-offs that have been repaired and resold on the open market. This again could lead to problems in light of any incident as the unfortunate new owner would find his van insurance policy mute if the vehicle had been adjudged unroadworthy as a result of a prior accident.

At HPI, their service includes a full background check on the vehicle ever having been registered as a write-off, checks out the financial status and includes a mileage check as standard. For the sake of a quick check on a potential van you are considering buying, running the its details through a service such as this will not only avail you of cheaper van insurance with your documented history but also give you peace of mind that you are driving the vehicle you hoped to find when you parted with your cash.

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