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Why Do an HPI Check on a Financed Car?

It's time to buy a new car and you're feeling really excited, right? 😃  Millions of vehicles are bought and sold in the UK each year, and you might be ready to purchase a new set of wheels. However, before buying a used car, you'll want to ensure everything is as it seems and there are no hidden issues. One way to do this involves performing an HPI finance check on the car. And in this guide, we've got you covered with why it's important to carry out checks like HPI and how to do it. 

What is an HPI check?

Are you wondering what an HPI car finance check is? Well with an HPI check, you can find more about a car's history before committing to buying it. The check returns information covering different aspects of the vehicle (more on that in a bit) and lets you know if it's worth purchasing. 

Whether you're buying a used car from a dealership or private owner, it's worth conducting an HPI check to ensure no nasty surprises are waiting, like whether it's stolen or has outstanding finance owed. Essentially, an HPI check offers you some form of security and peace of mind before buying a car. 

What does an HPI check involve?

Outstanding finance

So will an HPI check outstanding finance on a car? Yes it will and you would definitely want to know this. Around a quarter of vehicles checked with HPI have outstanding finance. If you were to purchase one of these cars, you wouldn't be the vehicle's legal owner – that would be the finance company. Beyond that, you could still be liable for the debt unless you can prove you bought the car with good intentions and without knowing it had finance owed. 


Stolen cars are one of the most common forms of theft in the UK, with around 30 vehicles stolen every day. An HPI check will show if the car is registered as stolen, meaning you can steer well clear and avoiding buying a vehicle that is technically illegal. It would not legally belong to you if you bought it and could be taken away to be returned to it's rightful owner. 


Has a car been in a bad accident? Or, even worse, has it been written off entirely? Around 4% of vehicles checked with HPI aren't road worthy, and you'll want to see proof they have been repaired before committing to a purchase. It's also good to remember that vehicles repaired after being written off are hard to insure

Number plate and VIN numbers

An HPI check will determine if the car's registration plate and VIN match those it was registered with at the DVLA. If not, there could be several problems with the vehicle, and you should avoid committing to a purchase.

Mileage and MOT

An in depth HPI check is a good idea (this might cost a little more than a basic one) will also look at the MOT status and do an HPI mileage check. This enables you to see if the mileage might have been "clocked" which means someone has tampered with the odometer. A higher mileage means a lower value for the car. 

Why is it important to perform an HPI check on a car with finance? 

Most cars in the UK are bought with finance, and they're sold while still owing that finance. In the majority of cases, the sale prices cover any outstanding finance, and there are no issues. But some cars still owe money, and you wouldn't want to be responsible for that. You would not be the legal owner until the finance is repaid.

The finance company could come after you, asking you to repay the outstanding amount. In such a scenario, you would need to prove you bought the car in good faith and were unaware of the finance owed. Even if you can prove that you didn't know about finance, it's a headache you don't want and will cause plenty of unnecessary stress. 

How much does an HPI check cost?

HPI checks cost around £10 and can be performed online. If you're buying through a dealership, they should also conduct an HPI check and show you the report. Alternatively, some car finance lenders, like Carmoola, provide a free HPI car finance check while you're applying for finance. You'll just need to pop in the registration during the application. We can tell you if there are any issues, such as outstanding finance. 

Check, check, check it out

Without an HPI check or similar, you're taking a significant risk that might backfire and land you in hot water, either with a stolen car, a written off car,  or one that still owes finance. However, performing some form of a check before buying a car will save you issues further down the line and let you know if the vehicle is worth buying. You have heard the phrase "buyer beware"? Well this definitely applies when buying something a expensive as a car, but the good news is that HPI check are there for your protection! 😀🚗

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