The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC)was introduced in 2003 by UK government agencies the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA). The purpose of the VIC is to tackle the practice of illegally cloning vehicles.
Car cloning is a major problem in the UK. The practice involves obtaining false registration plates for a vehicle, for the purpose of allowing someone to drive a car registered in someone else’s name.
Cloning is popular because the cloned vehicle can then be used without consequences. Often the owner of the cloned car ends up receiving parking tickets, speeding fines and court summonses because the person who has cloned their car is behaving recklessly.
At its most sinister, car cloning can be used to create a car that is then used to commit more serious crimes but cannot be traced.
Although the problem of vehicle cloning is considered significant, since the inception of the VIC in 2003, although over 900,000 cars have been inspected only 38 have been found to have been cloned, a total of 0.004%.
What is a Vehicle Identity Check?
The VIC applies to cars only. When an insurance company writes off a car because it is not economical to be repaired, the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency must carry out a VIC. The check is carried out once VOSA receives a request for a VIC. This request is made on a VIC 1 form.
The test itself requires the VOSA to check to see if the car matches the description held by the DVLA. This will include checking the serial number of the vehicle, as well as the make, model and colour. The VOSA does not investigate repairs as part of a VIC.
What if I buy a car without a V5C document?
If you buy a car and it does not come with a V5C document then there is a chance the vehicle may need a VIC by the VOSA. This is the case even if there is no insurance claim to be made.
If your new car clears the VIC then you will be free to obtain a V5C from the DVLA.
I am buying a car, how can I tell if it needs a VIC?
You can find out if a car needs a VIC by making an enquiry to the VOSA either online or by telephone to 0300 123 9000. All you need is the make of the car and the registration number. The VOSA will then tell you if there is an outstanding VIC marker against the vehicle.
If there is a VIC marker on your proposed new vehicle then it will need a check. These are carried out at VIC centres. Click the link below to find your nearest centre.