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By Motoring Reporter


BEWARE: Tips to avoid buying a stolen car

If the price seems too good to be true relative to the vehicle's new car price, then ask why.

Purchasing a used vehicle comes with the usual array of likely pitfalls, but none more so if it happened to be declared stolen.

In some instances, the issue is further exasperated by the seller not being aware of the vehicle’s status, or potentially knowing but unwilling to tell the truth in the hope “getting ride of the problem” at a price many would view as too good to be true.

As such, PSG Insure advices the following for buyers keen on purchasing but wary of exactly such a buy.

Who is the dealer?

Identify the dealer and do some research by checking the physical address, phoning the number and driving out to the facility in question to establish it authenticity. Be also wary of salesman “pushing” a deal and too keen to negotiate on price.

Check the number

As well as establishing the presence of a logbook containing the vehicle’s sales record inside the car itself, be sure to run the 17 character VIN or Vehicle Identification Number so as the determine whether the vehicle is indeed the real thing.

Make also sure of the chassis number as this, together with the VIN, will provide a clear picture surrounding the vehicle’s prior history and roadworthiness.

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A further indication of a likely stolen vehicle is the lack of microdot technology all vehicles have been obligated to have since September.

This comes in the shape of a series of identification codes supplied to the Department of Transport’s e-Natis system that can only be seen via a special UV magnifying device.

“Service providers like DataDot have made significant headway into deterring theft, counterfeiting and product diversion. If a VIN is thought of as a car’s fingerprint, you could think of a microdot as the car’s DNA,” PSG Insure’s Head of Distribution, Karen Rimmer, says.

It needs to be covered

Only when a vehicle is declared sound can it be insured, an aspect well-known to be overlooked in South Africa from a financial standpoint.

“Check in with your adviser about the condition of cover for your vehicle, as factors such as changes to where it parks overnight, whether it is designated for business or personal use, as well as the risk profiles of the nominated drivers may influence your premium and the conditions of your policy,” Rimmer says.

“Making a habit out of reviewing your car’s insurance policy every year is part of developing a sound financial wellness regime.”

For more information, visit www.psg.co.za.