Insurance Web Site Lists Total Loss Vehicles to Help Battle Title Fraud

July 2, 2008

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has created a new Web-based service with total-loss data for consumers so they can learn if a vehicle has previously been severely wrecked, flooded or stolen.

The NICB’s VINCheck ( allows consumers to check five vehicles per day for reports of severe damage, flood, or theft. The Web site includes mostly insured vehicles.

It does not provide access to the records of self-insured vehicles, rental fleets and insurers that are not NICB members, a gap the National Automobile Dealers Association would like to see filled.

“This is a step in the right direction, but because the information is limited, we still need federal legislation that would expand total-loss disclosure,” said Ivette Rivera, NADA’s executive director of legislative affairs.

“We would like all insurers and rental car companies to leverage existing technology, such as vehicle history reports, to keep dangerous, rebuilt cars and trucks off the road to truly protect consumers,” Rivera said.

NADA said it continues to seek further transparency — through support of total-loss legislation in Congress — by urging insurers to make this same total-loss information commercially accessible to vehicle history providers so that dealers, vehicle wholesalers, auctioneers, and remarketers of used cars can provide another layer of protection for consumers.

“With hundreds of cars underwater throughout the Midwest, used car buyers need every tool available to ensure that they do not unknowingly end up with one of these refurbished flood cars,” Rivera said.

Each year several million cars and trucks are flooded, severely wrecked in accidents or stolen. Many of these totaled cars are placed back on the road after individuals rebuild them, wash the titles and resell them to unsuspecting car buyers. Millions of used vehicles are bought and sold at wholesale through auctions every year. More timely, commercially available total-loss data would provide a powerful tool for the wholesale market to identify and track totaled vehicles, argues NADA.

Since the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005, NADA has been advocating for federal legislation, H.R. 1029 and S. 545, that would require the insurance companies to disclose the VINs of totaled vehicles on a more complete and timely basis and “red flag” potentially unsafe cars and trucks.

NADA, founded in 1917 and based in McLean, Va., represents about 20,000 new-car and truck dealers with nearly 43,000 separate franchises, both domestic and import.

Source: National Automobile Dealers Association

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