The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is in the process of developing a database, VINcheck, which would use a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to track vehicles that have been declared a "total loss" by insurance companies. The database will be free for the public to access and already has the support of hundreds of insurance companies who would be responsible for submitting the VIN to NICB for tracking.
About 12 million vehicles have been declared totaled in the past five years. About 2.5 to 3 million cars are totaled each year. While the majority of that total results from collisions, that figure also includes incidents resulting from fire and flood. About 30% of those cars are later recycled and reintroduced into the market.
VINcheck also tracks stolen cars. Approximately 1 million cars are reported stolen each year, and only about 63% of those are ever recovered. The others may be introduced back into the market. By using the database, the public will be able to research a car before purchasing it and will be able to make a more informed decision. The consumer can then decide to purchase the car with knowledge of its history or walk away from the sale.
"Our goal is to provide as much information as possible to consumers — at no charge — to protect them against fraudulent used car sales and potentially deadly accidents from driving unsafe vehicles," said Robert M. Bryant, NICB president.
NICB’s goal is to have the system fully operational and updated by the end of the month.
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