Buying a used vehicle? Try this free service first.

When purchasing a used vehicle, you want as much information on its history as possible to avoid buying someone else’s problems.  One of the first stops to make before signing on the dotted line and handing over the cash is the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) Web site at The NICB offers a free service called VINCheck℠, which provides information on whether a vehicle has been stolen or deemed a salvage by a participating member insurer. car steering wheel 150x150 Buying a used vehicle? Try this free service first.

VINCheck was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More than 300 thousand vehicles were damaged by the hurricane and the NICB worked with its insurance company members to enter their vehicle identification numbers (VINs) into a central database. That database became VINCheck and since Katrina, insurers representing more than 90 percent of the insured vehicles in the country have supplied their information when a vehicle is declared salvage. The database also cross checks against vehicle theft records reported by an insurer to show if a vehicle is actively stolen..

With the addition of vehicles damaged during Sandy, VINCheck is a valuable tool to avoid buying a vehicle that may have sustained flood damage.  For additional information, VINCheck also links to other vehicle history services that charge a fee for a more complete history.

No vehicle report can be guaranteed 100 percent accurate, but taking a few minutes to enter the VIN into VINCheck – at no cost – may give you enough information to know that you don’t want to take a risk on that particular set of wheels.

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About Dan Abbott

Dan Abbott joined the Insurance Crime Prevention Institute in 1987 as a Special Agent and served until it merged with the National Automobile Theft Bureau in December 1991 to form the NICB. In his current role, he oversees the Information Technology and Data Analytics Departments; directs technology initiatives with NICB members, law enforcement agencies and the Insurance Services Office; and serves as the architect of new anti-crime technology developments.