Chicago Automobile Trade Association

Database to red-flag severely damaged cars

August 31, 2012
Dealers and consumers alike have a new tool at their disposal to safeguard themselves against buying a car that was previously wrecked and rebuilt.
A 2009 law requires insurance companies to share their data on totaled vehicles with a Justice Department database called the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System.
The database, which permanently flags severly damaged vehicles, can be accessed at
About 720,000 cars a year are in crashes serious enough to be catagorized as totaled or “salvage” vehicles, and that doesn’t include flood-damaged cars.
Some of these wrecked cars are rebuilt and wind up on used car lots, even at prominent dealers. That can cause problems with the vehicles’ performance and safety, along with making them more difficult to resell, crash experts say.


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