VIN Check: A Crucial Step Before Purchasing Car Insurance

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Updated: 19 June 2024
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Insuranceopedia Staff
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When it comes to purchasing car insurance, many focus solely on finding the best rates and coverage options. However, one critical step often overlooked is conducting a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) check. Whether you are buying a new car or a used car, a VIN check can provide valuable insights into the vehicle’s history and condition, helping you make an informed choice.

Why Conduct a VIN Check?

For Used Cars

Getting a VIN report for a used car is a must. It can save you lots of time and money down the road.

  • You can identify every owner of vehicle by VIN, which provides insights into its condition and reliability.
  • A VIN check can reveal the complete history of a used vehicle, including previous accidents, repairs, and title status. Cars with multiple accidents might be considered high-risk by insurance companies, leading to higher premiums.
  • Odometer fraud can significantly impact the car’s value and insurance rates. A VIN check can help detect discrepancies in the reported mileage.
  • Vehicles with salvage or rebuilt titles often come with higher insurance rates due to the increased risk associated with them. A VIN check can confirm the title status of the car.
  • A VIN check can inform you of any outstanding recalls on the vehicle, allowing you to address them promptly.

For New Cars

Doing a VIN check might seem unnecessary when buying a new vehicle, but you shouldn’t skip this step. Here’s why:

  1. Even new cars can be subject to VIN cloning, where a stolen vehicle is given a VIN from a legally registered car. A VIN check ensures the car you are purchasing is legitimate.
  2. Manufacturers sometimes issue recalls for specific models due to safety concerns. A VIN check can reveal if the new car has any outstanding recalls that need to be addressed before you drive it off the lot.
  3. With a check, you can ensure that the VIN matches the car’s advertised specifications, such as the model, engine type, and manufacturing year.
  4. During shipping or assembly, cars can sometimes sustain damage. A VIN check might reveal any repairs or issues that occurred before the vehicle reached the dealership.

How to Conduct a VIN Check

Conducting a VIN check is a straightforward process. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Locate the VIN: The VIN is typically found on the driver’s side dashboard, visible through the windshield. It can also be located on the driver’s side door frame, engine block, or vehicle registration documents.
  • Use Online Resources: Several online platforms offer free and paid VIN check services. Websites like the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), Carfax, and FAXVIN provide comprehensive vehicle history reports based on the VIN.
  • Review the Report: Once you’ve obtained the VIN report, carefully review the information provided. Look for any red flags such as accident history, odometer discrepancies, or title issues that could affect your insurance decisions.

To sum up, whether you are buying a new or used vehicle, you can’t afford to not do a VIN check before getting car insurance.

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