Auto Dealers Urge Congress to Make Available Data on Totaled Vehicles

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) asked the U.S. Senate to bring more transparency to the used-car buying process by requiring insurance companies to provide consumers access to data on severely damaged, stolen and flooded vehicles.

David Regan, VP of Legislative Affairs for NADA, who testified before the Senate Commerce Committee during an oversight hearing of the property and casualty insurance industry, urged Senators to pass S. 545, a bill introduced by Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss, which would permanently red-flag totaled vehicles.

“NADA supports S. 545 because it provides used car buyers with more complete, timely, and reliable VIN-based vehicle histories before a used vehicle sale,” Regan said.

Many totaled vehicles and flood-damaged Katrina cars are making it back onto the roadways when unscrupulous rebuilders buy an insurance-totaled vehicle at a salvage auction, refurbish it, and then attempt to resell it without disclosing the vehicle’s significant damage history. In many cases, a vehicle with a salvage title can be easily “cleaned” or “washed” in a state with weak title disclosure rules.

“The total-loss history of a vehicle is the most important piece of information that consumers can use to make an educated assessment as to the safety and fair market value of a used car,” Regan added. “With total-loss data, used car buyers—consumers and dealers—can avoid unknowingly purchasing a rebuilt wreck.”

Regan said the problem exists because of confusing, incomplete, and contradictory state titling systems and the fact that it is in the insurance companies’ financial interest to underreport total-loss declarations. DMVs and title history services may never get information about vehicles totaled by insurance companies, Regan said, since not all total-loss vehicles are retitled to reflect the severity of the damage.

“Insurance companies can and should do more to combat title fraud by disclosing the history of these substantially damaged vehicles and keep dangerous rebuilt wrecks off the road,” Regan concluded.

For more information and resources on total-loss vehicle data disclosure and flood-damaged vehicles, visit

Source: National Automobile Dealers Association