Subscription-Based Pricing vs. Per-Report Costs

AutoCheck and CARFAX

Now that you have decided that you want to obtain a vehicle history report (VHR) and shop for a used car with confidence, the question becomes: where, what type, and how much.

Two of the best-known VHR companies are AutoCheck, a branch of the credit check company Experian and DMV.ORG's sponsor; and CARFAX.

These companies comb through thousands of data sources available from both the private and public sectors. Whether there is a peculiarity with the vehicle title or the odometer reading, or just a general skepticism about how many accidents a car has endured, chance money that the truth will show up on a VHR.

For example, AutoCheck and CARFAX check local police reports for accident information in all 50 states, links to the Federal Emergency Management Agency database to look for vehicles registered in disaster zones, and reports on almost all of the vehicles moving through auction warehouses. What does this mean to you? You'll know whether the used car you are thinking about buying was once under water or had a salvage title, or whether an insurance company totaled it at some point.

Types of VHR Services

So now that you know where to order a VHR, you should figure out which service to order. The services do not focus on how much information you want (that is the same across the board) but on how many reports you want. Basically, you can order one report for one vehicle, or you can sign up and receive reports for multiple vehicles.

Single Reports

The single report is a fine option if you already have the check signed for the vehicle you want to buy―although you might want to hold on to the funds until the report comes back clean. However, if the history report comes back showing imperfections in the title that make you hesitant to close the deal, you will have to order another report at full cost.

If you are selling a vehicle, you might want to take the initiative and order a VHR in advance. A clean VHR not only enhances the value of your vehicle, but it can help you sell it faster.

Multiple Vehicle Reports

Both AutoCheck and CARFAX offer a multiple report service. This a perfect fit for those who like to shop around, and want to check out an assortment of vehicles. Dealers can sign up for a special dealer program at either company, allowing them to offer a report with the car.

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