Buying a Used Car? How to Make Sure it Hasn’t Been Stolen or in an Accident

Buying a Used Car? How to Make Sure it Hasn’t Been Stolen or in an Accident

Buying used is a great way to be economical…as long as you choose the right car. It’s important to be discerning, because the savings from buying used can easily evaporate if you’re faced with major repair bills shortly after closing the deal. If you are not buying from a reputable lot, ask a mechanic you trust to go over the vehicle before you make a purchase. 

Consumer Protections: How to Make Sure Your Next Used Car Is Legit

There are services offered on-line to track the history of used vehicles based on the VIN number (commonly referred as Serial Number), which identifies individual vehicles. Every VIN number is unique,for each vehicle and gives a wealth of information on a car. You can find the VIN number of  a vehicle by checking the inside of the driver’s side door, or the top-left corner of the dashboard near the “seam” with the windshield. You can also find the VIN on your vehicle’s title and registration. Once you have your VIN, here’s what you can learn:

  • Branding – With used vehicle fraud, the goal is typically to hide a negative event in the vehicle’s history, like theft, an accident, or severe flood damage. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has information on “branding”  of stolen or damaged vehicles. If a vehicle has been branded “irreparable” or “stolen,” you don’t want to buy it. In fact, it shouldn’t even be for sale.
  • VIN Verify – The Insurance Bureau of Canada also offers the VIN Verify program, which allows you to learn a vehicle’s history by completing a few simple steps. You will be able to learn whether a vehicle has been flooded, involved in a fire, suffered irreparable damage, or qualifies as salvage.

Worried about Vehicle Theft? Simple Security Steps to Help Protect Your Investment

Using the free tools from the Insurance Bureau of Canada will help you avoid purchasing a stolen car, and taking a few more simple steps will lower your risk of theft after you’ve purchased it. Vehicle theft has been on the rise in Alberta recently, so this is a good time to brush up on the fundamentals of protecting your vehicle from theft.

  • Ignition Off, Lock Up – Even if you’re just running into a local shop for bread and milk, always turn your vehicle off, lock up, and take your keys with you. Thieves want an easy target, and a running, unlocked, unattended vehicle is as easy as it gets.
  • Install an Alarm – Vehicle security alarms aren’t too expensive, and work as an excellent deterrent. Most newer cars come with an alarm already installed, but if you don’t have one, installing a system may even help you save money on auto insurance.
  • Park Smart – When you’re parking in public, look for well-lit areas with heavy pedestrian traffic to discourage thieves. Parking near an outdoor light is a good idea at home, though parking in the garage is even better.

Car insurance From Bow Valley Insurance

Buying a used vehicle has major appeal, as long as you do your homework ahead of time. It only takes a few minutes to check the record of a used vehicle based on the VIN number, and the service is free. Before you buy a used car, be sure that you know exactly what you’re paying for. 

The team at Bow Valley Insurance is proud to serve our neighbours in Calgary and throughout Alberta with personalized car insurance services from the biggest names in auto insurance. Start shopping today with a free car insurance quote from our experienced team.