Shopping for a used car is exciting, but it’s certainly not a stress-free event. This is especially true if you’re buying from a private seller. How do you know the seller is being honest about the age, condition, and history of your car?
Thankfully, you can obtain this information fairly easily with a vehicle history report. But with so many companies offering this service, it might be hard to choose. In this guide, we’ll answer the question, “what is the best vehicle report company,” and take a brief look at what you’ll find on your report.
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What is in My Vehicle History Report?
Vehicle history reports are basically your car’s biography, outlining the vehicle’s past. It will include maintenance reports, reported accidents, title updates, ownership history, and recall information. Your report will also tell you whether your car has been involved in a reported accident. On your report, you’ll find:
- Accident history: Accidents that have been reported to insurance companies will be on your vehicle history report. Remember that not all accidents are reported, especially if they only cause cosmetic damage to your car.
- Title information: If your car has a salvage, flood or a similar title, this information will be listed on your vehicle history report.
- Maintenance records: Routine maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations, and alignments will sometimes be listed on your vehicle history report. Note that not every garage will report service, and many vehicle owners perform their own.
- Owner information: Your vehicle history report will let you know how many owners a car has had. You will also discover whether your car was used as a taxi or other commercial vehicle.
As you can see, you can gain a lot of knowledge about the condition of your vehicle before you ever see it in person. Ready to learn more about your car? Let’s look at who is the best vehicle history report company.
Best Vehicle History Report Companies
If you were to visit a used car dealership and express interest in a vehicle, there’s a good chance the sales representative would offer to show you the CarFax. CarFax is one of the two most popular vehicle history report companies, followed closely by AutoCheck.
While these companies offer the most comprehensive reports, you can also find out little chapters of your car’s history through other companies and organizations. We’ll cover each of those here.
CarFax Vehicle History Reports
CarFax is the most well-known name in vehicle history reports. Most insurance agencies and garages will report to this company, so you’re likely to get the most comprehensive report through CarFax.
With that said, CarFax is also the most expensive reporting service. At the time of writing, you can order one report for $40, three for $60 or six for $100. You will pay this cost yourself if you’re buying from a private seller. But keep in mind that car dealerships will run you a copy of the report free of charge.
AutoCheck Vehicle History Reports
AutoCheck is another of the best vehicle history report companies, with a majority of insurers and garages reporting to the service. The company is owned by credit reporting agency Experian, and thus you will receive a “score” to help you determine how sound your vehicle is.
Customers who use AutoCheck have one complaint with the service: the scoring system is unusual. The scale isn’t a 1 to 100 scale, so a car with a score of 80 could have been involved in a major accident.
At the time of writing, a vehicle history report from AutoCheck is $25, or you can run five reports over three weeks for $50.
National Insurance Crime Bureau Vehicle History Reports
If you’re just looking for basic title information about your vehicle, check with the National Insurance Crime Bureau. By typing in your vehicle identification number, you can quickly ascertain whether the car has been stolen or salvaged.
This is obviously not the most comprehensive vehicle history report. But it’s a good place to start, especially if you’re purchasing from a private seller.
Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book Vehicle History Reports
While you won’t get a complete vehicle history report from Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds, these sites are both great for determining the value of the car you’re considering. You can do this by entering the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or license plate number of the vehicle, or by inputting the car’s specifications.
The report that will be returned to you is a general summary of what you could expect to pay for the vehicle from a private seller or a vehicle dealership. You won’t find specific information about your car, but the valuation tool is free to use.
Conclusion: Vehicle History Reports
When you’re shopping for a new car, it’s important to learn about the vehicle’s history. The best vehicle history report companies will give you in-depth information about vehicle ownership and more, so you can be assured that you’re making a sound purchasing decision.