Tuesday, 22 July 2008 09:02

Liberty Mutual and Carfax Team to Protect Consumers from Unknowingly Buying Totaled Cars

To Thwart Title Washing, Nation's 8th Largest Auto Insurer to Provide Information on Every Totaled Car

It happens all across the country: people purchase used cars without realizing they were totaled in crashes, floods and other disasters.

These buyers end up paying more than the car is truly worth, often face steep repair bills, and -- most alarming -- are driving potentially unsafe vehicles.

To protect consumers from this fate, Liberty Mutual, the nation's eighth-largest car insurer, is providing Carfax with its data on every car declared a total loss and sold for salvage for the past five years and going-forward. This information is then disclosed to the buyer on a Carfax vehicle history report. "Varying state laws and a deceitful practice called 'title washing' allows salvaged cars to be sold without any documentation they were once totaled," said Ted Gramer, Liberty Mutual executive vice president, Personal Claims.

"In the aftermath of disasters like the recent Midwestern floods and hurricanes, consumers need added protection from increased fraudulent activity." Through the Liberty Mutual Rewards website, Carfax is offering consumers a free flood check to quickly confirm if a vehicle they are interested in buying has ever been reported as flood damaged.

Consumers also can purchase through the site a complete Carfax vehicle history report at a 25 percent discount. "Liberty Mutual is the first insurance company to offer this protection to consumers, which complements our commitment to making our roads safer and reducing fraud in the used car market," said Dick Raines, president of Carfax. "The addition of total loss information to our database helps both buyers and sellers of used cars.

A Carfax Vehicle History Report combined with a mechanic's inspection protects consumers from hidden problems and helps them find safe, reliable cars." Furthering its consumer safety responsibility, Liberty Mutual also recently announced its support of the National Insurance Crime Bureau's VINCheck(SM) buyer protection program. Consumers can input any vehicle's unique 17-character identification number (VIN) at http://www.nicb.org to determine if a participating insurance company such as Liberty Mutual had previously declared the car a total loss.

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