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Frequently Asked Questions

Important NMVTIS Information

Anti-Car Theft Act
NMVTIS Final Rule
Consumer Access Product Disclaimer
NMVTIS Final Penalty Decision Considerations
Glossary
Related Links

Policy Clarifications

Policy Clarification Issued: Tow Operators/Towing Companies Reporting
Policy Clarification Issued: Shredder Reporting
Policy Clarification Issued: Insurance Carrier Reporting of Salvage Information

Notices

Notice Regarding Flood-Damaged Vehicles
Notice Regarding Insurance Carrier Compliance
Notice Regarding State Compliance
Notice Regarding Auto Recyclers, Salvage Yards, and Junk Yard Compliance

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of NMVTIS?
Who operates and manages NMVTIS?
I am interested in purchasing a used vehicle and would like to obtain a vehicle history. How can I do this?
How much will it cost to obtain NMVTIS information on a vehicle?
What kind of information will I receive in a NVMTIS vehicle history report?
What types of vehicles are included in NMVTIS?
How current is the information in NMVTIS?
How is the information accessed through NMVTIS different from private vendors who provide this information as well?
Where can I get detailed vehicle information from a state?
If I believe there is a discrepancy in the information provided in a NMVTIS vehicle record, how do I go about resolving the issue?
If I purchase a vehicle, is my personal information included and shared in NMVTIS?
Why aren't all states participating in NMVTIS? Why isn't my state participating?
I requested vehicle information through NMVTIS and no brand/odometer/title information was returned. Why?

Insurance, Junk/Salvage FAQs

As a junk/salvage yard, I already report certain vehicle information to my state. Do I still need to report to NMVTIS?
As an auto recycler, junk yard, salvage yard, or insurance carrier, if I do not report required information to NMVTIS, is there a penalty?
As an insurance carrier, junk/salvage yard, I have questions about how to report information through a third party data consolidators?
If an insurance carrier determines a vehicle to be salvage or total loss, but does not pay a claim (e.g., third party claims) is the insurance carrier required to report the determination to NMVTIS?
When is the first report due, what will it include, and what timeframe of data is required?
Can an insurance carrier, junk or salvage yard report directly to NMVTIS?
My company is a salvage pool. Can we report to NMVTIS on behalf of our insurance company customers?
Do total loss vehicles over five years old have to be reported?
Since the disposition of the vehicle must be included in junk and salvage yards' reports to NMVTIS, how will we comply when a vehicle's final disposition is unknown at the time of making the report? Are we required to report a second time once the final disposition is determined?
If there are zero cars that meet the reporting requirements, does this need to be reported to NMVTIS?
What junk/salvage yards and insurance carriers are required to report specified information to NMVTIS?
What is the definition of an automobile for purposes of NMVTIS?
If the VIN cannot be determined based on a visual inspection and title documents are not available, how does a salvage yard report the vehicle?
A salvage yard does not have information on who they received an automobile from. How does the salvage yard report the name of the individual or entity from whom the automobile was obtained?
What are the results of all this reporting and how is the data being used?
Do we need to report junk or salvage vehicles that we know will be sold later?
Do we have to report all vehicles or just the ones that will be parted out?
Is it free for the public to obtain NMVTIS Vehicle History Reports?
What is the correct way to handle VINs that have been rejected, but the NMVTIS Reporting Entity verified that the VIN was valid and was submitted correctly?
How does a NMVTIS Reporting Entity correct a VIN that was entered in wrong?
Do car dealerships need to report all the vehicles bought at an auction?
What are the NMVTIS reporting obligations for towing companies?
Does a NMVTIS Reporting Entity need to distinguish between what it will sell to rebuild or what it will scrap?
Why is Georgia the only state that is currently reporting on behalf of junk and salvage yards in Georgia?
Does BJA monitor small "mom and pop" salvage yards to ensure reporting compliance?
Please verify last statement about which vehicles must or must not be entered.
How far back do NMVTIS Reporting Entities need to report?
We are a dealer and understand that the definition for salvage is different from state to state, but we would like to know if there is a way to verify previous salvage history.

What is the purpose of NMVTIS?
NMVTIS was created to:

  • Prevent the introduction or reintroduction of stolen motor vehicles into interstate commerce;
  • Protect states and consumers (individual and commercial) from fraud;
  • Reduce the use of stolen vehicles for illicit purposes including funding of criminal enterprises; and
  • Provide consumers protection from unsafe vehicles.

As an auto recycler, junk yard, salvage yard, or insurance carrier, if I do not report required information to NMVTIS, is there a penalty?
Yes. Any entity that meets the NMVTIS definition of junk yard, salvage yard, or insurance carrier is required to report specific information to NMVTIS and failure to report is punishable by a civil penalty of $1,000 per violation. For example, a failure to report 100 junk or salvage automobiles could result in a civil fine of up to $100,000

Who operates and manages NMVTIS?
The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for oversight of the implementation and operation of NMVTIS, and works in partnership with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA). AAMVA has been the operator since 1992. To learn more about AAMVA contact:

American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
4301 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 400
Arlington, Virginia 22203
(703) 522-4200
www.aamva.org

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I am interested in purchasing a used vehicle and would like to obtain a vehicle history. How can I do this?
Consumers can request vehicle history information through NMVTIS by selecting an approved service provider View Approved NMVTIS Data Provider List.

How much will it cost to obtain NMVTIS information on a vehicle?

Cost for NVMTIS vehicle history reports vary and are determined by individual service providers. The Anti-Car Theft Act requires that the system be funded through user fees and not dependent on federal funds. For this reason, NMVTIS has been designed as a fee-for-service system. Current fees range from approximately $2.95 to $12.99 per report.

What kind of information will I receive in a NVMTIS vehicle history report?
NMVTIS records provide:

  • current and previous state of title data
  • title issue date
  • latest odometer data
  • theft history data (if any)
  • any brand assigned to a vehicle and date applied
  • salvage history, including designations as a "total loss" (if any)

Read the NMVTIS Consumer Access Product Disclaimer, which describes what is and is not included in NMVTIS reports.

What types of vehicles are included in NMVTIS?

NMVTIS includes information on automobiles, buses, trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, motor homes, and tractors. NMVTIS may not currently include commercial vehicles if those vehicles are not included in a state's primary database for title records (in some states, those vehicles are managed by a separate agency), although these records may be added at a later time.

How current is the information in NMVTIS?

Currently the data provided to NMVTIS by states is provided in a variety of time frames; while some report and update NVMTIS data in “real-time” (as title transactions occur) others send updates less frequently, such as once every 24 hours or within a period of days.

How is the information accessed through NMVTIS different from private vendors who provide this information as well?

NMVTIS information made available to consumers is from state motor vehicle agency records and entire sectors (e.g., insurance, auto recyclers/junk/salvage, etc.) addressed by the Anti-Car Theft Act. As opposed to purchasing information from specific businesses or companies, entities are required to provide specific information to NMVTIS in a specific format. NMVTIS is intended to serve as a reliable source of title and brand history for automobiles, which helps consumers make informed decisions before purchasing a used vehicle. However, there are certain pieces of vehicle history data that NMVTIS does not contain; for example, a vehicle's repair history.

Before making a decision to purchase a vehicle, consumers may wish to obtain an independent vehicle inspection and consult other available information resources that provide additional vehicle history data.

Where can I get detailed vehicle information from a state?

To request a complete copy of a specific state vehicle title record, you can contact the current state motor vehicle titling agency. Click here to find more information on state motor vehicle agency processes for obtaining state records.

If I believe there is a discrepancy in the information provided in a NMVTIS vehicle record, how do I go about resolving the issue?

Contact the service provider directly for questions about your vehicle history report. Customer support is available on each service providers' website.

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If I purchase a vehicle, is my personal information included and shared in NMVTIS?

No personal identifying information will be made available to individual consumers via NMVTIS. However, information contained within NMVTIS will include limited personal identifying information specifically for law enforcement/investigative, regulatory, and related purposes. While no personal identifying information will be made available to individual consumers, states can permit access to their records that is consistent with the requirements of federal statutes such as the Drivers Privacy Protection Act and any relevant state statutes. Visit the Privacy Policy page to read more.

Why aren't all states participating in NMVTIS? Why isn't my state participating?

Currently all states are involved with NMVTIS at various levels of participation. View NMVTIS participation map. Some states participate fully with NMVTIS (provide data to the system as well as make title inquiries before issuing new titles.) Other states provide data only or are developing the capacity to participate fully with NMVTIS. Consumers are encouraged to seek responses to these questions from the states directly.

I requested vehicle information through NMVTIS and (no brand/odometer/title information was returned. Why?

It is likely in this case that no brand, odometer, or title information for that vehicle has been reported by participating states. Contact the report service provider for any additional questions or further explanation. Although NMVTIS includes 88 percent of the U.S. vehicle population, it is expected that this that this type of response may occur until all states are participating.

To read the NMVTIS Consumer Access Product Disclaimer click here.

Insurance, Junk/Salvage FAQs

As an insurance carrier, junk/salvage yard, I have questions about how to report information through a third party data consolidators?
To view approved third party data consolidators, please visit the “For Insurance” or “For Auto Recyclers” page.

If an insurance carrier determines a vehicle to be salvage or total loss, but does not pay a claim (e.g., third party claims) is the insurance carrier required to report the determination to NMVTIS?
Yes, an insurance carrier determination of salvage or total loss, regardless of whether a claim is paid or not, must be reported to NMVTIS.

When is the first report due, what will it include, and what timeframe of data is required?
The NMVTIS regulations require that by no later than March 31, 2009, insurance carriers, and junk and salvage yards must begin to report specified information to NMVTIS. The initial report should include information from March 1, 2009 to March 31, 2009.

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Can an insurance carrier, junk or salvage yard report directly to NMVTIS?
In order to ensure that the system-wide expense of operating NMVTIS is kept to a minimum, and to provide overall for what BJA and the operator of NMVTIS (AAMVA) believe to be the least burdensome and costly manner for reporting, insurance carriers and junk and salvage yards must make their reports to NMVTIS through AAMVA-approved third party data consolidators. To view a list of approved third party data consolidators, click here.

My company is a salvage pool. Can we report to NMVTIS on behalf of our insurance company customers?
Every insurance carrier, and junk and salvage yard is required to report to NMVTIS. Insurance carriers may arrange to have the reports provided by another entity to satisfy its reporting obligation if those other reports are filed in a timely manner and contain all of the information that the insurance carrier itself is legally obligated to report to NMVTIS. Although another entity may provide the report on behalf of the insurance carrier, it is the insurance carrier itself that has the legal responsibility for all reporting requirements, including the content and the timeliness of the report. Any report filed on behalf of an insurance carrier by another entity must use the unique reporting ID of the insurance carrier on whose behalf the report is filed.

As a junk/salvage yard, I already report certain vehicle information to my state. Do I still need to report to NMVTIS?
Junk and salvage yards are responsible to reporting to NMVTIS:

  • The name, address, and contact information for the reporting entity.
  • VIN.
  • Date the automobile was obtained.
  • Name of the individual or entity from whom the automobile was obtained.
  • A statement of whether the automobile was crushed or disposed of, or offered for sale or other purposes, and whether the vehicle is intended for export out of the United States.

Junk and salvage yards are not required to report to NMVTIS through a third party data consolidator if they already report ALL the required information to their state and the state provides the required information to NMVTIS on their behalf in a timely manner.  Please check with your state to determine if it is currently reporting on behalf of junk and salvage yards and these entities are responsible for reporting the required information to NMVTIS using a third party data consolidator.

Do total loss vehicles over five years old have to be reported?
Junk and salvage yards are required to report to NMVTIS an inventory of ALL junk or salvage automobiles obtained in whole or in part by that entity in the prior month regardless of the model year. The model year begins on the first day of the calendar year.

Insurance carriers are required to report to NMVTIS an inventory of all automobiles of the current model year or any of the four prior model years that the carrier has obtained possession of and has decided are junk and salvage automobiles (including those determined to be a total loss) in the prior month.

Since the disposition of the vehicle must be included in junk and salvage yards' reports to NMVTIS, how will we comply when a vehicle's final disposition is unknown at the time of making the report? Are we required to report a second time once the final disposition is determined?
Junk and salvage yards are required to report the date the automobile was obtained in inventory during that month even if the final disposition is unknown at the time the report is submitted. Junk and salvage yards must file an update or supplemental report of the final disposition of any automobile where final disposition information was not available at the time of the initial report filing, or if the actual disposition of the automobile differs from what was initially reported.

If there are zero cars that meet the reporting requirements, does this need to be reported to NMVTIS?
No report is necessary for that month.

What junk/salvage yards and insurance carriers are required to report specified information to NMVTIS?
Junk/salvage yards are those individuals or entities engaged in the business of acquiring or owning junk or salvage automobiles for resale in their entirety or as spare parts or for rebuilding, restoration, or crushing. This would include scrap-vehicle shredders and scrap-metal processors, as well as pull- or pick-apart yards, salvage pools, salvage auctions, and other types of auctions, businesses, and individuals that handle salvage vehicles (including those vehicles declared a total loss.)

An insurance carrier is an individual or entity engaged in the business of underwriting automobile insurance. This would include any entity that enters into a formal arrangement, typically of a commercial nature, where a fee(s), contribution(s), or other consideration is received as part of pooling the risk of loss of an automobile(s) or as part of accepting the risk of loss of an automobile(s) on behalf of another individual or entity.

For example:

  • A rental car company that offers, for a fee, contribution, or other consideration, to relieve its customers from liability for loss or damage to, or caused by, automobiles the customers rent from that company, is required to report.
  • A government that self insures its fleet is not required to report.

The definition of an automobile for purposes of NMVTIS, incorporating the definition in 49 U.S.C. § 32901(a), generally covers four-wheel vehicles that are rated at less than 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, but excludes vehicles that operate solely on rails, certain vehicles manufactured in different states by two or more manufacturers, and certain work trucks.

What is included in the gross vehicle weight rating?
The concept of "gross vehicle weight rating" ("GVWR") seems to be commonly used in the automobile industry and the Department of Transportation states it is "the maximum allowable total weight of a vehicle when loaded, including the vehicle itself plus fuel, passengers, cargo, and trailer tongue weight. This is a fixed weight specified by the manufacturer." Usually the GVWR may be found on the sticker on the automobile.

What is the definition of a work truck?
49 C.F.R. § 523.2 provides the following definition for work trucks: "Work truck means a vehicle that is rated at more than 8,500 and less than or equal to 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, and is not a medium-duty passenger vehicle as defined in 40 CFR 86.1803-01 effective as of December 20, 2007." (Emphasis added). (the definition of a medium-duty passenger vehicle is provided below).

A medium-duty passenger vehicle ("MDPV"), according to 40 C.F.R. § 86.1803-01, "means any heavy-duty vehicle (as defined in this subpart) with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 pounds that is designed primarily for the transportation of persons. The MDPV definition does not include any vehicle which:

  1. Is an "incomplete truck" as defined in this subpart; or
  2. Has a seating capacity of more than 12 persons; or
  3. Is designed for more than 9 persons in seating rearward of the driver's seat; or
  4. Is equipped with an open cargo area (for example, a pick-up truck box or bed) of 72.0 inches in interior length or more. A covered box not readily accessible from the passenger compartment will be considered an open cargo area for purposes of this definition.

If the VIN cannot be determined based on a visual inspection and title documents are not available, how does a salvage yard report the vehicle?
Per the NMVTIS Regulation, a salvage yard has an obligation to perform a visual inspection of the vehicle and to review the title documents to determine the VIN. A salvage yard is encouraged to make a good faith effort to obtain the VIN prior to not reporting the vehicle.

A salvage yard does not have information on who they received an automobile from. How does the salvage yard report the name of the individual or entity from whom the automobile was obtained?
When a salvage yard is unable to identify from whom an automobile was obtained, it should report to NMVTIS the owner of the vehicle as the name of the individual from whom the automobile was obtained.

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What are the results of all this reporting and how is the data being used?
Businesses that provide the required reporting on junk and salvage vehicles to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) play an integral role in national efforts to prevent fraud, reduce theft, and potentially save the lives of consumers who might otherwise unknowingly purchase unsafe vehicles.  Consumers on a daily basis use the data contained in a NMVTIS Vehicle History Report to make better informed used car purchasing decisions.  Likewise, law enforcement agencies across the country routinely access NMVTIS to assist local, state, and federal vehicle-related criminal investigations. To date, 47 million records have been reported to NMVTIS by NMVTIS Reporting Entities.

Do we need to report junk or salvage vehicles that we know will be sold later?
Yes.  Reporting entities must provide NMVTIS with the following information on each junk and salvage vehicle received into inventory every month (from April 2009 forward):

  • The name, address, and contact information for the reporting entity.
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Date the automobile was obtained.
  • Name of the individual or entity from whom the automobile was obtained.
  • A statement of whether the automobile was crushed or disposed of, or offered for sale or other purposes.  To whom the vehicle was provided or transferred.
  • Whether the vehicle is intended for export out of the United States.

If the disposition (i.e., scrap, crush, or sold) is unknown at the time of the initial report, then the NMVTIS Reporting Entity can file an updated report with its NMVTIS data consolidator when the final disposition is known.

Do we have to report all vehicles or just the ones that will be parted out? 
Per the NMVTIS regulations, NMVTIS Reporting Entities are responsible for providing an inventory of all junk automobiles or salvage automobiles obtained in whole or in part by that entity in the prior month.

Is it free for the public to obtain NMVTIS Vehicle History Reports?
A NMVTIS Vehicle History Report can be purchased for $2.95 - 12.99 depending on the data provider

What is the correct way to handle VINs that have been rejected, but the NMVTIS Reporting Entity verified that the VIN was valid and was submitted correctly?
Please use the AAMVA Single VIN Reporting Service to enter those valid – non-standard VINs (rejected and verified as valid).  This is a free service.  NMVTIS Reporting Entities can register with this service using an existing reporting ID number to report those valid VINs that its NMVTIS data consolidator rejects.

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How does a NMVTIS Reporting Entity correct a VIN that was entered in wrong?
Each of the reporting services offers a process for making amendments or corrections to NMVTIS reports. Detailed information regarding amending or correcting a record after it has been submitted to NMVTIS may be obtained by contacting the data consolidator that accepted the record. A list of the NMVTIS data consolidators is available at: www.vehiclehistory.gov/nmvtis_auto.html.

Do car dealerships need to report all the vehicles bought at an auction?
Any business that has a NMVTIS reporting obligation is required to report to NMVTIS all vehicles meeting the NMVTIS definitions for junk or salvage automobiles.

What are the NMVTIS reporting obligations for towing companies?
Please see the following policy clarification for towing companies:  http://www.vehiclehistory.gov/Tow_120611.pdf.

Does a NMVTIS Reporting Entity need to distinguish between what it will sell to rebuild or what it will scrap?
Yes.  One of the data elements that is required to be reported to NMVTIS is the final disposition of the vehicle.  The disposition types and descriptions are as follows:   

SCRAP:Vehicle has been processed into scrap metal by shredding, shearing, fragmenting, baling or similar means.
CRUSH:Vehicle was crushed as to render the vehicle in such a condition that it can never be used or rebuilt for use as a motor vehicle.
SOLD:Vehicle has been sold.
BLANK:Vehicle disposition not known at the time of this reporting

If the disposition (i.e., scrap, crush, or sold) is unknown at the time of the initial report, then the NMVTIS Reporting Entity can file an updated report with its NMVTIS data consolidator when the final disposition is known.

Why is Georgia the only state that is currently reporting on behalf of junk and salvage yards in Georgia?
NMVTIS Reporting entities are encouraged to seek responses to this question from their applicable states directly.

Does BJA monitor small "mom and pop" salvage yards to ensure reporting compliance?
The goal of BJA's NMVTIS enforcement efforts is to promote voluntary compliance for all businesses required to report.  We want to ensure the highest level of reporting possible through public awareness and creating a straightforward enforcement process.  Over the past two years, approximately 40,000 letters have been sent to businesses of all sizes notifying them of the reporting requirements, methods for reporting, and the penalties for non-reporting.  Through a combination of site visits, office-based monitoring, and non-reporting referrals received from public sources, BJA works to ensure that businesses required to report are in compliance.  As part of that ongoing effort, many of the businesses contacted by BJA for nonreporting ultimately responded and came into compliance with approximately 1,000,000 additional VINs reported that otherwise would not have been.

Please verify last statement about which vehicles must or must not be entered
Per the NMVTIS Regulation, all junk yards and salvage yards handling five or more junk or salvage automobiles per year shall provide NMVTIS with specific information on each junk or salvage automobile obtained in whole or in part in the prior month.

The list of industries that are specifically identified in the regulatory definitions of "junk yard" and "salvage yard" is not an exhaustive list.  IF you satisfy the definition of a "junk yard" or "salvage yard" (i.e., you are an individual or entity engaged in the business of acquiring or owning junk automobiles or salvage automobiles for resale in their entirety or as spare parts; or rebuilding, restoration, or crushing) AND you handle 5 or more junk automobiles or salvage automobiles per year, THEN you have a NMVTIS reporting obligation.

How far back do NMVTIS Reporting Entities need to report? 
DOJ's NMVTIS enforcement efforts will focus on reporting since April 2009 as well as current and future reporting.

We are a dealer and understand that the definition for salvage is different from state to state, but we would like to know if there is a way to verify previous salvage history.
Dealers can access salvage history information contained in NMVTIS by purchasing a NMVTIS Vehicle History Report.  The approved NMVTIS data providers will be able to establish an account for you that best meets your needs. 

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