Vancouver, British Columbia – Doing homework and checking a vehicle carefully are keys to reducing risk when buying a used vehicle. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) has enhanced its Vehicle Claims History report, providing even more purchase protection.

The report now includes warnings that the vehicle may be in an unsafe condition and requires an inspection, and will also indicate if the vehicle is listed as stolen by the police. The improvements come at no extra cost. The report can be purchased at ICBC.

ICBC offerings the following tips when shopping for a used vehicle:

– Find the right model for you. You will consider its looks, colour, comfort and safety features, but also decide if you need the vehicle primarily for commuting, work or family, and aspects such as fuel efficiency, comparable prices, resale value, insurance costs and model reliability. Research if you can buy it outright or if it would be better to lease.

– Know who you’re buying it from. Buying from a registered dealer can give additional peace of mind. If you decide to purchase privately, take extra steps to avoid being taken advantage of by a “curber,” someone who sells without a dealer’s license. A sure-fire way to tell is to search the source you’re using, such as a newspaper or Craigslist, to see if the phone number is listed with another vehicle.

– Take a history lesson. A vehicle history report can tell you a lot about the vehicle, such as if it’s been in a major crash and subsequently written off and rebuilt, has any liens, or if it has been flood-damaged. ICBC’s Vehicle Claims History report may include all you need to know, but if you want a more detailed report, ICBC recommends the CarProof Verified B.C. report.

– Give it your own inspection. Since 1981, every vehicle manufactured has a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), a unique combination of 17 numbers and letters. Confirm that the VIN on the dashboard matches the vehicle registration form. Check for signs of tampering with the VIN, such as loose or mismatched rivets, scratched numbers, tape, glue or paint. Also inspect the odometer for signs of tampering, such as ensuring the numbers are aligned and the mileage is consistent with the car’s condition. An average car travels about 25,000 kilometres per year.

– Bring in the professionals. After you’ve done your homework and taken the vehicle for a good test drive, get a professional inspection done by a qualified mechanic. ICBC recommends the BCAA’s standard vehicle inspection as a good choice.

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