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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is NMVTIS?
NMVTIS stands for "National Motor Vehicle Title Information System" and was created as a part of the Federal Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992. It is an electronic system that provides consumers with valuable information about a vehicle's condition and history. NMVTIS is a database administered by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and is overseen by the United States Department of Justice. Prior to purchasing a vehicle, NMVTIS allows consumers to find information on the vehicle's title, most recent odometer reading, brand history, and, in some cases, historical theft data.

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.

In addition, the system provides law enforcement with an important tool to reduce auto theft and vehicle-related crimes.

Prior to purchasing a vehicle, consumers and dealers can search NMVTIS to discover:

  • Information from a vehicle's current title, including the vehicle's brand history. "Brands" are descriptive labels regarding the status of a motor vehicle, such as "junk," "salvage," and "flood" vehicles;

  • The latest reported odometer readings;

  • Any determination that the vehicle is "salvage" by an insurance company or a self-insuring organization (including those vehicles determined to be a "total loss"); and

  • Any reports of the vehicle being transferred or sold to an auto recycler, junk yard, or salvage yard

Which States participate in the reporting?
All 50 states are involved with NMVTIS at varying degrees of participation and represent 89% of motor vehicles on the road. Click here to see the NMVTIS participation map. Be aware that one state may examine and brand a damaged vehicle as "salvage," while another state may not because the damage may not reach a certain dollar or value threshold (e.g., damage estimate in relation to fair market value) required by that state's laws. In another example, a vehicle recovered from a flood or other natural disaster involving water (e.g., hurricane) may be flagged or branded as "flood" in certain states, but in other states no such designation exists. Because one state may brand or flag a vehicle as a flood vehicle does not mean that other states must also designate the vehicle as "flood." NMVTIS is valuable because it retains and makes available to users of the system all reported brands applied to a vehicle so that relocating the vehicle from one state to another will not "wash" the brand, because NMVTIS retains this information and makes it available to any state.

Where implemented, NMVTIS has already proven results:

  • South Dakota and New Hampshire saving time and money by no longer requiring the clerk to manually update a state record with returned title information since such updates are automatically included in NMVTIS.

  • Arizona realizing a reduction in customer wait time and the ability to identify problems upfront due to online, accurate data.

  • Virginia seeing a 17 percent decrease in motor vehicle thefts.

  • Arizona experiencing a 99 percent recovery rate on vehicles identified as stolen.

  • Arizona, Florida, and Virginia identifying cloned vehicles by working together, prior to issuing new titles.

  • Florida cracking a car theft ring responsible for cloning more than 250 cars valued at $8 million.

  • All participating states recapturing brands lost by non-participating states.

  • Indiana experiencing a reduction in lawsuits by consumers who were given clear titles with missing brands.

  • New Hampshire's Motor Vehicle Supervisor stating that the amount of funds spent to implement NMVTIS "represents a small fee considering the savings on insurance fraud, cloning vehicles, stolen vehicles, odometer fraud, and preventing washed brands for consumer protection--all thanks to NMVTIS!"

(Source: American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators)

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