Letter to the Editor: Red-Flagging Totaled Cars

The following letter to the editor was published in The Washington Post

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 14, 2006) - The National Automobile Dealers Association was pleased that the March 26 Business story "Katrina Cars and Rita Rip-Offs" highlighted problems with flood vehicles. Unfortunately, it missed the most obvious solution: When an insurance company declares a total loss, it should post the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the Internet. This would red-flag a totaled vehicle for all subsequent purchasers.

The nation's franchised auto dealers applaud the efforts of the National Insurance Crime Bureau to put VINs for Katrina cars on its Web site, as noted in the article, but that disclosure addresses only a small fraction of the 5 million vehicles that insurance companies "total" each year. If the insurance companies are unwilling to provide this service, Congress should mandate the disclosure of data on total-loss vehicles.

DAVID W. REGAN 
Vice President, Legislative Affairs
National Automobile Dealers Association