The importance of Carproof reports

It’s good to know, for example, if someone has a lien on the used car you’re about to buy

By Jens Nielsen

When considering buying used — whether from a car dealer or from private seller — it’s important to see the Carproof report for the vehicle.

Carproof offers the most comprehensive nationwide reporting in Canada. CarFax reports also offer much of the same information, but are not as popular in Canada as they are in the United States.

You can purchase these reports online on their websites for a fee. If you are purchasing a used vehicle from a car dealer they can likely supply you with a copy of the report at no charge.

So, what will you find in these reports that is important enough to pay a fee for? Lots.

Carproof offers several reports they describe as:

Accident, collision and damage details

This section compiles data from collision estimating facilities, insurance information and police reports to let you know what, if any, damage the vehicle has sustained in its life.

In some instances, it is possible that a report comes back showing that there has been damage to that vehicle, but the insurance payout recorded is $0. This means that while this vehicle does have damage in its history, the cost of the repairs are not known. While there are many reasons why this could happen, the most common explanations for a $0 claim are:

• The incident is recent and a claim has not yet been paid out by the insurance company

• The claim was denied by insurance as a result of an offense such as distracted driving or street racing

• The cost to fix the damage was around or less than the deductible so the owner chose to pay out of pocket.

Even if the amount associated with the claim is $0, knowing that damage has occurred in the vehicle’s history is an important first step in determining whether or not this is the right one for you. This discovery should prompt you to ask the seller as many questions as possible. If the seller is the original owner, they should have a good idea of what damage actually occurred to the vehicle. Even if they aren’t the original owner, this may have been a conversation that they had when they purchased the vehicle.

Lien status

Available on our Carproof Verified report, this section shows liens registered against the vehicle identified by searching the personal property and security registries of the Canadian province or territory you’re located in (if the vehicle is currently registered there) and every other province and territory in Canada where the vehicle was registered or had its registration renewed within the past year. It is important to know about liens, because a lien can be enforced against the new owner of the vehicle if it isn’t settled before they buy it.

Canadian registration and branding

A look at where in Canada and the U.S. the vehicle is, or has been registered, as well as the status of the vehicle in those jurisdictions.

Stolen vehicle check

This check provides data from the Canadian Police Information Centre to see if the vehicle is marked as actively stolen.

Import records

Here you’ll find any applicable details about the vehicle being imported or exported between Canada and the U.S.

Other records

Here you may find service records.

The Carproof website also offers a few free reports:

VIN check

A VIN check will tell you details about a specific car’s year, make, model, and where it was made. When buying a used car, this information is important in order to make a decision with confidence. To decode a VIN, first find the VIN, typically found on the inside of the driver’s door jamb and windshield, and enter it into the free decoder tool on the Carproof website. Any other information available from data providers will be shown here.

Recall check

One in six Canadian vehicles has an unrepaired safety recall. This will tell you if your car is one of them.

It will take some extra time to get these reports and there may be extra costs involved, on what may be several different vehicles you are looking at. Take the time, and absorb the costs. It may feel like a waste if you don’t end up buying the vehicle, but it’s much better to be safe than sorry. The long term peace of mind it will offer will make worth the while.

Catch Driving with Jens on CHON FM Thursdays at 8:15. If you have any questions or comments you can reach out to Jens Nielsen at, or on Facebook or Twitter: @drivingwithjens.

Driving With Jens