Vehicle Title's Tom Rubadue: Title insurance complements vehicle history reports
The coverage is similar to the insurance that protects real estate titles.
Dealers say buyers are increasingly interested in the coverage. They cite the extensive publicity given cars and trucks damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The policy is called TitleGuard Vehicle Title Insurance. It includes a vehicle history report at the time of sale.
The insurance pays the vehicle owner as much as $50,000 in lost value if the report fails to expose a title brand.
Such branding is designed to identify salvage, rebuilt, flooded or lemon vehicles.
Brett Simpson, sales manager of Ken Nelson Nissan in Sterling, Ill., says he sees title coverage "as nothing but a plus."
Vehicle Title Insurance Agency LLC runs the TitleGuard program. The company is a joint venture of First American Corp., a title insurer in Santa Ana, Calif., and Experian Automotive, a vehicle data service in Schaumburg, Ill.
Vehicle Title would not say what it charges dealerships for the title insurance or how many dealerships are customers.
But the number is increasing, says Tom Rubadue, president of Vehicle Title.
The company sells the policy to consumers on its Web site for $49.95. The coverage is in effect as long as the buyer owns the vehicle.
"This is a strong addition to the vehicle history report," Rubadue says.
Vehicle Title previously promoted the coverage mainly to automakers and providers of extended service plans, Rubadue says.
Nissan and Ferrari offer the coverage on their certified used vehicles.
Warrantech Corp., a service plan provider in Bedford, Texas, offers the coverage to its dealer customers. The title insurance is part of a service plan for used vehicles with 60,000 to 150,000 miles.
That plan accounts for about 15 percent of Warrantech's volume of used-vehicle service plans, says Chris Ford, president of the company's automotive division.
Carfax Inc., a vehicle history company in Fairfax, Va., offers to buy back vehicles if its reports fail to disclose a branded title that shows serious damage.
You may e-mail Donna Harris at [email protected]