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Texas Department of Insurance
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May 5, 2021

Used car prices are up, so shop smart

Arrow showing location of a car's vehicle identification number. It is on the driver's side of the dashboard, close to the windshield.

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Cars are the latest shortage of the pandemic. A lack of computer chips is slowing production of new cars and trucks, and it’s increasing demand for used vehicles. It’s a great time to sell, but expect to pay more if you’re buying. Average trade-in values hit a record $17,080 in March, up 20% from a year ago, according to the car research website Edmunds. 

While you may have to pay more, make sure you’re not getting scammed. Before you buy a used car, check the vehicle identification number (VIN). It will confirm the vehicle’s model year and let you know if it’s been reported stolen or salvaged.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free VIN check and has links to other services.

For more information about VINs and the information you can get with them, watch our interview with Tully Lehman, an expert at the National Insurance Crime Bureau.