Companies that offer VIN lookup for previous ownership include CARFAX and Experian. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System Administration also provides past purchase history via VIN lookup.
As of 2015, CARFAX offers Vehicle History Reports for purchase online at CARFAX.com. The report gives a full history of previous owners of the vehicle, and includes options for a single report or unlimited reports. Reports are valid for 60 days and cost between approximately $40 and $55.
Experian offers a Vehicle History Report that also requires purchase via its AutoCheck program. Prices range from approximately $20 for a single report to $45 for three months of unlimited reports. The NMVTIS is a U.S. Government administrative branch under the Department of Justice and operated by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The NMVTIS works with particular companies to provide a Vehicle History Report, including Mobiletrac LLC, which offers a Vehicle History Report starting at roughly $7 via its instaVin program.
Insurance carriers, salvage yards, junkyards and auto recyclers by law must regularly report to NMVTIS. Therefore, vehicle reports from NMVTIS offer the most accurate information. Searching for a VIN number is generally free but provides limiting information.
Free reports of vehicle history are also available, although these reports often offer sparse information. Paying for reports of vehicle history provides optimal results in obtaining information on previous ownership.