Posts tagged ‘rate’

How Does Information Get On a CARFAX Report?

By Chad Upton | Editor

It’s not unusual for somebody to completely destroy their car and walk away unharmed.

This happens because newer cars are designed to crumple on impact, just like a bike helmet made from dense foam. The frame, hood and even the power train components absorb the energy from the impact in order to help protect the occupants. Of course, air bags may also deploy, which protect the occupants from hitting hard surfaces inside the vehicle.

When an insurance company declares a car as a “total loss” it means they are not going to pay to fix the car; although, they may sell the vehicle to somebody who plans to use it for spare parts. That person may then fix the car and try to sell it.

Unfortunately, a car that has been in a major accident may have hidden safety and reliability problems. So, if you’re buying a used car, you’ll want to know its history.

If you’ve ever looked at a used car, you’ve probably come across CARFAX.

It’s a service that provides historical information about used cars. For $35 or less, you can enter the VIN (vehicle identification number) of a used car and get a report about its ownership, accident history, mileage discrepancies, lemon status, flood damage, fleet use (taxi, police…etc) and many other things the seller may not want you to know.

I think this is a great idea, but I’ve always wondered how they get all the information.

hd car dvr

I was talking to a guy that runs an auto body shop, so I asked him. He said that he has done work on cars that were nearly totaled and the information did not show up on CARFAX; he had also done minor work that has shown up.

He said that CARFAX buys info from insurance companies and other sources. Some insurance companies have a non-disclosure agreement, where they will not disclose information about your car and its accidents while other insurance companies are willing to sell that information to make money.

I verified this information with CARFAX and it’s true. CARFAX gets information from thousands of sources and has over 6 billion records on file. They have deals with motor vehicle bureaus in every US State and Canadian Province, where they get information about mileage, flood damage, titles, lemon buybacks, accidents, thefts, liens and ownership transfers.

They also get information from auto auctions, car dealers, repair and service facilities, rental companies, state inspection stations, fire departments, law enforcement, car manufacturers, import/export companies and many others. That’s not to say that all companies of these types provide this information, but many do.

In some cases, they have mutually beneficial relationships. For example, car dealers may provide information about vehicles they service, but they may also request information about used cars that they want to take as trade-ins, buy at auctions or sell to their customers.

In any case, CARFAX warns that they may not always have all of the information, since there are many sources that they do not have access to. In 2005, they had 6,100 sources of information. Now, they have grown  to over 34,000 sources.

CARFAX does provide a couple of free services that may be worth while if you’re purchasing a used car. The Lemon Check is one of them. This free service, will tell you if the car you’re about to buy was ever declared a lemon, meaning it was serviced for the same problem 3 times and bought back from the owner by the manufacturer. You definitely want to avoid a lemon.

You can also perform a record check with CARFAX for free. This will tell you how many records they have on file for the VIN you entered. If you’re thinking about buying a CARFAX report, you should try this free option first to see if it’s worth buying the report about the car you’re interested in.

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Sources: CARFAX (Data Sources) MSN, MyVin

Photo: Ian Hampton (cc), jasonbolonski (cc)

August 23, 2010 at 5:00 am 70 comments

August is the Most Popular Month for Births

By Kaye Nemec

Worldwide, there are around 140 million births each year (down from 173 million in the late 1990s). That’s about 4 births every second.

The United States accounts for more than 4 million of those annual births.

Around the world, more babies are born during the month of August than any other month.  India and China have the most August newborns at 19.5% and 11.6% of babies born during August respectively. That’s 6 and 4 times more than we have in the United States during August; however, it still remains our highest birth month. In general, more babies arrive in late summer and early fall than any other time of year, but the most recent data puts August at the top of the list.

If you do the math and count nine months back from August, you’ll land at November. It is starting to get colder and the holiday season is in full swing. One school of thought believes these factors explain why August is such a popular birth month. Others believe it comes down to planning. There are people who try to plan their childbirth to coincide with summer vacations and lighter summer work schedules.

In contrast, the month of February has the lowest birth rate.

If you ask Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, he outlines in another best selling book, Outliers, why January and February may be the most beneficial month for your baby to be born.

Apparently, if you look at professional Hockey and Soccer players, 67% of them are born in January or February. He believes this is not a coincidence, because of age/date cutoffs, players born in these months get an extra 6 months experience compared to the other kids in the same age group, giving them a huge advantage. This advantage is most beneficial at an earlier age when the kids are streamed into more and less advanced leagues.

At a young age, 6 months development makes a big difference, giving the slightly older kids more coaching and more opportunity to develop higher level skills. This cycle repeats itself each year, raising the slightly older kids with years of better opportunities to improve.

More interesting facts:

  1. Wednesday has more births than any other day of the week.
  2. Sunday has the fewest births.
  3. With 21 babies born for every 1,000 people, Utah continues to have the highest birth rate in the United States.
  4. The State of Virginia has the lowest birth rate with 10 babies born for every 1,000 people.
  5. Congo has the highest birth rate of any country at 49.6 births per 1,000 people.
  6. Hong Kong and Macau are tied for the lowest birth rate at 7.6 / 1,000 people.

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Sources: DidYouKnow.org, BabyCenter.com, Business Week, Wikipedia (Birth Rates, World Population)

Photo: treyevan (cc)

August 19, 2010 at 5:00 am 6 comments


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