What’s the Hidden Value in the Last Six Digits of a VIN?
For decades, the vehicle identification number (VIN) has been used by insurers and collision repair shops to identify specific vehicle information as the first step to estimating damage. While a vehicle’s VIN is a string of 17 unique characters, only the first 11 have been traditionally used to help identify vehicle information. Details such as country of production, manufacturer, year, and model could all be extracted from these first 11 characters. Yet more specific information such as trim and options that are not easily identifiable but have a large impact on valuation accuracy were not provided. This was because no VIN decoder on the market could make sense of the most valuable characters of the VIN: the last six digits.
What the Last Six Digits of a VIN Really Tells Us
The last six digits of a VIN reveal the vehicle’s regular production options (RPO) and is also commonly referred to as its serial number. While many car enthusiasts have come to conclude that these last six digits represent the sequential production number (which is true), this is only a general view on the importance of these last six digits. What many are not aware of is that this number also identifies the factory options fitted onto the vehicle during production.
What are RPOs? They are options such as trim, traction control, blind spot sensors, rear-view cameras, and parallel-park assist. But such options are just the beginning. A quick build online of a 2016 BMW 328 xDrive Touring provides a selection of 2 engine types, 2 lines, 3 trims, 4 packages, and over 50 exterior, interior, safety, and technology options to choose from. This is where the RPO becomes important. These last six digits identify all of the factory fitted options, as provided by the manufacturer—imagine it as the vehicle’s ‘DNA’.
The Last Six Digits of a VIN: What It Means to Insurers
With the complexity of today’s vehicles, many options (especially electronic ones) are near impossible to visually identify during an appraisal inspection. And with over 4500 vehicle year-make-models introduced into the Canadian market in the past decade, the speed of production is creating an increase in the knowledge gap. Couple this with many experienced appraisers nearing retirement, there is an influx of less experienced appraisers left to face a growing list of vehicles.
Appraisers cannot estimate what they cannot see or what they do not know exist. Depending only on the first 11 digits of the VIN and a visual inspection, claims adjusters are manually selecting options from a manufacturer original equipment guide (OEG) list. Clearly, without decoding the last six digits of a VIN, inaccuracies and mistakes can be expected, leading to supplemental claims and a longer cycle time. These inefficiencies create a high number of valuation discrepancies, ultimately putting the customer experience at risk.
Body Shops Benefit From the Last Six Digits of a VIN Too
Similar to insurers, body shop owners can find value from the last six digits of the VIN. In many collision claims, body shops often require supplements as they are performing repairs due to the appraiser having missed damaged items on the original inspection. If the last six digits of the VIN were decoded at the onset, collision repair shops would have immediate and accurate identification of the vehicle parts that require repair. This would lead to fewer supplements and enable the body shop to experience a higher throughput—and more revenue. By helping to ensure accurate claims, the body shop can be confident to deliver the vehicle within the original expected timeframe.
Recap: The Top Six Reasons You Want to Decode the Last Six Digits of the VIN
Whether you are an insurer or body shop, there are amazing benefits to decoding the last six digits of the VIN. Having access to what these last six digits represent can provide you with an unmatched advantage because it allows every factory fitted option on the loss vehicle to be identified with one click.
The Top Six Reasons to Know the Last Six:
· It will reduce appraiser and mechanic inspection time
· It will make options capture more accurate
· It will increase valuations accuracy
· It will make total loss values more accurate
· It will reduce cycle time and loss of use expenditures
· It will enhance customer experience
The ROI of decoding the last six digits of the VIN is clear. Audatex has the only product in Canada that helps to do just that. AudaVIN gets policyholders back into their cars quickly, with the most accurate one-time estimates that significantly reduce lapse time for both insurers and body shop owners.
Interested in AudaVIN?
See our product brochure and call 1-844-AUDATEX to book a demo.