Did you ever think you may be someone who unknowingly purchases a damaged flood vehicle?
Well, you may be shocked to find out many flood vehicles end up back in the marketplace for unsuspecting buyers to purchase. Carfax data shows a 9% increase with “446,836 flood-damaged cars on the roads in 2020, and that number is expected to rise…”.
In the aftermath of the recent hurricanes I suspect this number will substantially skyrocket in the coming months.
Some owners will collect the money for the flood damaged vehicles from the insurance companies, if they have comprehensive coverage which only a third of people carry, according to Consumer Reports. They will then sell the damaged vehicles to private buyers or salvage yards for cash. The vehicles will sometimes get refurbished and re-sold. Then they will end up back on the roads by a way of title washing, which conceals the truth about a vehicles damage with a replicated “clean” title.
Unscrupulous sellers will move the damaged vehicles with branded titles in and out of states with different laws on what and how a title is branded. This will in return produce a clean unbranded title ready for market.
Don’t think that because you buy from a big auto mall that you are safe from this happening. Due to the inconsistent laws from state to state, such as what determines a total loss and different branding methods for titles, it makes washing an easy process.
Sometimes even the vin (vehicle identification number) is altered and the vehicle is re-titled, with no reports that there was any flood damage to the vehicle.
This is why it is extremely important to do a history report on any vehicle you are planning to purchase. Also check for tell-tale signs that the vehicle has sustained water damage. Sometimes extensive repairs have been done to hide the water damage and an average buyer and mechanic can find it very difficult to detect.
With all the recent floods you can guarantee that more damaged vehicles will end up all over the country. Just because you live many miles away from these flooded states you are still susceptible to purchasing a flood vehicle. Steer clear of deals too good to be true, because they usually are. Have a reputable auto mechanic you trust do a pre-purchase inspection to protect you and your investment. It is best practice to always verify a vehicle’s previous locations and purchase history by following the report to determine where it came from, how many times it changed hands and in what time frame. These will be red flags for any savvy buyer and keep you from making a terrible financial mistake.
Check the Vin# On These Sites To See If A Vehicle Was Affected