Buying a flood-damaged car could leave you high and dry

Recent storms and flooding plaguing the Midwest and Southeast could impact car buyers across the country. Vehicles damaged by floods in those area can be cleaned up and taken out of state for sale. You might not know a vehicle is damaged until you take a closer look or have a mechanic check it out.

Here’s what to do:

  • Look for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the carpet, floor mats, and dashboard, and in the wheel well where the spare is stored. Look for fogging inside the headlights and taillights.
  • Do a smell test. A heavy aroma of cleaners and disinfectants is a sign that someone's trying to mask a mold or odor problem.
  • Get a vehicle history report. Check a trusted database service. There are reliable services that charge a small fee. The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) free database includes flood damage and other information.
  • Understand the difference between a “salvage title” and a “flood title.” A “salvage title” means the car was declared a total loss by an insurance company because of a serious accident or some other problems. A “flood title” means the car has damage from sitting in water deep enough to fill the engine compartment. The title status is part of a vehicle history report.
  • Have your mechanic inspect the car’s mechanical and electrical components, and systems that contain fluids, for water contamination.
  • Report fraud. If you suspect a dealer is knowingly selling a storm-damaged car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency, or the NICB at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422). You’ll help someone else avoid a rip-off.

If you have other questions about buying a car, these resources can help.

Tagged with: car, disaster, scam, weather
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Wow! I wished I had you available for me years ago. Thanks for the information.

excellent information.

Thanks.

This is valuable information. Thank you for making us aware of what to look and what to do in such cases.

Getting a history vehicle report is crucial before buying a car. But all tips were greatly mentioned from above article. Thanks for reminding us.

There needs to be only one place where car dealers and People can check before they buy any used or New Car to see if its been in flooding conditions. Use of the Vin No# should be given to every state/National DMV for record status of being in flooding situation. $25,000 fine for first violation, 2nd, Jail time 5 yrs, plus fine. 3rd time 10yrs plus fine.

Thank you for this important tip, Iam searching for a used car now.

Nice to read your post!! Thank you for providing most valuable information's. Keep sharing with us

I feel like I bought a lemon,I just bought a used / new car 2015 @ now I have problems I dont know what to do??

You can get a vehicle history report to check on the car. Check a trusted database service. There are reliable services that charge a small fee. The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) free database includes flood damage and other information.

If you suspect a dealer is knowingly selling a storm-damaged car or a salvaged vehicle as a good-condition used car, contact your auto insurance company, local law enforcement agency, or the NICB at (800) TEL-NICB (835-6422).

You can go to the federal website usa.gov and search the words "lemon law" plus your state name. That should show who to contact in your state government about your state law.

Thank you,it is good material to read this post increases my knowledge. What a wonderful piece of information. Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.

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