Thousands of cars are damaged every time a storm hits, and Hurricane Sandy was no exception. Due to the excessive amount of rain that caused flooding, many cars were submerged in water, which makes them flood damaged vehicles. These flood damaged vehicles are often considered totaled or demolished. If this is the case, insurance companies may pay up to the value of the vehicle. In some cases flood damaged vehicles can be repaired; however, repairing flood damaged vehicles often requires a considerable amount of repairs, which can be very costly.
For your own safety, here are some warning signs to look for when buying a vehicle (provided by Progressive Auto Insurance):
- Ask to see the title and look for a “Salvage” or “Flood” stamp
- Ask for the car’s history to see if it came from a state that recently experienced flooding
- Smell the vehicle for mildew
- Check the upholstery and carpeting to see if they fit poorly or are discolored–this may indicate that they have been replaced or undergone heavy cleaning
- Check the gauges to see that all of them are working properly
- Check your oil indicator to see if the level of liquid is too high–this may indicate water in the engine
- Check for mud or rust in the glove compartment and trunk, and under the seats, dashboard, and carpet.
- Run a CARFAX report on the vehicle to check if there is any indication of flood damage.
This information is for consumers and dealers alike. Because a car loses value when it has been damaged, it is common for the damage to be covered up when selling the car. In some cases a dealer might not know they have purchased a flood damaged car and may say a car has not had any flood damage because that is true to the best of their knowledge. If you take proper precautions when buying a car it is less likely that you will be fooled. Be aware that even if a car is new it may have had flood damage sitting in a dealers’ lot. Just prepare yourself with the knowledge you need to spot a flood damaged vehicle and you will be fine.
The vehicles to be concerned about due to Hurricane Sandy are those coming from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, where Sandy hit the hardest. Do what is necessary to be well informed, because you don’t have to worry about just getting a bad deal. Flooded cars from Sandy can have corrosion and electrical problems, which may cause your vehicle to malfunction. It is important to know what type of water, whether fresh or salt, caused the flood damage. Sandy flood damage is from salt water, which is more corrosive, and may lead to more serious damage. In some cases the Sandy flood damage could lead to an accident, putting your life and the lives of those you care about in danger.
*Before buying any used car, get a mechanic’s inspection, a CARFAX Vehicle History Report, and take a test drive to help ensure a great purchase.