Be on the lookout for used cars damaged by flood in Hurricane Sandy. This is the warning from state officials hare. The secretary of state’s office is screening title applications from states affected by the hurricane, and unless the owner and insurance company submit a Hurricane Disclosure Statement, they’ll get a flood title. But flood-damaged cars will slip through undetected, says Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
“Consumers have to be –like they were in the aftermath of Katrina [in 2005] – very concerned about purchasing a used car that may have been damaged in Hurricane Sandy, so I think unfortunately, you’re going to have folks that are gonna try to conceal that type of damage, and then sell these cars,” she said. If flood damage is concealed, that’s fraud, and legal action can be taken against the perpetrators, but Madigan says that’s a hassle for the customer who is better off not buying a flood-damaged car in the first place. Her suggestion: Have a mechanic inspect the car, and get a Car Fax.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, as many as 250,000 vehicles were affected by Hurricane Sandy floodwaters. This compares to 325,000 that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. The National Insurance Crime Bureau maintains a database of vehicles known to have sustained flood damage: