Buyer Beware: Thousands of Flood Damaged Cars Expected to Flood Used Car Market
AAA Offers Tips and Urges Consumers to Take Precautionary Measures
DAYTON, OH (September 14, 2017)—Up to one million vehicles were submerged, soiled and spoiled by Hurricane Harvey’s catastrophic floodwaters – which is twice the number of vehicles destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy combined - and, of course, Irma then flooded vehicles in Florida as well.
Whenever a major hurricane triggers flooding, thousands of vehicles which have been ‘totaled’ by auto insurers, slip out of the impacted area and, in many instances, end up on the used car market, where buyers may be unaware the vehicle has a “salvage title,” or the title has been “washed.”
AAA is warning buyers to have any vehicle closely inspected by an AAA-approved or reputable auto mechanic and to closely inspect the vehicle’s paper title before you buy.
“There is no doubt that the used car market will be flooded with some of these vehicles” says AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “Buyers with an untrained eye could purchase a flood-damaged car that seems to run great but they’ll pay a steep price for the damage done soon thereafter”.
AAA: Signs of water damage may include:
“Flooded cars are not always totaled, and 50 percent are eventually resold. Always purchase a vehicle history report or obtain a free VIN report for any vehicle suspected of having a watery past,” continued Antrican.
The trouble is most unsuspecting car buyers don’t know the difference between a ‘salvage title’ and a ‘flood title,’ warns the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC describes the difference this way: 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.
“Let the buyer beware” is the age-old watchword for consumers to abide by when they find deals too good to be true on used or new vehicles for months to come. Consumers should also be wary of websites that allow car buyers to bid on salvage flood-damaged vehicles.
Thousands of hurricane-ravaged vehicles are being totaled by insurance companies and will end up at the scrap yard. Untold numbers of flood-damaged vehicles will turn up on the auction block.
When Harvey hit, a third of car owners in the Houston area did not have comprehensive auto insurance, says Consumer Reports. Those who didn’t, have little hope of recovering the loss of their flooded vehicles.
AAA offers these tips for used car buyers:
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.
Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation
On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.
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This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA
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