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Flood damaged vehicles are risky purchases

Posted On Fri, September 23, 2011

A recent report from the Insurance Information Institute noted that consumers should be careful when purchasing a used vehicle, as it might be flood damaged.

Some vehicle sellers do not inform consumers about flood damage to the car, but there are ways carbuyers can tell if there was significant water damage. Widespread rust on metal parts, as well as mildew can be giveaways, the report noted. Faded upholstery, as well as dirt in places that it wouldn't normally be also can signal a flood issue.

"Unscrupulous salvage operators and dealers often try to conceal the fact that the vehicles they are selling have been damaged by a natural disaster," said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the III. "[I]t is against the law to sell a water-damaged car without letting the buyer know that the car had been damaged by a flood."

The previous owner would have likely been covered for flood damage under a comprehensive auto insurance plan, but if the person was not insured properly, it may reveal why they were trying to offload the car, to an unknowing consumer.

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