A Warning About Buying a Used Car Post Hurricane Harvey

posted by Bryan Quitania -

After Hurricane Harvey I warned you about con artists knocking on your door and offering to fix your roof or put up a new fence. They are bandits. I also warned you about buying used cars & trucks because they may have been caught in the flood.Now, you can watch the video...

It's not just private sales, either. Entire vehicle dealerships have been flooded, and they may not be fully insured. They're in a position to have quick repairs done, then ship their inventory to other dealers for resale, thereby avoiding having to take the loss.

Get an in-depth report on any Texas-sourced vehicle from Carfax or similar sources, and look for any insurance payout linked to its VIN. You might be buying a soggy lemon.

To my complete lack of surprise, the National Insurance Crime Bureau has just issued the following video clip and press release.

Unfortunately, owners of even more vehicles no longer carry comprehensive coverage that covers flood damage and those vehicles are not part of the system. The owner should request a new branded title, but that may not happen. In fact, many flooded vehicles that weren’t insured will be cleaned up and sold with no indication of any damage.

Some unscrupulous buyers will also buy a branded vehicle, clean it up, and take it to another state where they will obtain a “clean” title and sell it with no warning that it has been flooded.

Anyone looking to buy a vehicle in the weeks and months ahead should be on the lookout for hidden flood damage. Here are some tips.

1. Check vehicle carpeting for water damage

2. Check for rust on screws or other metallic items

3. Inspect upholstery and seat belts for water stains

4. Remove spare tire and inspect area for water damage

5. Check the engine compartment for mud or indicators of submergence

6. Check under the dashboard for mud or moisture

7. Inspect headlights and taillights for signs of water

8. Check the operation of electrical components

9. Check for mold or a musty odor

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