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More than 212,000 flooded cars sold

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

More than 212,000 flood-damaged cars, many from Superstorm Sandy, are on the roads all over the country, according to new data from Carfax.

Carfax assessed Department of Motor Vehicle records across the U.S. and found that almost two-thirds of the flooded cars are registered in 10 states: Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. However, Carfax said its research shows that scam artists who do minimal cleanup on the cars to hide the flood damage but don't repair them are known for moving them to other parts the country, especially in areas far from where the flooding occurred.

Some of these cars are likely to have been paid out as a total loss on car insurance claims, only to be grabbed by con artists and resold.

Carfax said flood-damaged cars from Superstorm Sandy are particularly troublesome because saltwater is especially corrosive. Flood-damaged cars often appear safe and reliable on the outside but are literally rotting from the inside out from corrosion that began when the car sat in water. Used-car shoppers can help protect themselves by reading "4 tips to avoid buying a water-damaged car."

Are you taking precautions to avoid buying a flood-damaged car?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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January 08, 2014 at 6:33 pm

The Russians are the best at it

December 03, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Greg, you need to get real. There are very well know ways to "process" a title (going from state to state is one) to remove any notations of "SALVAGE" from their titles.

December 03, 2013 at 1:30 pm

They are sold to "scam artist" by scam artists. Why aren't the insurance companies, after taking possession of these totaled cars, required to ensure they are destroyed?

And if CarFax knows which cars they are, why aren't they alerting the current owners?

November 24, 2013 at 12:49 am

Sold to Scam artists? The cars that are "A total loss" will have the titles branded as such. This is just a scare tactic put on by Car-Fax. I have purchased salvage cars for the past 15 years, and everyone has had "SALVAGE" stamped on the title in Large Red letters.

Get real!

Andrew Gross
August 30, 2013 at 11:10 am

You get what you pay for