If you live in a flood-prone area, you have to worry about your car ending up underwater. If you live anywhere else, you have to worry about somebody else’s car ending up underwater — at least you do if you buy one of those flooded cars and don’t know it.
It happens more often than you think.
Thanks to the recent hurricanes hitting the nation
An estimated 571,000 vehicles have been destroyed by water due to the two storms, says Chris Basso, media relations manager for Carfax, a company that tracks vehicle histories.
“About half of those vehicles will end up on the road again,” says Basso. In many cases, he says, no one bothers to warn potential buyers of the cars’ liquid history, or buyers simply purchase these vehicles unaware.
And even if you’re confident you can spot a car that’s been flooded
Consider this statistic: Annually, about 2.5 million cars are damaged so badly in accidents they are declared a total loss. One million of them are repaired and put back on the road
Fortunately, checking out a car before you buy it just got easier, thanks to a collaborative effort between FEMA and Carfax. Armed with your prospective car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), you can find out if a salvage or flood title was ever issued for that car, and whether it was last registered in a FEMA-declared disaster area. Simply enter your car’s 17-digit VIN into the Carfax ‘flood damage’ search field.
So if you’re in the market for a used car and prefer one that never spent any time underwater, there are some steps you can take to minimize the damage when the flood recedes.
|— Updated: Oct. 27, 2005|