Auto Insurance Industry Helps Consumers Avoid Hurricane Sandy Cars

hurricane sandy

Hurricane Sandy went down in history as the second costliest hurricane in the United States, as well as the deadliest and most destructive of the 2012 hurricane season. Among the devastation were hundreds of thousands of flooded vehicles.

While many vehicles impacted by floods are not deemed drivable, some auto dealers have been known to put those vehicles onto car lots for sale. To stop consumers from inadvertently purchasing lemons, the auto insurance industry is fighting this common form of auto fraud.

Condition of Hurricane Sandy-Affected Vehicles

Hurricane Sandy undoubtedly had a devastating impact on many residents living in the United States, Caribbean and Canada in October 2012. It is estimated that 286 people were killed by the storm and thousands more were temporarily or permanently displaced.

Among the many additional issues to arise from the storm included the loss of vehicles.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates that Hurricane Sandy generated about 250,250 claims for damaged vehicles with most of the damage being caused by flooding.

The states seeing the highest number of damaged vehicles were New York (150,000 claims), New Jersey (60,000 claims) and Connecticut (8,000).

While one would think that damaged vehicles would automatically be shipped to a junkyard, experts say some are actually auctioned off to buyers who work for auto dealers. The vehicles are then cleaned up and placed back on dealership lots for unknowing customers to purchase.

Auto Insurance Industry Helps Consumers Spot Flood-Damaged Vehicles

The NICB is working to ensure that consumers don’t mistakenly purchase a flood-damaged vehicle when shopping for a used vehicle this year.

To assist consumers in spotting flooded vehicles, the bureau says it has set up a free service known as VINCheck. The service maintains a list of flooded vehicles that may have been reconditioned and fraudulently put up for sale as undamaged.

In addition to using this free service, consumers can look for other clues that indicate a car has incurred flood damage. Some include searching for water or condensation in the headlights or taillights, checking for water in the spare tire, looking for mud in the seat belt tracks and testing for a musty odor from moldy carpeting or padding.

By taking these steps, consumers decrease the chance of inadvertently purchasing a vehicle that could cause significant problems down the line.

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