100,000 insured cars were damaged by the recent flooding. Not only is this devastating, but also scary. Although Louisiana enacted legislation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to combat this growing fraud, he truth is that flooded cars are often cleaned, restored and resold to unsuspecting consumers with no indication of problems. The NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) does their best to monitor these issues, but with over 30 inches of flood waters dumped on Louisiana in less than 48 hours, this is a tall task to say the least. Often times, buying a used car does not afford you many legal protections. Many people mistakenly believe that the “lemon law” applies to used cars. It does not. Most used cars are sold as is and are handled legally as “buyer beware.”
If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the following are a few things to look out for:
- Water stains, dirt, sand, powder under the carpet, any drying agents, new floor mats;
- Any type of moisture inside of light fixtures;
- Any strong odors – whether it be mold or mildew or cleaning agents;
- Insist on a vehicle history report through a company like Carfax. Vehicles that are turned over to insurance carriers as loss due to flood are issued a new title where the vehicle’s flood history is clearly disclosed;
- If in doubt, have a trusted mechanic take a look at the vehicle before you buy it. An expert mechanic will certainly be able to tell the signs of a previously flooded car.
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