So far New York residents have reported insurance claims for an estimated 150,000 (out of a total of 250,500 in all 15 states effected) vehicles damaged by superstorm Sandy, though the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Moines, IA. However, the group warns that the number may rise even more.
“Cars involved could have sustained minor scratches from flying debris, hit by falling trees, or been under water for days and rendered total loses, which means that consumers need to b even more vigilant about inadvertently purchasing a vehicle with non-apparent storm damage that could lead to costly repair,” they stated.
Saltwater can play havoc with vehicles’ computer-controlled fuel and braking systems, as well as power steering, power lock doors and windows, heaters and air-conditioning, etc.
While cars declared total losses by insurers are reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and generally sold to junkyards where they are stripped for useable part, some slip through and are salvaged for resale.
Those that are sold are required to have “salvage” or “flood” stamped on their titles according to New York and certain other states’ laws. That still doesn’t mean that some don’t end up in the used car market with illegal titles that don’t show any damage, noted the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Consumers can check out the history of vehicles they are looking to purchase by contacting the DMV or going online to www.carfax.com