● Perform a careful examination of the used vehicle. For example, look for a well-defined line or watermark on the inside and outside of the car. Inspect the vehicle in difficult-to-clean areas, like the gaps between panels in the truck or SUV and under the hood, where water-borne materials and debris may still cling.
● Be wary of used cars with new or mismatched upholstery.
● Avoid purchasing cars through auctions because flooded vehicles are often cleaned and then sold at these events.
● Be wary of individuals who buy and sell cars as a sideline business. It is better to buy from a reputable dealer or an individual that has owned and actually driven the vehicle for an extended period of time.
● Review the auto title closely. Some jurisdictions require that totaled or flooded vehicles be designated as “flood damaged” on the title.
● Consider ordering an online vehicle history report (e.g., CARFAX), which provides unlimited vehicle history reports for $25.
● Before you buy the vehicle, be sure to have a trusted mechanic inspect it. Trained professionals know what to look for when it comes to previous flood damage on autos. They can also spot vehicles that were previously involved in major collisions.
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Copyright 2008, International Risk Management Institute, Inc.