6:47 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Buyers Beware of Hurricane Sandy-Damaged Cars

When buying a used car, the phrase 'buyer beware' is always good advice. But after natural disasters, proceeding with caution is especially important.  

 After Hurricane Sandy, we marveled at photos of submerged cars, and vehicles that wound up in bizarre situations due to the flood waters. Earlier this month, the Weather Channel shared a photo of some 15-thousand flood-ravaged vehicles lining the runways of Calverton Executive Airpark on Long Island. From there, they would be sold for scrap, parts or even auctioned to new owners. Angela Vogel Daley, AAA Carolinas spokesperson, hasn't heard of a big influx of the damaged cars into North Carolina, but she says buyers should be on the lookout for them. "Consumers need to be aware that flooded cars from Hurricane Sandy can make their way into the Carolinas," she says. "Many people who live in the area who were affected by Hurricane Sandy are probably looking for signs of flooded cars, but here in the Carolinas it's not top of mind, so it's definitely important to remember that it is a possibility." If you're shopping for a used vehicle, Daley recommends using a reputable dealer, and having your prospective car inspected - in fact she recommends that for any auto purchase, anyway. And she says be on the lookout for clues that the car was flooded.  "You'll see signs of flooding especially in engine compartments and under the seats, where the more visible areas will be covered up." Daley recommends getting a CarFax report, but notes that it will only show repairs that were reported, so if somebody did the repairs themselves, it won't show up on a CarFax report. She says your insurance agent can also run a claims loss underwriting exchange, or CLUE report, which will reveal if a carrier has paid for a loss of any kind, including flood damage, in the past.