Protecting yourself from unknowingly buying a flooded used car

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF)-“You don’t want to settle you want to be able to get something that you’re ultimately going to be able to use and serve your needs but if you’re really fixated on a specific make model color and trim in today’s market you’re going to probably have to pay a lot of money when you finally find it,” said Executive analyst Karl Brauer.

In the past, vehicles from hurricane impacted areas have been sold to unsuspecting consumers without proper disclosure. By law, these vehicles’ titles should indicate that they were “flooded,” “salvaged,” or “totaled.”

“An insurance claim made by the owner which is then filed with the insurance company and filed with kind of a larger vehicle tracker system and the car is either totaled if it can’t be repaired at a reasonable cost or it’s repaired but it is also flagged as a flood damaged car from that point forward,” said Brauer.

However, that doesn’t always happen. He says a shortage of used cars for sale has created a demand for inventory and even flood damaged vehicles may be acquired for resale.

“There’s no denying that when demand is high for vehicles the potential for people to be selling for damaged cars and passing them off as non-for damaged and try to make a quick buck is higher,” said Brauer.

He said when buying a used car make sure you check the title for words like salvaged or flooded. He also says to check the car’s history.

“Looking at the carpet, the underside of the vehicle weird signs of rust or musty smell on the other side of the coin if it smells really good and has brand new carpet they could be an effort to hide the fact that it had flood damage,” said Brauer.

He also highly recommends have the car inspected by an independent mechanic.

“Think of it this way if you spent $100 to 200 getting a pre-purchase inspection and it down to $25,000 car that you were about to buy should be at that value that was money well spent.=,” said Brauer.

Categories: Business