Dear Fellow Floridian: Tips to Avoid Flood Vehicle Fraud

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Florida consumers looking to buy a used vehicle along the Eastern coast should have a professional thoroughly examine the vehicle for possible flood damage.

Florida consumers looking to buy a used vehicle along the Eastern coast should have a professional thoroughly examine the vehicle for possible flood damage.

Hurricane Irene caused flooding from Maine to North Carolina, and we all saw the pictures of flooded homes, streets and cars. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported that during last August alone, 11,789 flood vehicle-related claims were processed. This compares with 994 processed in August of 2010. New Jersey generated the most claims – 4,121 – followed by New York (2,809) and North Carolina (2,585).

Pompano Today magazine Tips To Avoid Vehicle Flood Fraud 2
Pompano Today magazine Tips To Avoid Vehicle Flood Fraud

While it is legal to sell a previously flooded vehicle when disclosure is made, unfortunately some dealers may not be honest and most buyers don’t know what to look for. A flood-damaged vehicle can eventually require costly repairs and potentially pose life-threatening risks.

If the car is priced well below retail, that could be an indicator the car has been flooded or damaged. The NICB recommends that consumers follow these tips to avoid getting ripped off by flood vehicle fraud:

  • Select a reputable car dealer.

  • Inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the carpets, floor mats, headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.

  • Check for recently shampooed carpet.

  • Inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading.

  • Check for rust on screws in the console or areas where water normally doesn’t reach.

  • Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment, alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses, around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.

  • Check inside the seatbelt retractors by pulling the seatbelt all the way out and inspect for moisture, mildew or grime.

  • Check door speakers as they will often be damaged due to flooding.

  • Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle prior to purchasing it.

  • Ask about the vehicle’s history. Ask whether it was in any accidents or floods.

  • Inspect the title and ownership papers for any potential salvage fraud.

  • Conduct a title search of the vehicle atcheap lasik eye surgery in delhi.

  • Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Pull back rubber boots around electrical and mechanical connections and look for these indicators: ferrous materials will show signs of rust; copper will show a green patina.

  • Aluminum and alloys will have a white powder coating and pitting.

  • Trust your instincts. If you do not like the answers or the deal sounds too good to be true, walk away!

    Pompano Today magazine Tips To Avoid Vehicle Flood Fraud 3
    Pompano Today magazine Tips To Avoid Vehicle Flood Fraud

 

If you suspect flood vehicle fraud, call the NICB Hotline at 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422). You may also text your information to TIP411, keyword “FRAUD” and remain anonymous if you so desire.

Thanks to Florida’s CFO, Jeff Atwater, for graciously sharing this information with Pompano Today.  The above information is reprinted with permission from the November 2011 edition of Dollars & Sense, a publication of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.  For more information, visit www.myfloridacfo.com.

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