How to Spot a Used Automobile with Flood Damage?

Comprehensive component of a car insurance policy covers flood and once a vehicle gets heavily damaged because of it there is high chance it will be written off. Modern automobiles have so many expensive electrical and electronic parts that will make them costly to repair and put back on the road. Therefore, it will be cheaper to pay the open market value of it, especially if it is several years old.

Then, those cars may be sold as salvage for parts. Some of them may find their way back to the market. If the seller is honest with the vehicle’s past and offer it at a reasonable price buyers may purchase them. In such cases, it necessary to find out what repairs have been done and have an inspection done as well. Certain automobiles can be worth fixing and re-registering. If the body shop can get the parts cheaper and keep labor costs reasonable they can make profits from salvaged autos.

The real problem arise when they try to conceal the fact that it has had serious damaged and written off. The way they do it is to take the automobile to another state and register a new title. This process is called title washing. If you are an honest person you may not even think that these sorts of activities are possible. But, you must be on your guard when you are buying a used auto.

Usually the giveaway is the price they are trying to sell it. If a vehicle appears to be bargain it may have had issues in the past. The seller wants to flog it off quickly and keep doing the same with others in stock. It is understandable that you want to snatch the bargain before someone else does. You may have more time than you think to have a check on its history.

There are companies like Carfax that provide information on flood-damaged automobiles and do a comprehensive history check at reasonable costs. Also the National Insurance Crime Bureau offers free VINCheck as well. These reports are good starting points to sniff out any issues.

But physical inspection can reveal a lot about pasts of vehicles. Even they wash the title and make it look great they cannot hide everything. If you look at the obvious signs you should be able to pick up on several tell tails. Here are some of them to find if the auto has been repaired and title washed following flood.

  1. Look underneath the vehicle for any drilling signs to drain the water after the damage
  2. Look underneath the carpets and seats for watermarks. They may have concealed the obvious areas and ignored the parts that are out of the view.
  3. Look for any stains on the upholstery and any mismatches. They are unlikely to spend tons of money replacing them.
  4. Check for any odd mold and mildew smells, wind down windows and see around the seals for any stickiness.
  5. A good car should have a steady engine noise. Any labored sounds, ticks and clicks can be giveaway.
  6. Take them to a mechanic for an inspection. The seller should have no objections to it especially when you are paying good money. Any indications that they are not happy with this decision or making excuses you should be extra careful. Generally, they would pretend that another buyer is coming to see it with cash in the envelope to make you hurry up.

Always rushing into decisions can be costly. Don’t be rushed into making a mistake because it is only start of your problems. It would be hard to insure a salvaged auto. And even if you find a company it will be expensive and they may not offer full coverage.