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Beware the purchase of flood damaged vehicles, says Amity Insurance

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QUINCY, MA ISSUED DECEMBER 26, 2012…Following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of cars have likely been damaged after sitting in flood waters; in many cases these vehicles have been totaled by insurance companies and then sold at auction. Law-abiding auction attendees usually buy the vehicles to use for spare parts, but there are some unscrupulous individuals who purchase damaged cars to resell in a dishonest manner, according to Amity Insurance Agency, Inc., the region's leading full service agency.

Identifying a car that has been damaged by flood waters can be tricky as people who sell these vehicles usually pose at honest small-time dealers. Keep in mind that a reputable dealer would not purchase or re-sell flood damaged vehicles. Dishonest individuals will clean up as much flood damaged evidence as possible; however there are ways to spot cars that may carry serious damage.

  • Pull a corner of the vehicle's interior carpet up to check for mold or a bad smell. Vehicle carpet has plastic on the back, so there should not be any moisture under it from a recent cleaning.
  • Look at the bolts holding the seats down. If they appear to have been loosened recently or are rusty, this could be a sign of flood damage.
  • Check the vehicle's glove box and trunk for silt residue or a waterline.
  • Look in the headlights and turn signal lights. Silt and mud may collect under these lights and both are expensive to repair.
  • Check the suspension and chassis for signs of corrosion; while there is typically some wear, it should only be appropriate for the vehicle's condition and age.

Insurers want consumers to buy vehicles that do not have flood damage, so they encourage people to purchase a history report for any considered vehicle. It is also wise to check the vehicle's VIN number with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, a database that collects information about flood branded, junked and salvaged vehicles.

To learn more about this database or how to protect yourself from buying a car with flood damage, discuss the topic with an agent.

About Amity Insurance

Amity Insurance Agency, Inc. is a full-service agency dedicated to meeting your business, professional and personal insurance needs.

Amity Insurance is licensed in most states. The agency maintains headquarters at 500 Victory Road, North Quincy 02171. For information on products or services, please visit amityinsurance.com or call (800) 940-4010 to schedule a free analysis.