With the recent hurricanes you would think that these flooded vehicles would end up in the junkyard, but that is not always the case. Many will be cleaned up and resold, often without the buyer realizing they are buying a salvaged car or truck.
“It’s going to happen, that’s inevitable,” said Frank Scafidi with the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “Look at all those vehicles floating around. There are people who will try to take advantage of the situation.”
The resale of repaired flooded cars is not illegal, as long as the flood damage is disclosed on the title to buyers. After Hurricane Katrina, thousands of rebuilt flood vehicles were sold to unsuspecting buyers with titles that had been washed or reissued in a different state.
“We didn’t see this on a huge scale until Hurricane Katrina,” said Scafidi. “Since then the public awareness of the problem is greater, but with thousands of flooded vehicles it’s hard to prevent this from happening.” You may have some recourse but it will all depend on whether the seller is a licensed dealer or a private owner. R&M advice: any time you buy a used car, you should ALWAYS have a qualified mechanic inspect the car first. You may pay up to several hundred dollars, but it could be worth every cent.