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12/15/2011 - Nearly 11,800 claims processed for cars that experienced flooding

Experts say many used cars may have sustained flood damage during Hurricane Irene.

Several months after Hurricane Irene drenched the East Coast and knocked out power for millions of homeowners, a new study indicates the weather event also impacted thousands of motorists.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, after analyzing auto insurance claims filed between Maine and North Carolina, nearly 11,800 were related to flooding in the month of August alone. By comparison, less than 1,000 flood claims for vehicles were processed in the same 31-day period in 2010.

New Jersey generated the highest number of flood claims, totaling 4,121, the report revealed, followed by New York and North Carolina.

NICB cautions individuals buying a used car about how to avoid being sold a vehicle that's been damaged by flooding. For instance, the organization recommends only buying from a reputable car dealer, inspecting the interior of the vehicle for any signs of water damage and asking about the vehicle's history, as sellers are required to disclose any flood damage. Buyers should also look for signs of rusting where water normally doesn't reach a vehicle.

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