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10/27/2011 - Flood-damaged cars may be on the rise


Rust on a vehicle may be a sign of flood damage.

With many East Coast residents sustaining severe flood damage to their automobiles in the wake of Hurricane Irene, some disreputable salvage yard operators may try to re-sell these cars to unsuspecting buyers, the Insurance Information Institute asserts.

"Unscrupulous salvage operators and dealers often try to conceal the fact that the vehicles they are selling have been damaged by a natural disaster," said Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the III.

She added that while it is not illegal to sell a water-damaged car, buyers must be informed a vehicle has been damaged by flooding prior to the sale taking place.

Salvatore recommends that used car buyers only purchase cars from well-known dealers. The car in question should also be checked out by a licensed auto mechanic, as they may be able to more readily spot signs of flood damage. Rust on screws, debris and silt in unusual places and mildew are some of the more common tell-tale signs, the III says.

Generally, vehicles that are damaged due to flooding are covered under the comprehensive portion of an auto insurance policy. To learn more, contact your independent insurance agent today. 

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