Car Buying: Detecting Flood Damage

One of the most obvious things about insurance is that you never actually want to use it. You don’t insure your house in expectation that it will burn down. You’d much rather go your entire life paying those premiums and nothing happen at all. So when you’re looking for a car, you want to make sure that you get one you can trust. After hurricane season passes through, a flood of damaged cars inundate the market. They might look good and seem to run well, but many of these cars have been damaged in a flood, which makes them ticking time bombs.

In cases when these cars were taken over by insurance agencies, they would be called unsalvageable and given to junk yards, as well as be issued new titles that stated they were flood-damaged and should not be purchased. But for car owners who did not have insurance, that doesn’t happen. They would just sell the car. So how do you protect yourself from buying a flood damaged car?

  • Watch for scammers. The owner of a damaged car might sell it to a dealer, who will then clean it up and make it look good and new on the outside while living a mess on the inside. Sometimes they also move the cars to other states to avoid having to comply with laws that require a special title be issued for flood damaged cars.
  • How to know: Mildew and debris in places like under the carpet or around the engine–places where you normally wouldn’t find that; rust on metal parts; faded upholstery and off-colored seatbelts and doors; dampness on the carpet and moist paneling; moldy smell, or a smell of Lysol to cover up that smell.
  • Get a mechanic to look at it. Check the transmission, anti-lock brake system, airbags, and electronic system.
  • Order a vehicle history report. All you’ll need is the VIN number on the car. Just go to the website.

Those are just a few ways to protect yourself against buying a damaged car. To protect your own car from possible loss in this season, get comprehensive insurance coverage. Comprehensive coverage protects against damage or loss from fires and floods and other natural disasters.


Fashun Guadarrama.

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."