Consumer Protection Tips: Be Wary of Flood-Damaged Cars

Car scams are on the rise, and consumers should be wary of used car deals that sound too good to be true. The old saying of “buyers beware” doubly holds true when it comes to the surge of flood-damaged junk cars being sold in New Jersey (NJ).

Caution against Flood-Damaged Car Scams

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) cautions consumers against junk cars from hurricane- or flood-affected areas. While it isn’t illegal to buy or sell flood-damaged junk cars in NJ, it’s against the law to conceal from buyers that flooding damaged the car.

Dealers and salvage operators often buy flood-damaged cars cheap, clean them, and then send them to different parts of the country for reselling. Unfortunately, some of these sellers don’t tell the buyers about the cars’ flood history.

Protection against Flood-Damaged Car Scams

If you want to protect yourself from flood-damaged car frauds, follow these pointers:

Do a VINCheck

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) suggests learning all you can about the car’s history. This is one of the best ways to guard against buying flood-damaged junk cars. With the NICB’s VINCheck, learn about the history of the car by using its vehicle identification number (VIN).

Get a Car Report

NJ is one of the top 10 states heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy. As such, you should be wary of sweet-sounding deals when buying in the state. Get a car history report to know if the car received a flood damage title from the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).

Buy from Reputable Dealers

Avoid potential grief by buying from a reputable used car dealer. Be wary of deals that are too good to be true, as they often end up as a fraud.

Do an Inspection

If you’re buying from a private seller or an unknown dealer, bring along a certified mechanic to inspect the car for flood or other damages.

With flood-damaged car fraud becoming a growing problem, you need to be cautious when buying a car in NJ. Avoid becoming another victim by taking the necessary precautionary steps.

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Candy Visser is an SEO specialist in Washington. She's also a blog writer and product analyst.