Body Shop Watches for Flood Vehicles

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An Arizona professional group wants the state’s drivers keeping eyes open for used vehicles hitting the market after long stays in a body shop garage.

The Arizona Insurance Council turned its attention in early 2013 to unexpected fallout from superstorm Sandy: vehicles hitting the state’s resale market after being totaled out by insurance adjusters due to the east-coast storm’s flood damage.

The nonprofit property-casualty insurance industry group examined the storm’s insurance claim ramifications. Per the National Insurance Crime Bureau, various insurance companies counted around 250,000 vehicles reported as sustaining damage during the early-2013 storm. That total of damaged vehicles doesn’t take into account uninsured vehicles or vehicles with unreported damage.

That leaves windows for a totaled vehicle or flood-damaged one with unreported damage to go up for sale with its previous stint in a body shop flying under the radar. If you perhaps can’t have a licensed body shop professional examine a used vehicle firsthand, make a few key potential damage indicators your priority when giving your new ride a once-over:

 

  • DOOR SPEAKERS

Water damage on these should make a potential buyer suspicious of a possibly flood-damaged vehicle. Keep in mind, that signs of water damage may not be immediately apparent before an untrained eye. However, a body shop technician will probably know the telltale signs.

  • SCREWS

Under ordinary circumstances, water doesn’t typically reach screws in a vehicle console or other interior nooks and crannies. If you spot rusted screws and can’t ascertain a common-sense reason they would’ve been so exposed to water given their placement, then it’s possible that unusual circumstances – such as a flood – let moisture gain its foothold.

  • UPHOLSTERY

Did you spot water stains, sand, silt, mold or mildew beneath floor mats, under the carpet, beneath the headliner cloth, or in other places where substantial water wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – usually accumulate? Check also behind the dashboard. There are just some sections of a car where that much moisture shouldn’t reasonably build up.

A reputable car dealer should have thoroughly vetted a vehicle’s history before it takes its place on the lot. Perform some due diligence beforehand on any dealer with whom you may do business. Additionally, it’s always a sound idea to let a certified mechanic or body shop expert thoroughly examine the car before you buy.

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