The Mississippi Insurance Department and the Mississippi Collision Repair Association have teamed up to protect residents from buying cars damaged by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Following the two storms, officials say thousands of flood-damaged vehicles have made their way from Texas, Louisiana and Florida into Mississippi to be sold to unsuspecting buyers. Many of the cars have been sold to unscrupulous dealers or dismantlers who will clean them up, retitle them and sell them for a quick profit.
According to Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, the biggest threat is from cars that were not insured for flood damage.
“While those insured cars may show up in NICB’s VINCheck database, the ones that didn’t have insurance are likely to be sold by the original owner for a few hundred dollars and then cleaned up and retitled by an unscrupulous dealer who will resell it for a few thousand dollars with no indication that the vehicle suffered any flood damage,” Chaney said. “It’s truly a ‘buyer beware’ situation.”
In an effort to stop these kinds of sales, the Mississippi Insurance Department and repair shops that are members of the state’s Collision Repair Association are working together to offer free inspections for potential buyers.
“If you’re thinking about buying a used car, let one of our members check the car to verify that it has not been in a flood,” said John Mosley of Clinton Body Shop and the Mississippi Collision Repair Association. “In addition to checking the hidden areas of the car for signs of damage, we can also run a scan of the car’s computer system to look for any codes that might indicate it had been exposed to water.”
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