How To Avoid Buying A Flood-Damaged Car And Why This Is So Important

28 January 2016
 Categories: Automotive, Articles

When you shop for a used car to buy, you should take your time to examine any vehicle you are considering buying. You should also test drive the car before you agree to buy it, and you may want to take the right steps to find out if the car had ever had flood damage occur to it. While you might get a good deal on a car that had flood damage, you should understand what you are getting into if you buy a car like this.

What Is Flood Damage?

Flood damage is something that can happen to anything that gets trapped in water. For a vehicle, flood damage typically refers to a car that was submersed in deep water. To be flooded, the car does not have to be completely underwater, but the water level must reach up to the engine and inside the interior of the vehicle.

When a car is exposed to a flood, the owner of the car can collect money from his or her auto insurance company. Comprehensive insurance is designed to cover natural perils, like flooding, and this type of coverage will usually cover the entire value of the car if the flooding causes the car to be totaled. If the damage was minor, the car might not be considered totaled.

If the damage is severe, the insurance company must report this car as totaled, and this will cause the title of the car to change to a salvage title. A salvage title basically means an insurance company decided that the cost to fix the vehicle was more than the vehicle was worth.  

How Can You Find Out If A Car Has A Salvage Title?

As you shop for vehicles, you should find out if a car has a salvage title before buying it, and there are two main ways to do this:

  1. Ask the owner or dealer to see the title – If the person selling the car has the title, you can ask to see it. If the car was reported as totaled due to a flood or anything else, the title will state that it is a salvage title.
  2. View a VIN history report – The second method is to view a VIN history report. This report will not only show you information about the title, but it will also tell you how many owners the car had, and it will include details of any accidents reported to the vehicle. You can request a free VIN report online, and all you need for this is the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle you are evaluating.

Finding out details about the history of a vehicle is an important step to take when purchasing any used vehicle.

Why Is It Bad To Buy A Flood-Damaged Car?

If you can avoid buying a flood-damaged car, it will be better for you. Flood-damaged vehicles can have a number of different issues, even if they appear to be good running cars. When a car is in deep water, the water can destroy the engine and the interior of the vehicle.

Water inside the engine of a car can cause corrosion and can destroy electrical components inside the car and engine. Fixing all these problems will often require replacing the car's entire electrical system, and it could require replacing the engine. At the minimum, a flood-damaged car will require replacing all the fluids and spark plugs.

In addition, water inside the car can cause a variety of different problems. This includes staining to the carpet, seats, and seat belts. Water in a car can also lead to mold growth and mildew-like smells, which are hard to get rid of.

Flood-damaged vehicles usually end up with major problems, and these are problems you can avoid by spending some time researching the history of a car. As you begin shopping for a car, make sure you take your time as you shop around, and don't forget to request a free VIN history report for any vehicle you may be interested in buying. Click here for additional info on the value of looking up the VIN history of a car.