Flood-damaged vehicles are some of the highest-risk cars you can buy. Most of the time, they are not worth investing in. Some car dealerships may not be upfront about these vehicles. They may not note that the vehicle had water damage at all. State laws differ on the requirements of what the dealership must tell you. However, in all cases, there are steps you can take to learn more about the vehicle you plan to buy before you do so. Here is what you need to do first.
Inspect The Car
Water in a vehicle is often highly damaging. Even if the car sounds and runs fine, there may be damage you cannot see. This may not be evident until the vehicle gets a few miles on it. Nevertheless, it is still a risk from the get-go. Furthermore, your auto insurance may not cover a vehicle with flood damage. Speak to your Prestige Insurance Group agent before you buy any car to ensure this is the case.
Then, inspect the vehicle. Look for signs of any type of water damage. If the vehicle was in a coastal area, you may find sand under the floorboards or lodged under the seat. You may also see signs of salt damage. In some areas, salt rings or stains form on the upholstery.
This may not be a sure sign, though. For example, in areas where road crews salt the roads, just carrying salt into the vehicle on your shoes may cause some damage. However, such minor damage usually does not make the vehicle unusable.
Get a Carfax® Report
Always insist on a Carfax® or other vehicle report for any vehicle you plan to buy. The details it provides can help you to understand exactly what you are buying. Most often, this document will include info about flooding. However, it can only gather this information if someone reported it, such as a previous owner. Therefore, remember that holes might still exist.
Get a Mechanic to Inspect It
Before making the decision to buy, talk to a mechanic. Your mechanic can look for signs of water damage in the vehicle.
Your auto insurance coverage for vehicles with flood damage may have some limitations. Be sure to speak to your Prestige Insurance Group agent about these risks before you make your purchase.