Carson City, NV - November 27, 2017
The Division of Insurance is
warning Nevada consumers to be on the lookout for flood-damaged vehicles when
considering purchasing a car in Nevada. Even though it has been several
months since Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastated Texas and Florida, there
were thousands of vehicles that were damaged in the two storms. Some of these
vehicles may be making their way to Nevada.
“Nevada consumers need to be
extremely careful and do their research before purchasing a used vehicle to
make sure they are not buying a flood-damaged car,” said Insurance Commissioner
Barbara Richardson. “Not only will they be buying an unsafe vehicle prone to
failure, but they may also not be able to get that vehicle insured.”
Insurance companies usually
declare flood-damaged vehicles as total losses and hand them to auction houses
or salvage yards. While it is completely legal to resell a total-loss vehicle
as long as the damage is disclosed, when a consumer tries to obtain insurance
for it, some insurance companies will often insure that damaged vehicle at
significantly higher rates, if at all.
If a flood-damaged vehicle was
not adequately insured by the previous owner, that vehicle may also not be
properly titled. In other cases, unscrupulous buyers will buy damaged vehicles
and seek to obtain a clean title by transferring the title without following
the procedure required by law to acquire either a salvage title or a nonrepairable
vehicle certificate. Those vehicles may be cleaned up and sold without any
disclosure of the flood damage. Not knowing you purchased a flood-damaged
vehicle could have serious implications, especially if you are involved in a
collision and the vehicle is deemed a total-loss. This means the insurance
company will pay for what the vehicle was worth at the time of the incident and
not what the consumer paid for it.
That is why it is imperative for
consumers to be vigilant and know what to look for before purchasing a vehicle.
Luckily, there are numerous resources that can help to determine if a car
has been damaged by a flood. According to the Bureau of Justice, consumers can
visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), which is
designed to prevent concealment of flood damage and other vehicle histories at https://www.vehiclehistory.gov/nmvtis_vehiclehistory.html.
Consumers may also visit Carfax, Auto Check or VinAudit for a comprehensive vehicle
Consumers should also consider
the following tips:
- Shop at a reputable
dealership or have a reputable mechanic inspect any vehicle purchased via
a private-party sale.
- Inspect the vehicle for
a musty or moldy smell.
- Check out the headlights
and tail lights. If they appear foggy, they may have moisture trapped
- Look under the hood for
any rusty cables or other elements.
About the Nevada Division of
The State of Nevada Division of
Insurance, a Division of the Nevada Department of Business and Industry,
protects the rights of Nevada consumers and regulates Nevada’s $14 billion
insurance industry. The Division of Insurance has offices in Carson City and
Las Vegas. In 2016, the Division investigated more than 3,200 consumer
complaints and recovered nearly $5 million on behalf of consumers. For more
information about the Division of Insurance, visit DOI.NV.GOV or download the
Division’s smartphone app NDOI Connect today in the Apple App Store and Google
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