The weather has been strange this summer making us feel like we live in a tropical place. A place where there are sudden violent storm that never really cool off anything but remind us they were here by the amount of damage they cause. Flood damage to our homes and cars and trucks. Most of it is unsalvageable and should be destroyed. But they are not being destroyed. The unsafe cars and trucks are being sold at auctions putting people’s lives in danger. Why doesn’t the government follow up on insurance companies that allow these vehicles to remain on the streets after they settle claims with their clients?
There are car and truck dealers out there selling lethal lies about their inventory of vehicles. Flood cars are being sold in used car lots all across America. When super storm Sandy hit the northeast, nearly 300 people lost their lives and thousands more lost their homes and then there were the cars and trucks nearly completely submerged by salt water. An estimated quarter million vehicles submerged for days by corrosive salt water. They even filled the runways with damaged cars and trucks at an abandoned airport on Long Island. Each vehicle a potential highway hazard because flood cars literally rot from the inside out.
It may take days, weeks or months down the road, parts will fail. The airport runways are vacant again but where did the cars go? A lot has to do with looks. If the interior or paint job still looks good, they will be sold somewhere again according to CARFAX, a used car tracking service. They estimate that over 100,000 Hurricane Sandy vehicles ended up back on the road and have been transported for sale across America by now. So you report your car damaged to your insurance company. They declared it a total loss and give you a say $30,000 check for your damages. Where does your “total Loss” vehicle go while you are buying a new car with your check?
State laws require that it is the Insurers responsibility to brand the vehicle Title, forever marking it as a salvage vehicle and knocking serious money off its value. CARFAX will report that it is in a flood but that alone does not prevent Used Car salesmen to try to resell the vehicles. That $30,000 total loss vehicle will be sold somewhere for $20,000 cash to someone who did not do his homework. This should not be allowed. During the re-sale the customer must sign a document saying that they are aware that it is a salvage vehicle but with the 20 or more papers that must be signed during a transaction, even this document can flow through hands going unnoticed.
Tools will be rusted shut, power seats won’t work, air bags will be corroded, salt from the salt water will cake up on any wiring and corrode it. The $20,000 vehicle is a death trap waiting to happen. The State Motor Vehicle Administration and the Attorney General’s Office must be notified and they will close down the Used Car Dealerships selling flood cars and trucks. When the dealership owner pleads guilty, they will face three years in prison. The salesman making the sale of a flood loss sound like everything is ok can face three charges including conspiracy to commit theft by deception.
If they find a Motor Vehicle Agency employee creating false clean Titles for flood cars, they will face up to a year in jail. Why can’t people just do the right thing for each other?