According to Experian Automotive, there are more than 9 million vehicles registered in the areas where Superstorm Sandy inflicted the most damage.
The number of cars that were damaged by the superstorm is still unknown but as of now, reports are indicating that Sandy did not claim as many vehicles as past hurricanes like Katrina, Rita and Irene.
Experian was able to show that more than 1.6 million cars and trucks across the United States were labeled as damaged by accidents or severe weather including hurricanes, flooding and tornados, during the first six months of 2012. The group says that of those vehicles, more than 425,000 lost their damage designation and were retitled as clean in separate states.
"In the wake of any natural disaster, consumers need to be acutely aware that there will be damaged vehicles out there that will be cleaned up and sold to unsuspecting buyers," said Scott Waldron, president of Experian Automotive. "With such a large number of title-washed vehicles on the road today, consumers need to arm themselves with as much information as possible when shopping for a used vehicle. An AutoCheck vehicle history report includes past title brands and designations of prior damage, providing used vehicle shoppers with the peace of mind that the vehicle they are buying is reliable and, most importantly, safe."
AutoCheck vehicle history provides a list of damage to vehicles, even if the damage is from a storm and car is retitled in a different state. In addition, AutoCheck reports include a designation showing if a vehicle was registered in a county identified as a federal disaster area.
Carfax issued a similar report as Experian and urged consumers to review resources available on flood-damaged vehicles before purchasing a car.
"Carfax already receives information about flood damaged vehicles from every state impacted by Hurricane Sandy," said Larry Gamache, Carfax communications director. "Information about flood damage is reported to Carfax directly from every state DMV, as well as insurance companies, law enforcement organizations, repair facilities, and many other sources."
Forbes also reminded potential car buyers to visit inspectmyride.com. The website is owned by a reputable company in the automotive industry and will give a thorough inspection of a car, identifying problems that need to be fixed. Auto owners are reminded to head to a local auto body shop to have fluids, brakes and the car's engine fixed, as repairs are cheaper than at a dealership.