Hurricane sufferers victimized
by Lauren Fix, The Car Coach
Hurricane sufferers of Katrina and Rita who have already been displaced from their homes and lives, are now being further victimized by swindlers who are looking to take advantage of them, especially women, by an illegal car selling scam that involves flood damaged cars.
The scam involves selling flood damaged cars, especially to a large percentage to women, that are supposed to be crushed or shredded due to unrepairable water, ecoli and mold damage. These scam artists are looking to take these individuals limited funds and in return provide them flood-damaged vehicles that are an unsafe to drive.
These vehicles have damaged components like seat belts, airbags and the electrical systems. The flood damaged automobile also pose a health hazard, because they contain ecoli, mold and corrosion which is unhealthy to breathe and touch. Children are at the most risk from ecoli.
Do these cars really get into the marketplace? Oh yes they do! State Farm Insurance recently settled a $40 million lawsuit when it was disclosed that the insurer had dumped almost 30,000 totaled cars at auction without bothering to have them retitled as salvage vehicles. Many of the vehicles will be shredded into little metallic pieces. However, other will end in auctions or sent to other states before it gets to your state. This is called washing titles. And then there are the cars owners that didnt have insurance coverage, they will sell off their vehicles to attempt to recoup the losses.
The best thing would be for all the states to adopt a uniform title form that would spell out in plain language if the car was flood-damaged, fire-damaged, junked, scraped or whatever.
Why isnt the government doing anything to stop this problem? We need to take a stand and protect consumers from these death traps. Sadly, these scams affect a large percentage of women, because women make 85% of the buying decisions.
As a female automotive expert, Im dedicated to helping women to be empowered. To empower all drivers here are some answers to your questions from recent appearances on CNN, CNN Headline News and numerous TV, radio and print articles.
The Car Coach Answers Viewers Questions About Flood Cars
What should I do if my car has been under water?
At what point is the car not repairable?
Again, do not start the car and owners should find an ASE certified technician to determine further damage. Vehicles that have been completely under water should be destroyed. If the car has been sitting in salt water consider it a total loss. Saltwater destroys paint, rubber, electrical wiring, metal and all upholstery.
What if I dont have my insurance papers?
How do insurance companies typically determine my cars value?
What if I disagree with my insurance company's value?
Try getting price quotes on replacement cars from at least three dealers within a reasonable driving distance or on the internet and submit those to your insurance company. Also, ask the insurance company to provide you with a list of dealers within a specific distance who can sell you a comparable vehicle.
If you still aren't satisfied, you can step up the process and go to mediation or arbitration, which means presenting your case to a neutral party for assistance in reaching a compromise or, in arbitration, a binding decision.
Where should I start my search for another vehicle?
How can I avoid buying a car with previous flood or accident damage?
Other tips to avoid buying flooded cars:
When buying your next car, here are a few tips to keep in mind.