How to protect yourself when replacing your storm-damaged car

Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Many people lost their cars in the flooding caused by Hurricane Ian and are searching for new ones to get around.

When getting a replacement car, you don’t want to get stuck with another one that has flood damage. Not all flood damage is visible.

According to Carfax, Texas and Florida lead the country regarding the number of flood-damaged cars on the road.

Keep your eyes and nose peeled on your search for your new ride.

Some cars were completely immobile underwater after the storm. Carfax estimates flooding brought by Hurricane Ian potentially damaged as many as 358,000 cars in Florida and the Carolinas.

That doesn’t mean you won’t see them on car lots later, seemingly ready to hit the road again.

When you’re ready to buy another car, run a vehicle history report. You can do that for free on Carfax, Experian, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau with the car’s VIN number.

You should also test drive the car before you buy. On that drive, pay attention to the electrical systems. That includes blinkers, any lights, and the AC or heater.

Check the dashboard and carpets in the car, the trunk, and the spare tire area for dampness, rust, dirt, sand, or a moldy smell.

You should also look for stains, rust, and corrosion in and around the car.

Lastly, be suspicious if the price or deal sounds too good to be true, especially compared to other similar makes and models.

If you had comprehensive car coverage and you had hurricane damage, you’re covered and should file a claim with your insurance as soon as possible.

If you didn’t, you might be eligible for FEMA assistance to get you back on the road.

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