There are more than 9 million vehicles registered in the areas where Hurricane Sandy inflicted damage, according to a recent report by Experian Automotive. Although initial data has not nailed down how many cars were damaged by the superstorm, Experian does not anticipate that Sandy laid claim to as many cars as recent hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Irene.
The report did show that during the first six months of 2012, more than 1.6 million cars and trucks across the United States were designated as damaged by accidents or severe weather like hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes. Experian said that of those vehicles, more than 425,000 lost their damage designation, were retitled, cleaned and sold in other 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."
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Experian urges those who are buying cars to get an AutoCheck vehicle history report providing a list of damages to the vehicle. Damage information is listed even if it was obtained in a storm like Sandy, and the car was retitled in a different state. AutoCheck reports also indicate if a vehicle was registered in a county identified as a federal disaster area.
Carfax also issued a report similar to Experian's, encouraging consumers to review Carfax vehicle history reports before purchasing a car.
Larry Gamache, Carfax communications director, said Carfax already received information about flood-damaged vehicles from every state hit by Hurricane Sandy, adding that information about flood damage is reported to Carfax directly from every state DMV, insurance companies, law enforcement organizations, repair facilities and other sources.