Press Release - 10-03-2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2019
CONSUMER ALERT: DMV REMINDS NEW YORKERS TO CHECK FOR FLOOD DAMAGE BEFORE BUYING USED VEHICLES
In the wake of Tropical Storm Imelda, Hurricane Dorian and other recent storms, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today warned used car buyers to beware of vehicles being sold that have storm damage. DMV’s website includes a link to the National Insurance Crime Bureau database where consumers can check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to ensure the vehicle has not been reported as damaged from flooding.
“At times of need following natural disasters, scam artists see an opportunity to profit off the hardship of others by preying on unsuspecting consumers,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Thousands of vehicles get damaged during extreme weather. Some of them are salvageable, but buyers should know what they are getting. I encourage car shoppers to do their homework and utilize the National Insurance Bureau’s VINCheck database before they buy.”
The National Insurance Crime Bureau's VINCheck is a free service to help consumers determine if a vehicle has been reported as salvaged or stolen. Consumers considering purchasing a used vehicle can search up to five VINs per day. The NICB also offers a free brochure with tips on how to avoid post-disaster fraud.
Vehicles that have been flooded can look fine but may be severely damaged underneath. Water from flooding can corrode wiring and damage the vehicle’s computers, airbags, the engine and transmission.
DMV cautioned that some sellers will take a vehicle from a flooded area, then get a new title in a different state before trying to sell it. Consumers should be aware when purchasing used vehicles with titles issued after periods of extreme weather, even if the title is not from the state(s) affected by the storm.
DMV's website offers tips on buying vehicles, including the protections available when purchasing a used vehicle through a private sale or from an auto dealer. Consumers can also find more information on the DMV’s website about the Salvage Vehicle Examination Program.