Press Release - 10-12-2022

DMV news

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 



In the wake of Hurricane Ian and recent severe weather across the country, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is warning consumers to take precautions against unintentionally purchasing vehicles damaged by flooding in the weeks and months ahead.

The DMV’s website includes a link to the National Insurance Crime Bureau database. People looking to buy a used car can enter the Vehicle Identification Number and learn if the vehicle was ever flooded or stolen.

“Just because a used car looks fine does not mean it is free of substantial damage,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “We know that a car is among the biggest purchases someone can make, and we want to be sure people know the steps to take to protect themselves from buying a flood-damaged vehicle.”

Flood damage can impact the engine or transmission, corrode wiring, harm the airbag or impair the vehicle’s computers.

Some sellers will try to hide the damage by taking the vehicle from a flooded area and getting a new title in a different state before trying to sell it. Consumers should be aware when purchasing used vehicles with titles issued in October of this year or during other hurricane periods that they could be flood vehicles, even if the title is not from a state affected by the storm.

DMV checks the history of every vehicle in New York State and will alert consumers if they have purchased a vehicle with a history of flood damage.

The DMV website includes information on the National Insurance Crime Bureau's VINCheck, a free service to help consumers determine if a vehicle has been reported as salvaged or stolen. When planning to purchase a used vehicle, consumers can search up to five VINs per day. The NICB also offers a free brochure on its website with tips on how to avoid post-disaster fraud.

DMV's website also offers tips on buying vehicles, including the protections available when purchasing a used vehicle through a private sale or from an auto dealer.

A person or dealer who sells a rebuilt salvage vehicle must provide the new owner a disclosure statement regardless of the vehicle's age. The disclosure statement is located on the back of New York State title certificates.

A seller who fails to disclose the salvage history of a vehicle can pay a maximum fine of $2,000 and any additional penalties described in the New York State Penal Law. 

If a salvage vehicle is rebuilt for use on roadways, the DMV must examine it before issuing a new title certificate or registration. The required examination is part of the NY State Auto Theft Prevention Program. The program includes vehicles that were issued a New York State Salvage Certificate and rebuilt salvage vehicles from most other states.

A New York State Title Certificate issued after the date of May 18, 1999, for a rebuilt salvage vehicle displays the brand, 'REBUILT SALVAGE'. Some title certificates issued before May 19, 1999, also show this brand.

More information about the Salvage Vehicle Examination Program can be found on DMV’s website.

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