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Keith Griffin

Beware Flood-Damaged Used Cars with Clean Titles

By February 24, 2013

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There's a little reported on phenomenon about Hurricane Sandy damaged used cars - a lot of them may never have salvage titles. There will be plenty of flood-damaged used cars with clean titles in the marketplace.

That means you're not going to be able to rely just on a paper trail to protect yourself when buying a used car from states like New York and New Jersey.

That conclusion came to me after writing the article on the revised Hurricane Sandy numbers for damaged used cars. New York and New Jersey have 210,000 of the 250,000 used cars that were damaged during the storm, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which reported that number only reflects used cars that have been reported for insurance claims.

And that's when it hit me. In reality, only insurance companies issue salvage titles and private owners rarely do because it's tougher to sell a used car with a salvage title. So, private owners, at least those of an unscrupulous bent, are going to do cosmetic work on their damaged used cars and put them on the market.

The sad part is it's all going to be done with a clean title. Yep, there are going to be probably thousands of used cars in the market with clean titles that should really be salvaged vehicles.

It just reinforces my belief that no used car should be purchased without a pre-purchase inspection.

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