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230,000 vehicles damaged in Superstorm Sandy

The number of ruined cars climbs as the National Insurance Crime Bureau releases its revised figures based on insurance claims.

By Claire_Martin Nov 27, 2012 7:07AM
Damaged cars in NYC photo by Patrick McFallSuperstorm Sandy pummeled cars with rain, submerged them in seawater, smashed them with trees and debris -- and even managed to set a few on fire. All told, damage was inflicted on 230,000 vehicles, according to a new estimate by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a nonprofit anti-fraud group.

New Yorkers were hit hardest, with 130,000 cars incurring insurance claims, while New Jerseyites saw 60,000 vehicles get slammed. The remaining 40,000 cars were damaged in the District of Columbia and 13 other states, stretching from North Carolina to Maine.

While the NICB has tallied these figures, it hasn't yet assessed the financial fallout. "There is no determination as to the extent of damage to these vehicles," a recent NICB press release read. "They could have sustained minor paint scratches from flying debris, or have been under water for days and rendered total losses."

Since some of the damage is either subtle or easy to mask, some of the vehicles could be passed off as undamaged goods on dealer lots or in classified ads -- a common phenomenon after other major storms.

To help stem auto-salvage fraud, the NICB recommends first examining the car for evidence of fraud -- are there signs of rust, water damage, mildew? It also suggests taking a close look at the title and ownership papers.

The organization also encourages prospective car buyers to use its VinCheck service, which runs a car's vehicle identification number through its database of cars that have been reported as salvages. Eighty-eight percent of auto insurance companies in the nation are represented in this database, so if a vehicle has taken a dip in Hudson River water, chances are you'll know.

[Source: PR Newswire
52Comments
Nov 27, 2012 8:40AM
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just the cars are almost $6B at $25K ea.
Nov 27, 2012 8:34AM
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I would not buy a used car from NY, NJ for a long time it is not worth the chance. To many crooks that lie and cheat to make a buck.
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