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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
Nov 27, 2012 8:34AM
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.
Nov 27, 2012 8:52AM
WE need a law that prohibits cars being sold across state lines after a storm etc like this. Unscrupulous wholesale dealers clean these cars up and ship them all over the country. AND THATS WRONG.  The US government could stop this practice in a New York minute.
Nov 27, 2012 8:44AM
You still need to run a check , As all they need to do is title it in a different state to make it look clean
Nov 27, 2012 8:43AM
Just don't let them be suckered into replacing their ride with one that will not last more than 3 few years. Green cars are not cost effective in the long run. These are people who are trying to get back to work, re-establish a home and get their lives back to something close to normal. I pray for them every day.
Nov 27, 2012 9:16AM

why didnt these cars get moved to higher ground . five days notice wasnt enough . they move intire dealerships in a few hours to different locations just for cars sales all the time .


Nov 27, 2012 9:10AM
The locals in Detroit are paying big money for titles ,That they will use to clean-up flood cars by changing V.I.N tags and odometers of vehicles that purchased at local Dealer auctions . These Lovely fellows are mostly ( Arabic )  in heritage and could be easily be spotted by any federal law enforcement as there bids for the titles of the cars are far more then the market value of cars with rust and damage. There cohorts are purchasing flood cars in the coastal areas that match the title or vice versa . They should destroy the cars rather allow them to creep into the general population . I see it every time in the local wholesale dealer actions when there is a glut of cheap flood cars !  Common sense is not very common in our pitiful world ? Huh
Nov 27, 2012 9:13AM

Being a preowned car dealer 60 miles north of NYC since 1979 I have always had a certain aversion to buying cars from that area. Conversely with all the available vehicle history resources to research cars possibly affected the next best assurance is the expertise of a knowledgeable service technician. There are no certainties but this eliminates guess work on all our parts for purchaser and seller. Lastly any reputable dealer will include a written warranty or service contract to back up your purchase. Try avoiding purchasing a vehicle without one.

Nov 27, 2012 9:31AM
Wonder how many were purposely driven down there??

Nov 27, 2012 9:10AM
Yes they have already made here to Washington state in Spokane! Beware of cars from the east coast!!!
Nov 27, 2012 8:40AM
just the cars are almost $6B at $25K ea.
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