Skip to Content

BUYER BEWARE: Flooded cars could end up for sale

IOWA (KWWL) – As Davenport floods, remember that those flood-damaged cars can end up back on the road and it is something that doesn’t have to be disclosed to a buyer if the car is sold.

These cars, once they dry out, look just like any other car. This makes it easy to fool an unsuspecting buyer.

Mark Yarwood at Yarwood Insurance in Waterloo said sales like this happen more often than they should.

“You may be buying a car you think is clear, that has a clean title and it doesn’t. Cars that are underwater can be taken out of state to another location, given a clean title and then sold,” he said.

He said identifying the flooded cars can be nearly impossible as well.

“The car looks the same,” Yarwood said, “Once it dries out, it doesn’t look any different and it may not even drive differently until you find out the electrical parts are corroded down the road.”

There’s also a good chance problems with the car won’t show up for a long time too, leading you to think you have a perfect vehicle when you really have a lemon.

“It doesn’t rear it’s ugly head for, could be a few weeks, could be a few months,” he said, “We will hear about it down the road. We’ve had a few people over the years that they’ve had a car and six months later, they’ve had a lot of issues with it. Come to find out, this one had been under water for quite a while.”

Yarwood said that unfortunately cases of flooded vehicles being sold as completely fine happens after every flood event.

He said there is very little regulation in terms of what happens when a car’s title crosses state lines. Without any way to monitor it, cars can simply be given a clean title and sold.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free VIN check that can give you some of a car’s history, but not always as much as a paid service. That free check can be found here.

Collin Dorsey

Weekend Anchor

Skip to content