Beware of Buying Flood-Damaged Vehicles

Found a great deal on a car?  The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) warns Canadians to avoid unknowingly purchasing storm-damaged vehicles.  After flooding disasters, such as those that occurred in Alberta and Ontario in 2013,  there are attempts by fraudsters to clean up and resell flood-damaged vehicles.

Canadians should be cautious when a deal seems too good to be true and should report any suspicious vehicles to the IBC through the tips reporting program at 1-877-IBC-TIPS.

To protect consumers, IBC, and its member insurance companies have compiled a database of vehicles reported and branded as non-repairable after flooding across southern Alberta and the Greater Toronto Area.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any vehicle that has been subjected to flooding to the level of the bottom of the dash must be branded as non-repairable and can no longer be operated on any Canadian road. Every Canadian jurisdiction follows these same guidelines.

Click on this free VIN Verify service to check whether a vehicle has been reported as flood damaged and non-repairable by participating IBC member insurance companies.  (A Vehicle Identification Number, commonly abbreviated to VIN, is a unique code to identify motor vehicles.  A vehicle’s VIN can typically be found on the dashboard and door of a motor vehicle.)

VIN VERIFY – click here

NOTE: You will need a VIN to perform a search.

More tips

Here are some other tips to help you avoid getting stuck with a flood car:

  • Select a reputable dealer.
  • Inspect the vehicle for water stains, mildew, sand or silt under the carpets, floor mats and headliner cloth and behind the dashboard.
  • Inspect the interior upholstery and door panels for fading.
  • Check for rust on screws on the console or in other areas that water doesn’t normally reach.
  • Check for mud or grit in the spare tire compartment and alternator crevices, behind wiring harnesses and around the small recesses of starter motors, power steering pumps and relays.
  • Check for moisture, mildew or grime inside the seatbelt retractors.
  • Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Aluminum and alloys will have a white powder and pitting.
  • Check door speakers, as they are often damaged in floods.
  • Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle before buying.
  • Do an ownership history search of the vehicle.
  • Trust your instincts. If a deal seems too good to be true, walk away.

Source:  Insurance Bureau of Canada

Would you like a quote or more information about car insurance in British Columbia?  Please contact Habitat Insurance Agencies at 604-438-5241 or email.  One of our professional brokers will be happy to assist you.  Plus, we offer free delivery of ICBC insurance in the Greater Vancouver area.

Disclaimer:  This article is designed to provide information for personal use only.  Please consult a professional insurance broker for professional advice. Habitat Insurance Agencies Ltd is not responsible for any legal disputes of this matter.