DES PLAINES, IL DECEMBER 5, 2022 — Homeowners in Florida and Georgia are not the only ones who could fall victim to post-disaster fraud following Hurricane Ian. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the insurance industry leading association dedicated to predicting, preventing, and prosecuting insurance crime, is warning consumers across the United States to stay vigilant when purchasing a used vehicle in the coming weeks and months.

In the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Ian, dishonest automobile dealers and other individuals buy flooded vehicles, dry and clean them, and sell them to unsuspecting buyers as used vehicles. Many of these vehicles appear on the market in the weeks and months following a natural disaster, and not just in the states where the disaster occurred. NICB encourages purchasers across the U.S. to do their homework, including using NICB’s VINCheck®, a free tool that shows if a vehicle has had an insurance theft claim and has not been recovered, or has ever been reported as a salvage vehicle by participating NICB member insurance companies.

Avoid Buying a Flood Damaged Vehicle

“NICB assists with the identification of vehicles and works with insurance carriers to identify those to be declared a total loss,” said NICB President and CEO David Glawe. “Buyers must be particularly careful in these coming months, as thousands of flood damaged vehicles may appear for sale in their areas.”

If you are shopping for a used vehicle, NICB recommends checking a few items that could indicate whether the vehicle is a flood recovery vehicle or not. Some steps to follow are:

  • Buy from a reputable car dealer.
  • Check the vehicle’s history, noting that it can take time for data related to such storms to catch up to these history reports.
  • Check the car thoroughly looking for water stains, mildew, sand and silt under the carpets, headliner, and behind the dashboard.
  • Get a pre-purchase inspection completed by a reputable service technician to determine if any telltale signs of water damage are present.
  • Look under the hood for signs of oxidation. Pull back the rubber “boots” around electrical and mechanical connections for these indicators. Ferrous (containing iron) materials will show signs of rust; copper will show a green patina; aluminum and alloys will have a white powder and pitting.

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, call the NICB at 1-800-TEL-NICB. For additional information, visit NICB’s website, www.NICB.org.

Media Contact

If you have a question, want further information on the NICB, or to discuss insurance fraud or vehicle crime, please contact:

Chris Stroisch
Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications
847.450.9814
cstroisch@nicb.org

Or, if you are a reporter and have a request or question, please complete the Media Request Form.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $582 billion in insurance premiums in 2021, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 96% of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.