Salvage vehicles are any motor vehicles which have been wrecked, destroyed or damaged to the extent that they are declared total losses by the insurance company or, in the event an insurance company is not involved in the settlement of the claim, sustains damage in an amount exceeding 75% of its actual retail cash value. There are some steps you may take to protect yourself from buying salvage vehicles that have extensive water damage.
Many people may not realize they have bought a flooded car until they take it to an insurance company. They then find out that their agent cannot even issue them an insurance rate quote because of the salvage title on the vehicle. Since used cars are usually sold “as is” there is very little recourse the buyer has at this point other than to try and get the vehicle road-worthy and go through a long inspection process with the state motor vehicle bureau that is required for a vehicle with a salvage title.
One of the easiest ways to protect you from buying such a car is to obtain a vehicle history report from a firm like CARFAX which tracks salvage vehicles and other types of damage. You may also do some detective work yourself on the vehicle if you have any doubts. Look inside the engine compartment and look for any water mark signs that might indicate high water levels. Next, look under carpeting to see if there is mold or any presence of water staining. Finally, inspect the electrical system thoroughly. This is where most water problems show up first.
So to protect yourself from purchasing a flooded vehicle you should be a diligent consumer. In case you have already been defrauded by car dealers, try to find an experienced dealer fraud attorney for help and advice.