Weather Updates

White warns car buyers of vehicles damaged by hurricane

Updated: January 16, 2013 1:56AM

If you’re in the market for a used car, you should be careful to avoid any water-damaged vehicles that may have come from areas hit by Hurricane Sandy, Secretary of State Jesse White warns.

In an effort to protect Illinois consumers, White has instructed his office to closely monitor title applications involving potential flood vehicles from last month’s hurricane.

The Secretary of State’s office will screen title applications from states impacted by Hurricane Sandy to determine if vehicles are registered in a flood county, a release from White’s office said. White is requiring the applicants for those titles to submit a Hurricane Disclosure Statement to obtain a clean Illinois title. The statement must be signed by the registered owner of the vehicle and the insurance agent at the time of the hurricane. Any applicant unable or unwilling to supply the signed form will receive an Illinois Flood title only.

“We are taking every step possible to ensure that flood damaged vehicles do not receive clean titles in Illinois,” White said. “In addition to the extra scrutiny these vehicles receive from my office, we are providing a link on our website to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s database of known hurricane damaged vehicles that consumers may check themselves.

Reports indicate that as many as 250,000 vehicles may be affected by the hurricane’s flood waters, the release said. This compares to 325,000 vehicles that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

White urged consumers to actively research as much as possible about a vehicle before making a purchase. Consumers may want to consult companies that provide additional information about the history of vehicles. In addition, it is always a good idea to have a mechanic inspect a vehicle before making a purchase, White’s office says.

“While my office will do everything it can to protect Illinois consumers, it is always important that consumers also take active steps to protect themselves from purchasing damaged vehicles,” White said.

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