More Flood-Damaged Cars End Up on the Market than People Realize
Statistically, about 50% of vehicles damaged in hurricanes wind up in the stream of commerce, which means dealers can expect to see these vehicles, whether they knowingly buy them or not. Although insurance companies typically total, brand the titles of, and crush these vehicles, not every consumer buys insurance. For these individuals, a ruined vehicle is a liability to trade in to their local dealership.
Note that some states eliminate this issue. Louisiana will crush disaster-damaged cars. Other states like Florida and Texas will brand the title. But many states do neither. And this doesn’t necessarily stop an unscrupulous wholesaler from washing the title and selling it out of state or forging vehicle identification numbers.