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Many Cars Damaged By Hurricane Sandy Heading To The Crusher

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A car rendered inoperable by Hurricane Sandy: mud under the hood cakes the power plant, seaweed clogs the grill, and the headlights contain sea water. (Credit: Thomas Good)

A car rendered inoperable by Hurricane Sandy: mud under the hood cakes the power plant, seaweed clogs the grill, and the headlights contain sea water. (Credit: Thomas Good)

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After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, shoppers reported finding flood-damaged vehicles in used car lots across the U.S. Today, government officials and watchdog groups are working to prevent a repeat of that problem in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau, a nonprofit focused on preventing insurance fraud and vehicle theft, reports that many of the 230,000 vehicles damaged by Sandy are on their way to crushing facilities. NICB credits law enforcement agencies -- particularly the New York Police Department -- for getting vehicles towed to holding locations, where they're being identified and recorded prior to being scrapped. Insurance companies are working with NICB to facilitate the process.

True to its mission, however, NICB is also keeping a watchful eye on insurance fraud and other problems related to Sandy. The organization is paying particular attention to towing companies in the northeast, some of which removed undamaged or minimally damaged cars from city streets, then moved those vehicles to holding compounds. Now, they're submitting outrageous bills to insurance agencies and owners for their services.

And of course, there have been many reports of auto theft during the chaos that followed the storm -- theft of flood-damaged and undamaged vehicles alike. NICB is working to curb that, too.

If you live in an area affected by Hurricane Sandy and have experienced vehicle fraud or theft, or if you think you've seen unmarked flood-damaged vehicles for sale, you can file an anonymous report with NICB in one of three ways:

  • Call 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422)
  • Text the word "fraud" to TIP411 (847411)
  • Visit
And if you're shopping for a new car, truck, or SUV, be sure to check out our tips on spotting flood-damaged vehicles. We'd love for you to score a new set of wheels, but we wouldn't want to see you taken for a ride.
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Comment (1)
  1. For years DEALERS have been buying cars fromm wholesalers and insurance companies that were declared JUNK. They diassemble them and use chemicals to rid the smell of mold and dampness, and sell them to a bogus person, repurchase them and try to pass them off as regular cars. I spent 5 and 1/2 months looking at used cars on lots and almost everyone had at least on car indicitave of flood damage. HINT: When inspecting a Used Car I always start with the trunk and lift the mat, and remove the spare. The hardest part of a car to make right is the trunk. Depending how deep the submersion was the door panels, especially fabric will show "water marks", or they will be recovered with some cheap vinyl crap, that did not come with the car. GOOD LUCK!

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