Klaas Tuininga Insurance Agency

4055 Valley Commons Dr Suite B
Bozeman MT 59718-6432
(406) 587-0765 Phone
(1-800-398-0774) Toll Free
(406) 586-3817 Fax
Klaas@KlaasTuininga.com E-mail

Flood Vehicles: Avoid Buying A Washed-Up Vehicle

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita might start claiming victims in the rest of the country soon, in the form of badly damaged cars being sold without the buyer knowing their histories. Fortunately, we have joined an effort to keep this fraud at a minimum.

First, the problem: Crooks often salvage and clean up cars, trucks and SUVs that were submerged in water - and then pass them off as good buys. But such vehicles never run the same again, no matter how meticulously they're restored. Water, especially salt water, permeates everything - wiring, body panels, etc. - causing corrosion and mildew that often don't show up until time passes. Biological contaminants, such as found in sewage water, are nearly impossible to remove.

The problem isn't small: In the wake of 1999's Hurricane Floyd, about half of the totaled vehicles were resold. Imagine how many vehicles were totaled by Katrina and Rita - and then imagine half of them being put on the market. One expert predicts about 285,000 vehicles will be sold fraudulently, related to Katrina alone.

Farmers recognizes the problem and is acting to minimize it. Along with other insurers, we worked with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to create a database of damaged vehicles (and watercraft). Customers will be able to check the vehicle identification number (VIN) or hull identification number (HIN) of the vehicle or watercraft they want to buy by going to the NICB's Web site at www.nicb.org. The site lists VINs and HINs of vehicles damaged by Katrina and Rita, though it gives no indication as to the extent of the damage.

Tips to help avoid the flooded vehicle scam:

The next step in the process is to REPORT INSURANCE FRAUD!

You may be eligible for a reward!

If you suspect insurance fraud or theft, speak up! Call the National Insurance Crime Bureau at (800)TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422).

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