Buyer beware of post-hurricane vehicles

Looking for a deal on a used car or truck? You can probably find one, if you don't mind that the vehicle has been through a hurricane or other flood-related disaster.

If you unknowingly purchase a car that was damaged by flooding, you could be the victim of fraud.

QBE's special investigation unit recommends consumers always have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchasing it. Flooded vehicles may have corrosion, electrical and other serious issues.

In addition, check the National Insurance Crime Bureau's (NICB) database of known vehicles and watercraft affected by flooding resulting from disasters like Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The database is available at nicb.org by entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or Hull Identification Number (HIN). NICB reports that hurricane-flooded vehicles have appeared for resale as far away as New York and California.

We also recommend contacting your insurance agent if you've purchased a vehicle with known hurricane damage. It could affect the actual cash value of the vehicle and need less coverage.