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People

Beware of flood-damaged cars, Secretary of State says

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is warning consumers interested in purchasing used vehicles to beware of flood-damaged cars resulting from flooding caused by recent hurricanes Florence and Michael.

In an effort to protect Illinois consumers, White has instructed his office to closely monitor title applications involving potential flood vehicles.

The Secretary of State’s office will screen title applications from areas impacted by the hurricane floods to determine if vehicles are registered in a flood county. White is requiring the applicants for titles in those counties 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 must verify that no flood claim was filed for the vehicle at the time of the hurricanes. Any applicant unable or unwilling to supply the signed form will receive an Illinois Flood title.

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

Media reports indicate that as many as 40,000 vehicles may have been affected by Florence and a yet-to-be determined number by the flood waters of Michael.

In years past, as many as 500,000 vehicles were damaged by Harvey and 325,000 vehicles by Katrina, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

White urged consumers to gather as much information as possible about a vehicle before making a purchase. Consumers may want to consult companies that provide additional information about the history of vehicles and have a mechanic inspect a vehicle before buying.

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

White also said that CARFAX is providing a link to check for flood vehicles. To visit the free link, go to www.carfax.com/flood.

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