Idaho used-car buyers should be aware that vehicles damaged by Hurricane Sandy "will likely end up on local car lots to be sold by unaware care dealers to unsuspecting buyers," said the NorthwestInsurance Council, funded in part by Idaho insurers, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
People who buy a used vehicle and later discover it was water damaged will likely find their insurance policy does not cover the cost of repairs, the groups said.
"Unscrupulous people buy the vehicles, clean them up to hide the flood damage, then ship them to states unaffected by flooding to be sold as normal used cars," said Frank Scafidi, public affairs director for the bureau.
The groups recommend that Idaho car buyers:
Æ Choose a cae dealer vetted by the Better Business Bureau or local Chamber of Commerce.
Æ Check the car's VIN number and search the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System for online access to vehicle history information.
Æ Look and/or smell for mildew, mold or an intense smell of deodorizer, debris and silt in unusual places such as under the carpet in the trunk or around the engine compartment.
Æ Look for rust on screws and other metal parts.
Æ Look for water stains, faded upholstery, discolored seat belts and door panels.
Æ Look for dampness in the floor and carpet and moisture inside the instrument panel.