The first wave of flood-damaged vehicles is about to hit the market, write Neil Dowling and Mark Hinchliffe
CAR buyers have been put on flood alert amid fears damaged vehicles may hit the market. The RACV this week issued a warning for car buyers to be extremely careful about purchases in the wake of the Victorian and Queensland floods.
The RACV says only 100 vehicle claims have been received by its offices and though it expects that figure to rise, it says it won’t be anywhere near the 2000-plus figure for Queensland.
However, vehicles damaged in the Queensland floods may be sold into other states, which has prompted the RACV to issue a national alert.
RACV general manager of public policy Brian Negus says prospective buyers of any car thought to be involved in floods or coming from floodaffected areas should check the vehicle against the VicRoads website.
‘‘Both insured cars and non-insured cars can be checked,’’ he says.
‘‘It’s simply a case of entering the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number that is stamped on the car body) into VicRoads’ website and the register will tell where the car has come from, if it had damage and if it was a write-off.
‘‘It’s very simple for cars that have been classed by an insurer as a statutory write-off.’’
For cars that had not been insured, it’s more difficult.
‘‘If an uninsured vehicle has been affected and the owner decides to fix it up and sell it, buyers have to be very careful,’’ he says.
‘‘Where there’s no insurance, no write-off and no record on the national register, the only way of checking is again using the VicRoads website to see who owned it and where the car comes from.
‘‘If it’s from a flood-affected area, beware because the vehicle could be damaged.’’
Negus says affected vehicles will have damaged electrics and computers.
‘‘Electrical components are the most suspect,’’ he says. ‘‘The computer is the most vulnerable, but water can initially damage the wiring and mechanical components and then later rust can further damage the car. Our strong recommendation is to get a professional inspection before buying.’’