Caveat Emptor: Car Buyers Urged to Be Wary of Flooded-Out Vehicles

If you’re buying a used vehicle any time soon, beware of washed-out wheels.

Florida’s chief financial officer says thousands of cars and trucks that were flooded in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi will be declared total losses for insurance purposes, but he says unscrupulous dealers will try to sell them without informing consumers about hidden water damage.

Tom Gallagher, Florida Chief Financial Officer, says, “Across the Gulf, there’s maybe 500,000 cars that are going to be totaled by the insurance companies and our concern is that they will be moved to other states by wholesalers, car wholesalers, and be sold as if they were used cars with no damage.”

After Hurricane Floyd in 1999, 75,000 cars were totaled because of flood damage. Half of them ended up back on the used car market.

If you’re thinking of buying a used car, log on to and click on "car check," where you can find a list of flooded vehicles.