Last October, Hurricane Sandy destroyed nearly 10,000 classic cars (most of them classic Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs). Nothing is worse than human loss but it is also extremely sad to see a pricey investment and a collectible of such value go down the drain. Even though many of the cars had insurance coverage - which took care of most of the repairs, classic car owners are still desperately trying to find replacements for their damaged car parts.
Very often, cars that are submerged under water due to floods will be considerably damaged. The salt water can cause irreplaceable damage to the decades old make of the car - mainly the metallic body, internal combustion engines, upholstery and so on. And in spite of the time and cost spent on classic car restoration, there are chances of these corrosive damages often recurring.
After Hurricane Sandy, a good number of damaged cars are up for resale. Many of these are cars are being sold after superficial restoration. And car lovers looking to make a new purchase are becoming victims of fraudulent deals. A 1970 Road Runner Coupe, a hapless victim of the devastating storm, was auctioned through a popular website for $36,950. The VIN of the car was listed as RM23NOE1298L3, and there was no mention of the effects of the storm on the car or the salvage title. The same car was earlier (on 4th Dec 2012) auctioned on autobidmaster.com with a slightly different VIN (RM23NOE129823 - note the 2 in place of the L). The car was described to have an MV-907, a salvage certificate with damage being mentioned as “water flood”.
It is always best to do your fair share of investigation before buying a classic car, especially when they are likely to be ones that are salvaged from storms and other natural calamities. Here are a few tips to help you do it right:
The history of a salvaged classic car can be obtained at the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). Enter the VIN of the classic car at www.VehicleHistory.gov, in order to obtain this.
Always check the VIN and documentation before buying a classic car. Never buy a car without actually verifying it in person
Google’s Cache is a repository of old auction records, even reports deleted by auction companies. A VIN search will help you get information regarding a car.
When checking a car for water damage:
Check for a lingering smell of mold or mildew.
Look for water clogged in gauges, radio, exterior lamps and so on.
Check for signs of rust in areas where water cannot reach, unless the car may have been submerged.
Look for silt or residue under carpets, back seats, gauges, exhaust valves or in between door panels.
Check for difficulty in starting the car or consistent throttling of the engine while driving.
Look for stained upholstery that may have been caused from extensive water damage.
Insurance companies often find providing insurance to flood damaged cars an unsafe proposition. And getting classic car insurance is a requirement. Hence, you never want to buy a classic car without the required documentation, even if it means paying a higher price for the car.
When you do find a classic car that has the required documentation and is safe from flood damage, Classic Auto gives you the best collector car insurance policies at the best rates. Get a free online quote today!
About the Author
Drew Yagodnik is Vice President of Classic Automobile Insurance Agency, Inc. Classic Automobile Insurance Agency has been protecting collector, classic and exotics since 1992.