Many stats have experienced flooding due to extended periods of rain and hurricanes. Dealers should be cautious with all vehicles by physically examining them for flood damage. All affected vehicles may not have been title branded as a flood vehicle.
Look for the following signs of flood damage:
- Water and grit in the interior, in the engine compartment, behind wiring harnesses and around small recesses of starter motors;
- Dried mud/residue under the dashboard;
- Mold or musty odor; or
- Rust and flaking metal in the undercarriage
What Factors Make it a Flood Vehicle
Before purchasing a vehicle at an auction or taking it on a trade, perform a title history check to look for salvage or flood title discrepancies.
Damage Dictates Pennsylvania Title Brand
In Pennsylvania, under the Vehicle Code, a vehicle title will be branded with a “W” for “flood vehicle if the owner receives payment for flood damage. If the cost to repair a flood vehicle exceeds the value of the vehicle and the owner receives money from the insurance company to replace the vehicle, the owner is also required to obtain a salvage certificate, and the vehicle is branded “W” for “flood vehicle.”
In order for a salvage certificate to be replaced with a reconstructed brand, a dealer must repair the vehicle and complete an MV-426B “Application for Reconstructed, Specially Constructed or Modified Vehicles.” The title is then branded both “W” for “flood vehicle” and “R” for “reconstructed vehicle.”
In order for the vehicle to be branded only as a “flood vehicle”, not salvage or reconstructed, the dealer must prove that the vehicle’s damage does not exceed the value of the vehicle. This can be proven by the insurer’s appraisal report.
Source: Pennsylvania Automotive Association