Experian Automotive reports that there are more than 9 million vehicles in the areas most significantly impacted by Superstorm Sandy. While the total number of vehicles damaged by the storm is still unknown, preliminary reports indicate that the number will be fewer than that of past hurricanes such as Katrina, Rita and Irene.
Additional research using Experian Automotive's AutoCheck database has shown that more than 1.6 million cars and trucks throughout the United States were designated as damaged by accidents or severe weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes or flooding, in the first half of 2012. Of those, more than 425,000 nearly 27 percent lost their damage designation, or brand, when they were retitled as clean in another state.
"In the wake of any natural disaster, consumers need to be acutely aware that there will be damaged vehicles out there that will be cleaned up and sold to unsuspecting buyers," said Scott Waldron, president of Experian Automotive. "With such a large number of title-washed vehicles on the road today, consumers need to arm themselves with as much information as possible when shopping for a used vehicle. An AutoCheck vehicle history report includes past title brands and designations of prior damage, providing used vehicle shoppers with the peace of mind that the vehicle they are buying is reliable and, most importantly, safe."
Superstorm Sandy has increased the potential for more title-washed vehicles to find their way into the market, Experian says. Because AutoCheck vehicle history reports keep a list of each reported history event on a vehicle, items such as storm-related title brands stay on the vehicle's history report even though the brand may be lost when the vehicle is retitled in a new state. AutoCheck reports also now include a special designation showing whether a vehicle was registered in a county identified as a federal disaster area.
To help further protect consumers against purchasing a potentially damaged vehicle, Experian Automotive is launching a free online tool called Storm Scan, which will identify if a vehicle has suffered any major damage events possibly caused from the storm, or whether the vehicle has been titled/registered within the affected area in the past 12 months. For more information, visit www.AutoCheck.com/stormscan
Additionally, Experian Automotive is offering AutoCheck vehicle history reports at a 15 percent discount for all consumers in the counties recently declared federal disaster areas. To receive the discounted AutoCheck report, enter the coupon code SANDY at checkout. Offer valid on single reports and unlimited subscriptions at www.AutoCheck.com
through Nov. 30, 2012.