Car buyers beware: GEICO says be on the lookout for flood-damaged cars after Hurricane Matthew

Washington, D.C., Nov. 5, 2016 – Hurricane Matthew blew in last month with damaging winds, heavy rainfall and high storm surges, and it may have left behind hundreds of flood-damaged vehicles on auto sales lots.

GEICO says you definitely don't want one of those, no matter how good the price is.

If you're about to start shopping for a used car, GEICO offers these five tips to help consumers avoid purchasing a flood-damaged vehicle:

  1. Examine the vehicle for obvious signs of flood damage. Check the car for strong disinfectant odors used to mask mold. Also, look for water stains, standing water, and signs of rust. Brand new upholstery or recently shampooed carpets may also be signs of flood damage.
  2. Obtain a detailed car history report. Visit the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) or other online sources such as to verify car history, past ownership, accident history, liens, maintenance and prior water damage. A fee may be associated with some history report services, so be sure to shop around for the best option to fit your needs.
  3. Perform a VIN check. Use the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) VIN check tool to help determine if a vehicle has been reported stolen or salvaged. This feature can be accessed for free on the NICB website. Compare the VIN found on the car with all documents and records for consistency.
  4. Review all title and ownership documents. Access the NMVTS website to review title documents and other important vehicle information. Make sure that the seller's information matches what is listed on the title to confirm ownership.
  5. Have a professional mechanic inspect vehicle. Take the vehicle to a trusted mechanic to inspect it for any signs of water damage before making a purchase.

GEICO flood damaged car infographic

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company), the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., was founded in 1936 and insures more than 28 million vehicles.

To make changes, report claims, print insurance cards and purchase additional products, policyholders can log into their car insurance policy, connect via GEICO Mobile, phone or by visiting a GEICO local agent.

Homeowners, renters, condo, flood, identity theft and life coverages are written through non-affiliated insurance companies and are secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto and personal umbrella coverages are also available.

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