(Heartland Newsfeed) — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White issued a warning Wednesday to consumers looking to purchase used vehicles to beware of flood-damaged vehicles resulting from flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. While not mentioned in the press release, the warning is also applicable to the three active hurricanes set to hit the United States and Mexico this weekend and early next week — Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia.
As a protective measure for Illinois consumers, White has instructed his office and all licensing facilities to closely monitor title applications involving potential flood vehicles from the hurricanes. The Secretary of State’s office will screen title applications from areas impacted by the flooding resulting from the hurricanes to determine if the vehicles were registered in a flood-impacted county and will be requiring applicants to submit a Hurricane Disclosure Statement to obtain a clean Illinois title, which must be signed by the registered owner of the vehicle. An insurance agent must issue verification that no flood claim was filed on the vehicle at the time of the hurricane. Any applicant who’s unable or unwilling to supply the signed form will be issued an Illinois Flood title only.
“We are taking every step possible to ensure that flood damaged vehicles from Hurricane Harvey [and upcoming hurricanes] do not receive clean titles in Illinois,” White said. “In addition to the extra scrutiny these vehicles receive from my office, we are providing a link on our website
to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) database of known hurricane damaged vehicles that consumers may check themselves.”
The NICB indicated that 325,000 vehicles were damaged by Hurricane Katrina when it made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane in August 2005. Media reports are estimating that as many as a half-million vehicles were affected as a result of flooding from Hurricane Harvey. It is undetermined how many more vehicles will be impacted when Hurricanes Irma and Jose make landfall in the United States and Hurricane Katia makes landfall in Mexico.
White urges consumers to actively research as much as possible about a vehicle before making a purchase and should consult companies that provide additional information about a vehicle’s history. It is always a good idea to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic prior to purchase.
“While my office will do everything it can to protect Illinoisans, it is always important that consumers also take active steps to protect themselves from purchasing damaged vehicles,” White said.
White added that Carfax is providing a link to check for flood vehicles