Beware of flood damaged vans: Glass’s warning 04 February 2016

Insurance write-offs from last December’s serious floods in the North West are starting to appear at auctions and on forecourts, according to Glass’s.

Glass’s head of valuations Rupert Pontin says that most of the vehicles are Category C and D insurance write-offs that have been repaired – and he adds that some are clearly described as such, but others are not.

“A lot of cars and vans will have been significantly damaged, and often written off by insurers [but], inevitably, some of these will have been bought and returned to a roadworthy condition,” states Pontin.

“However, no matter how good the repairs, category C or D vehicles are worth a lot less than their undamaged counterparts – somewhere between 25—50% below market value,” he warns.

“There are always some dishonest sales of this type taking place after major incidents and we are starting to hear anecdotal evidence at the moment.”

Pontin asserts that the highest risk tends to be from vehicles bought where there are “limited degrees of redress”, such as from private sellers or a less reputable motor traders.

“Sometimes, a buyer only finds out that the vehicle has been flood damaged when they receive the V5 registration document or if they try and insure the vehicle, and find it has been marked as Category C or D on the insurer’s database,” he explains.

“If you have bought from anywhere other than a reputable dealer, it can be very difficult to get any kind of legal redress and a refund or compensation.”

Pontin advises looking for tell-tale signs, such as musty interior smells, water marks on fabric and problems with electrical systems.

“Our advice to potential buyers is that if they have any doubt about a car or van at all, just walk away. It is simply not worth taking a risk.

“The difficulty with flood-damaged cars is that the issues caused by water may not become apparent for some time. Corrosion of many kinds of metal parts is often not evident until things start to go wrong, sometimes years later.”

Brian Tinham

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