Even though New York (150,000 vehicles damaged) and New Jersey (60,000) account for the bulk of the losses, the storms fury reached as far as West Virginia (1,000), Maine (500) and Vermont (500). The NICB is also quick to point out that its figures only represent insured losses – countless other uninsured vehicles were unquestionably damaged or destroyed during the storm.
A warning has also been issued by the NICB, as many Sandy damaged vehicles may have been reconditioned and placed on the market by now – and not just on the East Coast. While it is not illegal to sell flood-damaged or salvaged vehicles, sellers must disclose the information to buyers. Stopping short of suggesting that there are deceitful parties peddling less-than-perfect vehicles, the NICB offers a free VINCheck to help research if a vehicle has been reported stolen or salvage. As they say, buyer beware and do your homework before purchasing any used vehicle.
DES PLAINES, Ill., Feb. 21, 2013 - The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today announced revised estimates for the number of vehicles damaged as a result of Sandy.
The current estimate of vehicles damaged as a result of Sandy is now set at 250,500 based on claims processed by insurance companies. New York's number increased from a previous level of 130,000 to 150,000.
This is the complete list of states generating Sandy-related vehicle damage claims in descending order:
New York 150,000
New Jersey 60,000
New Hampshire 2,000
North Carolina 1,500
District of Columbia 1,000
Rhode Island 1,000
West Virginia 1,000
It is important to note that these are preliminary figures and may change as additional claims are received and processed. Also, these are insured losses only. There are certainly many uninsured vehicles that were damaged by Sandy and those numbers are not reflected in this information. Moreover, there is no determination as to the extent of damage to these vehicles. They could have sustained minor paint scratches from flying debris, or have been under water for days and rendered total losses.
By now there could be many Sandy damaged vehicles that are in the process of being reconditioned and sold to unsuspecting consumers all across the country. It is not illegal to buy or sell flood vehicles, or vehicles declared as salvage, as long as the parties to the sale are aware of the vehicle's status. Consumers should be aware that severely damaged vehicles may appear advertised for sale without any indication that they were at all affected by Sandy. As always, buyers should be careful when considering a used vehicle purchase in the weeks and months following a disaster such as Sandy.
Consumers can download useful checklists and learn more about flood and salvage vehicle scams and post-disaster contractor repair schemes by visiting the NICB website here. Also, NICB's VINCheck allows free consumer access to the vehicle salvage records of participating NICB member insurance companies who collectively provide 88 percent of the auto insurance in force today.
Anyone with information concerning vehicle theft and insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting our website at www.nicb.org. Or, iPhone or iPad users can download the NICB Fraud Tips app to make it easy to quickly send a tip and get a response.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $319 billion in insurance premiums in 2010, or approximately 80 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 94 percent ($152 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.