High Water danger sign
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The disastrous effects of Hurricane Harvey

As the nation watches the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, naturally the most important considerations are the safety and well-being of the men, women, and children affected by the disaster. In the case of Harvey, flooding has been and will continue to be a problem in coastal areas.

After any such disaster, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) works with its member companies, law enforcement and private companies to identify vehicles that have had an insurance claim filed and to process them for sale. All of the cars will be retitled with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the new title will indicate the fact that the vehicle has been flood damaged. Most of the vehicles are sold to parts companies who will dismantle them and re-sell usable parts that were not damaged by the flooding.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is also entered into the NICB's VINCheck℠ and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) database.

Cars drive through flooded roads
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Flooding in Texas

NICB's VINCheck allows car buyers to see whether a vehicle has ever been declared as "salvage" or a total loss by an NICB member that participates in the program. Insurers representing about 88 percent of the personal auto insurance market provide their salvage data to the program. It also alerts users if a vehicle has been stolen and is still unrecovered. VINCheck is a free public service.
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Flood-damaged cars and trucks will soon hit the market

Keeping damaged cars out of the hands of unsuspecting buyers is a major focus of the industry. Unfortunately, some of the flooded vehicles may be purchased at bargain prices, cleaned up, and then taken out of state where the VIN is switched and the car is retitled with no indication it has been damaged.
Flooding As Harvey Plunges Houston's Thriving Economy Into Years-Long Crisis
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Flooding from Hurricane Harvey

NICB warns that buyers be particularly careful in the weeks and months after a major catastrophe. Vehicles that were not insured may be cleaned up and put up for sale by the owner or an unscrupulous dealer with no disclosure of the flood damage.
Flooding As Harvey Plunges Houston's Thriving Economy Into Years-Long Crisis
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Flooding in Spring, Texas

Houses and vehicles at the Highland Glen subdivision stand in floodwaters due to Hurricane Harvey in Spring, Texas, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. A deluge of rain and rising floodwaters left Houston immersed and helpless, crippling a global center of the oil industry and testing the economic resiliency of a state that's home to almost 1 in 12 U.S. workers. 
Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
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Harvey was the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since 2005

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Stranded vehicles sit where they got stuck in high water from Hurricane Harvey on Dairy Ashford Drive, August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey
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Epic Flooding Inundates Houston After Hurricane Harvey

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 28: A peson waits to be rescued from his flooded home after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Flooding in Houston, Texas

TOPSHOT - A truck driver walks past an abandoned truck while checking the depth of an underpass during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey August 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Hurricane Harvey hits Texas
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Hurricane Harvey hits Texas

WOODLANDS, USA - AUGUST 27: A car gets stuck in mass flooding during hurricane Harvey in Woodlands, TX, United States on August 27, 2017. (Photo by Tharindu Nallaperuma/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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