Should You Buy a Flood Damaged Car? Probably Not

cap hpi, part of Solera Holdings, Inc., a global leader in risk and asset management data and software solutions for the insurance and automotive industries, is urging motorists to be aware of the dangers of buying flood and water damaged vehicles with temptingly low price tags.

Over 730,000 written off cars are uncovered every year – more than 2,000 vehicles identified every day – by leading vehicle data and valuation specialist HPI. Unfortunately for consumers, these flood damaged cars are increasingly being offered for sale by unscrupulous sellers who won’t always declare to buyers that they are insurance write-offs.

Fernando Garcia, consumer director at HPI said: “It’s not illegal to professionally repair and sell Category C and D insurance write-off cars, but those that have been declared a Category A and B write-off are only good for the scrap heap or spares; they should never be returned to the roads. Unfortunately, fraudsters are willing to patch up and disguise written-off vehicles and sell them on to unsuspecting buyers.”

A flood-damaged vehicle that hasn’t been appropriately repaired is likely to need engine components wholly replaced to ensure these parts work safely and correctly. Brakes, starter motors and catalytic converters can fail at any point and pose a risk to drivers, their passengers and pedestrians.

However, there’s an added danger for buyers in that some car owners may innocently try to sell on their flood-damaged vehicle, once its interior has dried out and has been professionally cleaned, as these owners may be uninformed that the vehicle remains potentially hazardous.

are flooded cars safe to drive

While the owners are genuinely unaware of the hidden dangers that flooding may have caused to the mechanics of the car, omitting its history to a potential buyer will leave the new owner in the dark about its real condition.

“We recommend that buyers considering a used bargain conduct a vehicle history check to reveal if the car has been declared an insurance write-off and importantly, what category write-off it is,” added Garcia. “Not all written off cars should be avoided. Category C and D write-offs that have been professionally repaired and declared roadworthy can sometimes present a real bargain.”

The HPI Check gives used car buyers the confidence they need to shop around knowing they can easily find out a vehicle’s hidden history. In addition to confirming if a vehicle has been written off, the HPI check includes a mileage check against the National Mileage Register as standard, now with over 330 million mileage readings and also cross references with the mileage last recorded at the time of the previous MOT. It also confirms whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen by the police or has outstanding finance against it.


There is the famous story of the Bugatti recovered from a lake, which was sold for £294,000, even though it was little more than a collection of gently rusting parts. In theory, you could drag something like an E-Type, Aston Martin DB5/6 or a Ferrari from a river and the eventual auction price would comfortably exceed the cost of the year-long restoration. Maybe. But most classic car fans are in it for love, not money.

Fact is though, even a run of the mill car like a Lada can be dragged out of a lake after being underwater for six months and re-started. Here’s a video we found which proves the point, although we think it may need some time in the bodyshop too. Enjoy.

About alastair walker 10944 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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