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Texas Sets Up Database of Flood-Damaged Cars from Tropical Storm Allison

Austin, TX - The floodwaters from Tropical Storm Allison in June have long since receded from Southeast Texas, but flood-damaged vehicles remain, and they have spread well beyond Texas. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has compiled a listing of nearly 30,000 vehicles that have been branded as flood-damaged. The listing is available on TxDOT's Web site, www.dot.state.tx.us. Website users click the "Vehicles" link and then select "Flood Damage Database."

The database is searchable by model year, make of vehicle and vehicle identification number, allowing users to determine if a salvage certificate or title has been issued. The title number and date the salvage title was issued is also posted.

Flood-damaged vehicles are being purchased in Texas and then sent out of state for resale. Texas law requires the titles of flooded vehicles to be marked as such. Sometimes, however, that disclosure is not retained when a new title is issued in another state. This site provides a listing to help determine if a vehicle was titled as "flood damaged."

Additionally, insurance records indicate more than 45,000 claims have been settled in Southeast Texas, while only about 30,000 salvage documents have been issued. That means about 15,000 vehicles sustained damage not noted on the title document. TxDOT relies on insurance companies or vehicle owners to notify them that water or flood has damaged a vehicle. If a vehicle does not appear on the site, there is still a chance that it has water damage, and has not been titled accordingly.

"Information on this website helps potential buyers learn more about the vehicle they are considering buying. Because tens of thousands of vehicles were damaged in the Tropical Storm Allison flood, the warning 'buyer beware' is important to remember," said Paul Bettencourt, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector. Most of the damaged vehicles were in Harris County.

For further information, the TxDOT can also be contacted on its help line at 512-465-7611.

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