SEPTEMBER 2008

Consumers protected from title washing of flooded cars

Estimates from the insurance industry conclude that as many as 700,000 vehicles  have suffered flood damage.

It happens all across the country: people purchase used cars without realizing they were totaled in crashes, floods and other disasters. These buyers end up paying more than the car is truly worth and often face steep repair bills.

To protect consumers from this fate, Liberty Mutual is providing Carfax with its data on every car declared a total loss and sold for salvage for the past five years and going forward. This information is then disclosed to the buyer on a Carfax vehicle history report.

“Varying state laws and a deceitful practice called ‘title washing’ allows salvaged cars to be sold without any documentation that they were once totaled,” said Ted Gramer, Liberty Mutual executive vice president, personal claims.

“In the aftermath of disasters like the recent Midwestern floods and hurricanes, consumers need added protection from increased fraudulent activity.”

Through the Liberty Mutual Rewards website, www.libertymutualrewards.com, Carfax is offering consumers a free flood check to quickly confirm if a vehicle they are interested in buying has ever been reported as flood damaged. Consumers also can purchase at the site a complete Carfax vehicle history report at a 25 percent discount.

Furthering its consumer safety responsibility, Liberty Mutual also recently announced its support of the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck(SM) buyer protection program. Consumers can input any vehicle’s unique 17-character identification number (VIN) at www.nicb.org to determine if a participating insurance company such as Liberty Mutual had previously declared the car a total loss.