Americans Driving More Than a Quarter-Million Flood Damaged Cars

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CENTREVILLE, Va. (September 12, 2016) – Hundreds of thousands of previously flooded vehicles are believed to be in driveways, on the road or up for sale around the country right now, according to new research from Carfax. The data suggests that more than 271,000 cars reported as flood damaged by a state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), insurance companies and more are back in use. It’s a nearly 30% increase from 2013.

While waterlogged wrecks have made their way to every state, these ten states have the most:

  1. Texas – 43,000
  2. Pennsylvania – 20,000
  3. Florida – 17,000
  4. Kentucky – 14,000
  5. Illinois – 13,000
  6. South Carolina – 11,000
  7. Michigan – 11,000
  8. New Jersey – 10,000
  9. New York – 9,000
  10. Louisiana – 9,000

“Flooded cars are a buyer’s worst nightmare,” said Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. “They’re ticking time bombs because when you least expect it, the electrical, mechanical or safety systems on these cars will fail, often without warning. Consumers everywhere need to be vigilant about checking a vehicle’s history for flood damage and getting a pre-purchase inspection to avoid buying cars that rot from the inside out.”

Increasingly powerful storms and historic flooding in major areas are creating more opportunities for professional con men to clean up and resell flooded vehicles. Demonstrations show that it takes only a few hours to restore them cosmetically, at a minimal cost to the criminals. However, buying one of these dangerous cars costs unsuspecting consumers thousands.

“A customer was requesting a loan on a used car, so we ran a Carfax Report as part of our underwriting procedures,” said Willie Macko, President of PriorityOne Bank in Mississippi. “We discovered that the car had been a total loss and the title was branded as a flood vehicle. By using Carfax, we were able to save both our bank and our customer a lot of money.”

As a service to consumers, Carfax lets you check for flood damage free of charge at

Editor’s note: Individual data for each state is available upon request. An infographic of some of the research findings is available for use at

A Carfax representative is available anytime for interviews via satellite, phone, Skype or in-person. Please contact Emilie Voss at 703-934-2664 to schedule.

About Carfax (

Carfax, a unit of IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), is the vehicle history expert for used car buyers, sellers and the automotive industry. Carfax created the Vehicle History Report in 1986 and continues to develop innovative services – like Carfax Used Car Listings and myCarfax – that make it easier to buy, sell and own a used car. The company maintains a database comprising over 16 billion vehicle history records from more than 92,000 sources worldwide. Get a free Carfax® Vehicle History Report from dealers with every used car for sale on or look for Carfax Advantage™ dealers in your area and say ‘Show Me the Carfax™’. Based in London, IHS Markit is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions.