Flood-damaged cars could end up for sale, despite condition

MADISON (WKOW) - Car, trucks and SUVs damaged in flood waters could be deemed total losses, but still end up for sale, and consumers are being encouraged to be aware of that possibility.

American Family Insurance Claims Manager Mark Follmann says the vast majority of approximately 250 cars of policy holders damaged in Madison area flooding have been declared total losses by the insurer.

In Cross Plains at the Kalscheur Dodge-Chrysler-Ram dealership, owner Dean Kalscheur says 80 of his inventory of 100 vehicles were flood damaged.  He says they were on his car lot when flash flooding swamped the property.  Kalscheur estimates his losses at $1 million.  "I think we'll survive it," Kalscheur says.  "We've been around a long time.  We did have good insurance, flood insurance," he says.

Kalscheur says even though most of his inventory has been deemed a total loss, most vehicles still run and could end up at auto auction, and later, for sale to the general public.

"If the damage exceeds 70 percent of what the vehicle is worth, the vehicle is stamped as a salvage vehicle," Follmann says of a state requirement on the vehicle title. "For a flood damaged vehicle, the same thing happens,"  Follmann says of the designation of water damage on the title.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Dealer & Agent Section Chief Michael Domke says prospective car buyers should go beyond the vehicle title after Dane County's major flood."Look at a vehicle for signs it was submerged,"  Domke says.  He recommends checking for water marks in particular under the car's dashboard and in its trunk.

Domke says regulatory and auto industry standards helped limit the problem of suspect vehicles hitting the car market after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.

For more on this story: http://www.wkow.com/story/38972198/2018/08/27/flood-damaged-cars-could-end-up-for-sale-despite-condition

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