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If you or someone you know is in the market for a new car, it’s more important than ever to know how to identify cars that have been damaged by flooding. From Hurricane Harvey alone, an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 vehicles have been destroyed. While many of those damaged cars will be written off and sold for salvage, others may undergo “title washing,” a tactic in which a vehicle’s title is branded in one state but then transported to another state that has a different criteria for title branding. So, while a vehicle may have been branded as flood damaged in one state, it can be transported to another state to be sold with a clean title. Less than reputable sellers can use title washing to sell cars to unsuspecting buyers who will not notice a problem until it’s too late. Title washing also means that you are at risk for buying a flood car even if you do not live near a flood-prone area, or any of the areas affected by hurricanes this year.

To avoid buying a flood-damaged car, follow these tips:

*Tips courtesy of Kelley Blue Book