In the wake of hurricane Harvey and all the massive flooding that occurred in Huston, buyers need to be especially diligent in making sure they don’t purchase a flooded vehicle. The damage from a flood can be faint, and difficult for the untrained eye to spot. Rest assured, it does affect resale value though.

According to the Insurance Council of Texas, over 165,000 hurricane-related auto claims have been filed so far accounting for nearly $2.5 Billion in damages. That number is poised to increase over time. Unfortunately, some vehicles didn’t have insurance, and you must be careful of those when you purchase a used vehicle.

Although there will be an inrush of vehicles in the coming months after the storm, people will be selling these cars for years to come. It’s important to know what to look for, not only in Huston and the surrounding areas but anywhere these vehicles might end up.

As the first line of defense to protect you from buying one of these used cars, a Carfax report is a great place to start. Though it’s not perfect, especially if the vehicle hasn’t been reported, it should show if the vehicle has been in a flood.

Example of flood damage appraisers will look for when getting a car title loan in Texas.After you’ve examined the Carfax report and see no issues, it’s time to inspect the hidden areas for flooding signs. You can look for:

1. Rust inside the car, on the seat rails, bolts and screws, seat belts.
2. Water lines in the engine compartment and trunk.
3. Strange debris or silt throughout the car.
4. A moldy or stale order in the auto.

These are a few tips, but none can replace the need for a professional eye. If you’re serious about purchasing a car, take it to a trained mechanic, and specifically ask to have them check for flood damage.

Just like flood damage can affect the resale value of a car, it can also have an effect on the value of your vehicle for a car title loan. If you plan on using title loan or payday services for unexpected expenses, it’s especially important to make sure you stay diligent about the cars you buy. Follow the points above, and always consult with a professional before signing on the dotted line.