WASHINGTON, D.C. ― The Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance recognizes that the anticipated high volume of flood-damaged automobiles following Hurricane Florence may present the potential for widespread harm to consumers.
The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) overseen by BJA is designed to prevent concealment of flood damage and other negative vehicle histories.
Severe water damage to vehicles can make electrical systems and airbag sensors prone to failure. Authorities have reported that after past hurricane events, truckloads of flooded vehicles had been taken out of impact zones to other states where they were dried out, cleaned and readied for sale to unsuspecting consumers.
“BJA remains committed to ensuring the consumer protection benefits that NMVTIS provides,” BJA Director Jon Adler said. “We encourage prospective purchasers to consider obtaining a NMVTIS vehicle history report and have the vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic as part of making an informed used car-buying decision.”
NMVTIS allows consumers to find information on the vehicle’s title, most recent odometer reading and brand history before they make a purchase. A brand is a descriptive label, such as “junk,” “salvage” or “flood,” that states assign to a vehicle to identify its current or prior condition. By capturing into one system specific information from multiple entities (state motor vehicle departments, insurance carriers, salvage auto auctions, automobile recyclers, and junk and salvage yards), NMVTIS offers states and consumers protection from title fraud and potentially unsafe vehicles.
Consumers should be aware of the resource offered through NMVTIS and educate themselves as much as possible about a vehicle’s history before making any purchase. The list of approved NMVTIS vehicle history report providers can be found on the official NMVTIS website. The cost for NVMTIS vehicle history reports vary. Current fees can range from approximately $3 to $13 per report.