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Katrina’s Corvette Flood

by Keith Cornett on September 10, 2005

You just the knew this topic was coming. Thousands of vehicles sitting submerged in the streets, driveways and garages of New Orleans. What will happen with all those cars including Corvettes that were damaged by the flood waters of Katrina? Automuse has an excellent legal analysis on the laws of Louisiana and how automobiles are branded as “flood” cars. For a vehicle to receive the “flood” brand, it must be declared a total loss by the insurance company and issued a salvage title. The “flood” brand on the salvage title indicates the car was totaled as a result of water damage. However, for a car to be considered a total loss, it must have sustained damages equaling 75% or more of the market value as determined by the NADA handbook. But what about all those cars, including Corvettes that sustained “some” water damage, but did not reach the 75% threshold? While the good news is that Louisiana law requires disclosure to the buyer of a vehicle if it sustained water damage, the downside is that cars that sustained some water damage but not enough to be a total loss, will have clean, unbranded titles. Unfortunately Mississippi doesn’t require buyers to be notified of a car’s water damage, but does require cars that are total losses to be re-titled as a salvage vehicle. So what will happen with all those Corvettes that were damaged? C1′s to C3′s may be had at some decent “restorable” values from insurance companies or brokers who resell salvage vehicles. C4′s and above? Forget about it. With all the electronics that post ’82 Corvettes contain, they are more likely to have costly damage to those key components and aren’t worth the cost of repairs. One of the lasting effects of Katrina may be the public’s avoidance of purchasing pre-owned Corvettes from the Gulf region as well as the sales boon that I am sure Carfax and other title reporting sites will have. Caveat emptor…

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