October 27, 2017 8:34 am
Updated: October 27, 2017 8:35 am

SGI urges caution when purchasing a used vehicle from the U.S.

WATCH ABOVE: Thousands of vehicles damaged by Hurricane Harvey have turned lots into massive junkyards, as insurance companies process claims.

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SGI is warning buyers to exercise caution when purchasing a used vehicle from the U.S.

Flood-damaged vehicles from areas affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma could be hitting the market, raising concerns for Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) officials.

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READ MORE: SGI received more than 2500 claims from wind storm

Flood- and water-damaged vehicles coming from the U.S. are considered junk and non-repairable and are only allowed to be imported into Canada for scrap or parts.

“In desperate times, people may resort to desperate measures and try to cut their losses by selling a flood-damaged vehicle to an unsuspecting customer,” said Earl Cameron, the executive vice-president of the auto fund.

“A ‘deal’ isn’t always a good deal.”

READ MORE: Better Business Bureau warns against ‘hurricane cars” coming into Canada

The concern is that a vehicle’s safety systems, including airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control, could be affected by flood damage.

There is also the risk that vehicles could be contaminated with untreated waste and mold, which may not be visible to the naked eye.

SGI said there are steps consumers can take to ensure they are not buying a flood- or water-damaged vehicle:

  • research the vehicle’s U.S. history using a service like CarProof, Carfax or Autocheck using the VIN number;
  • ask the seller about damage and have the response in writing before the sale;
  • look for signs of water damage, such as moldy or damp odours, signs of rust or mud in the trunk, vents, or glove box, under the seats or dashboard, or on the carpet. Also check under the hood for signs of water or silt;
  • test the heater, air conditioner, lights, turn signals, gauges, radio and windshield wipers; and
  • have the vehicle inspected by a certified technician prior to purchasing.

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