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Using the VIN for Flood Vehicle Identification

Identifying a flood vehicle is not always easy. Let's take a look at one method of identification.

When a flood-damaged vehicle has been through the insurance process, the vehicle may be title-branded as a flood vehicle. There are online databases available that allow consumers to check the history a vehicle. Databases like the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and CarFax use the vehicle identification number (VIN) for this process. These databases are only as good as the information that is reported to them, and not all flood-damaged vehicles are reported.

It is also important to note that title "branded" flood vehicles do not always carry that designation across state lines. For example, according to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), "a vehicle recovered from a flood or other natural disaster involving water (e.g., hurricane) may be flagged or branded as a flood vehicle in certain states, but in other states no such designation exists. Because one state may brand or flag a vehicle as a flood vehicle does not mean that other states must also designate the vehicle as a flood vehicle."

A VIN search is just one small piece of the puzzle when identifying a flood-damaged vehicle.

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