SGI cautions public about flood-damaged vehicles
Dec. 12, 2012
SGI is advising Saskatchewan residents thinking about purchasing or importing a vehicle from the United States to be cautious of flood-damaged vehicles originating from areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
As part of national best practices, many flood-damaged vehicles are not eligible to be licensed for use in Saskatchewan or in any other Canadian province.
“This was an issue in Canada after Hurricane Katrina too,” said Lyle Mosiondz, SGI Assistant Vice President, Auto Fund Vehicle and Support Services. “As flood-damaged vehicles can pose a safety risk, we want to ensure Saskatchewan residents do their research before purchasing a new or used vehicle from those areas.”
Flood-damaged vehicles, especially those subject to salt water and sewage, can pose a risk to drivers and passengers. Flood damage to a vehicle's electrical system can affect important vehicle safety systems, such as airbags, anti-lock braking (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) systems. Other concerns are corrosion of a vehicle’s structural components that are specifically designed to protect the occupants and absorb collision energies in the event of a crash, as well as toxic contamination due to untreated waste and mold.
Purchasing vehicles only through licensed dealers is one way for motorists to protect themselves. However, if purchasing from a private seller, some other tips are:
- Research the vehicle's U.S. history using the services of a company such as CarProof, Carfax, Autocheck or another similar service.
- Ask the seller about damage and ensure that their response is documented, in writing, prior to the sale.
- Look for signs of water damage, such as moldy or damp odours, or any 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, cigarette lighter and windshield wipers, to ensure water has not impacted electrical systems.
- Have the vehicle inspected by a certified technician prior to purchasing and specifically have them check for signs of flooding and water damage.
Under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act administered by Transport Canada, vehicles imported from the United States that are 15 years old or newer are processed through the Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) program. For more information on importing vehicles from the U.S., please contact the Registrar of Imported Vehicles at http://www.riv.ca/.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province's self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of over 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link under Online Services on your motor licence issuer's website or SGI's website.