Hurricane-Damaged Cars Find Second Use

Vehicles damaged by hurricanes are being shipped around the world after insurance companies deemed them as total losses.

Flood Damage

Hurricane damaged cars that were deemed as total losses are finding new life overseas.

Vehicles that were caught up in hurricanes have been deemed as total losses by insurance companies, leaving some to be sold for scrap and others to enter distribution channels for repair and delivery to wholesale car dealers and auto-parts salvagers. Some are being shipped as far away as Africa and Southeast Asia.

According to Cox Automotive, Hurricane Harvey left around 600,000 heavily damaged cars. After a vehicle is determined as a total loss, insurance companies retrieve it and turn to auctions to find a buyer. Vehicles are sold at auctions as they are.

Demand for damaged vehicles have grown overseas in recent years, making it possible for insurance companies to recoup their losses. 

Often times it costs less to repair vehicles in areas where labor is less expensive, so a car that is a total loss in the U.S. could end up on the road again in a different country. In the U.S., if a car is deemed as "salvage" it can't be sold, registered or driven unless it's fully repaired and the owner obtains a new title. 

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