Association Warns about Vehicle Title Washing in Hurricane Aftermath

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Thou¬≠sands of vehi¬≠cles have been flood dam¬≠aged in the North¬≠east, and Prop¬≠er¬≠ty Casu¬≠al¬≠ty Insur¬≠ers Asso¬≠ci¬≠a¬≠tion of Amer¬≠i¬≠ca rec¬≠om¬≠mends stay¬≠ing informed on rel¬≠e¬≠vant fed¬≠er¬≠al and state laws. ‚ÄúLike any total loss vehi¬≠cle, the vast major¬≠i¬≠ty of insured vehi¬≠cles will be dis¬≠posed of via sal¬≠vage auc¬≠tions and brand¬≠ed as flood dam¬≠aged or sal¬≠vage accord¬≠ing to the title laws of the state,‚ÄĚ said Bob Pass¬≠more, PCI‚Äôs senior direc¬≠tor, per¬≠son¬≠al lines.

A vehi¬≠cle dam¬≠aged in a flood should have its title brand¬≠ed, but incon¬≠sis¬≠ten¬≠cies in state laws some¬≠times allowed titles to be ‚Äúwashed‚ÄĚ or have their brands removed when trans¬≠ferred in anoth¬≠er state. But there have been sev¬≠er¬≠al recent devel¬≠op¬≠ments that make ‚Äútitle wash¬≠ing‚ÄĚ much more dif¬≠fi¬≠cult. The Nation¬≠al Motor Vehi¬≠cle Title Infor¬≠ma¬≠tion Sys¬≠tem requires insur¬≠ers to report total loss vehi¬≠cles to a fed¬≠er¬≠al data base; it also requires states to share infor¬≠ma¬≠tion on motor vehi¬≠cle titles. Insur¬≠er report¬≠ing has been in place since 2009 and sub¬≠ject to a $1,000 per vehi¬≠cle fine for non-com¬≠pli¬≠ance. There are no penal¬≠ties for states that haven‚Äôt com¬≠plied, but 32 states are ful¬≠ly par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pat¬≠ing in NMVTIS, mean¬≠ing that they both sup¬≠ply title data and query the data base on every title trans¬≠ac¬≠tion. New York, New Jer¬≠sey, Vir¬≠ginia, Con¬≠necti¬≠cut and Delaware ful¬≠ly par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pate. Anoth¬≠er eight states pro¬≠vide data only, and 10 states plus the Dis¬≠trict of Colum¬≠bia are cur¬≠rent¬≠ly in devel¬≠op¬≠ment.

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