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OMV requiring disclosure of water damaged vehicles

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BATON ROUGE - The Office of Motor Vehicle Commission is now requiring another document when drivers buy or sell their car, particularly if it is flood damaged.

With the thousands of cars that were totaled by flood water during last month's flood, many cars have to be replaced. However, some buyers fear they will end up with a water-damaged car and the sellers are concerned with losing their potential sales.

"The consumer has a much heightened sense of awareness, because who in Louisiana doesn't know that we just had a tremendous flooding situation in South Louisiana? So, the cars that weren't flooded need to be treated like they are good, used cars, and that form gives the buyer a chance to understand that," John Poteet, chairman of the Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission, said.

Hoping to ease concerns, the Office of Motor Vehicles made the Disclosure of Water Damaged Vehicle forms which serves as an affidavit, ensuring a confident sale and purchase. If a car was damaged, the current owner would be required to add details about what is damaged.

"It's very important because we have our consumers out here, it's public protection. We're protecting the consumer," Derek Parnell, executive director of the Louisiana Used Motor Vehicle Commission, said.

"Flooded vehicles typically have a lot of problems with the power train, computer system, and electrical system, so it's very important that the consumer knows that form, and that vehicle has been flooded, then they can decide if they want to purchase the vehicle or not," Parnell said.

The commission recommends that only disaster-declared parishes should be required to complete the form, which becomes a part of the vehicle's title, and remains moving forward.

"You're adding a piece of paper to every single title in Louisiana, so our recommendation as a commission is that it only be required in areas federally declared as disaster areas," Poteet said.

According to the commission, any vehicle registered in Louisiana cannot legally be transferred until the form is filled out and verified. The form can be found here and here

The Office of Motor Vehicles added, that for people doing person-to-person transactions, there only needs to be a disclosure form filled out if the car was flooded.

Every dealership selling a car, the form will need to be filled out.

On the OMV's website the agency has made some changes to help out those trying to get information on disclosure forms, and also in the section car owners can run the VIN number of the vehicle to check and see if a car was in a flooded area during the August event.

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