Unfortunately, natural disasters are a part of our life. Depending on where you live, it's can be an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or flooding like we've experienced many times in the Southern Tier.

After the destruction has happened, those affected apply for insurance claims. And out of the woodwork, come the scammers, looking to cash in on your insurance payout with offers to repair, replace and sell you goods that don't exist or are damaged.

The recent natural disasters include Hurricane Ian last September in Florida and the recent record rainfall and flooding in areas of California causing a lot of destruction. Even though people in those affected areas need to be aware of scams, those in the rest of the country should be as well.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau states that following a natural disaster, keeping damaged cars out of the hands of unsuspecting buyers is a major focus of the insurance industry.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime. This organization offers a free service called VINCheck that will assist in "determining if a vehicle may have a record of an insurance theft claim, and has not been recovered, or has ever been reported as a salvage vehicle by participating NICB member insurance companies."

To use the service and find out the history of a vehicle, you will need the vehicle identification number (VIN.) VINCheck does not check law enforcement records or records of insurance companies that do not participate in this service, nor is it a vehicle history report.

It's not a service that will give you all the information possible about the vehicle, but it's a start and could save you from buying a vehicle that may have been damaged, stolen, or otherwise.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.

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