At a storage lot in Morganville today, state officials announced the creation of an online database meant to prevent consumers from unknowingly inheriting the problems of a vehicle damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

Eric Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, announces a new online database of flood-damaged and salvage vehicles. (Townsquare Media)

As part of a partnership to educate the public, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and Division of Consumer Affairs launched the 24-7 database that can be searched by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make, model and year. More than 13,000 vehicles, which have been processed by the MVC as either or flood- or salvage-titled since October, are already posted.

"The Division of Consumer Affairs encourages everyone to check this new database before purchasing a vehicle in New Jersey or otherwise," said Eric Kanefsky, Consumer Affairs Acting Director.

In the past three months, New Jersey experienced a nearly 6,000 percent spike in flood-damaged and salvage vehicle titles processed. Since the storm, there have been 60,000 insurance claims reported for personal and commercial vehicles. That figure could reach a total of 230,000 in all states affected by Sandy.

"With so many vehicles that were damaged by the recent storm potentially being resold in the future, it's important that the public be well-informed about what to look for when shopping," noted MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond Martinez.

It is not illegal to sell a vehicle with a flood-damaged or salvage vehicle, but only one that has been properly titled as such.