A salvage car is one that an insurance company has written off as a total loss, but they are repairable. When a car receives this distinction from an insurance company, the title is completely canceled out – which means that according to the law, these damaged cars do not technically exist.
Many salvage title cars come into existence from accidents or other damage such as water damage. Some were brand new at the time of the accident that destroyed them and were sitting on the parking lots of dealerships.
For those who cannot afford a brand new car and are willing to put in a little sweat equity to rebuild a car, salvage car auctions offer a chance to have a drivable vehicle and a chance for the car to be resurrected.
Before you buy salvage cars for sale, it is important to evaluate how much work is required to make the car safe and presentable. If the cost of restoration is more than you would pay for a used car on a lot or from an independent buyer, it is probably not worth the investment — unless you have some sentimental attachment to the car or you need it specifically for salvage car parts that you cannot find anywhere else.
Be aware that some states require salvage cars to have “salvage” titles, while other states let dealers and owners establish a new title altogether. Some shady dealers will often move cars from a salvage title state across the border to a new title state and then try to pass the car off as one that has not been salvaged.
Do your homework; research the title and do as much research on the title as possible to avoid being duped about this. Checking with the National Insurance Crime Bureau or requesting a vehicle history report (like the ones offered by Car Fax) may help you determine the truth. If a car shows up on a Car Fax report, though, you may have some trouble selling it to other buyers.
Some cars end up becoming salvage cars after natural disaster simply because they are on a lot with other salvage cars. When the insurance adjuster comes to make a damage estimate, he or she cannot possibly inspect all the cars on a car lot. Therefore, the person delivers an estimate of how many cars on the lot are damaged, and they all get the designation as salvage cars.
Salvage cars that are not as damaged, but receive a salvage title could make rewarding project cars and save you thousands of dollars.