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How You Can Buy a Salvage Car in an Online Dealer Auction and Save Big Bucks

Date: 03/10/2017 |Category: Buyer Tips, Car Auctions, Salvage Cars

The pervasion of online dealer auctions has completely changed the game for ordinary consumers looking to buy a used or salvage car. Because of these auctions, these consumers are now able to save thousands of dollars on their purchases. What’s more is that they’re able to select from thousands upon thousands of vehicles, ensuring that they’re able to find the right one for their needs.

When you participate in online dealer auctions, one of the best ways to save money is through salvage cars. That’s because these auctions allow you to do something that you wouldn’t be able to do any other way: buy salvage cars from insurance companies. The vehicles can be had at incredibly steep discounts, and often provide the best chance for saving the most money possible.

Still, some consumers might wonder why they should buy salvage cars at all. Below, we’re going to explain these vehicles and just exactly why they might be the right choice for you!

What Are Salvage Cars?

Those who are new to online dealer auctions frequently misunderstand what salvage cars really are. In a nutshell, these are vehicles that have – for any number of reasons – had their insurance policies paid out at 75% or greater of the vehicle’s value. Put another way, these are vehicles that have been ‘totaled’ by an insurer.

But, the word ‘totaled’ is a bit broader than most consumers realize. Of course, a great number of salvage cars will be just what the ordinary consumer thinks: They are vehicles that have been significantly damaged in a collision or another calamity. But, that’s not all they are!

Consider, for example, the case of a vehicle that has been stolen. After a period of time has elapsed, the insurer has no choice but to pay out the policy to the insured. If at a later date that vehicle is recovered by authorities, the insurer does not get to recoup its losses from the insured. In fact, the car is issued a salvage title and then auctioned off by the insurer. These are so-called ‘theft-recovery’ vehicles.

As you might expect, this later category of salvage car can run the gamut in terms of quality. While there may be some that were damaged by the car thief, a great many of them may not have sustained any damage at all. These kinds of cars, in particular, are a tremendous target for someone looking to buy salvage cars online.

The point is that one shouldn’t assume that all salvage cars are total wrecks. In fact, these vehicles come in all shapes and sizes and in different states of quality. The one thing they all share in common, though, is that they can be bought for incredibly low prices through online dealer auctions.

What Are The Benefits of Salvage Cars?

If you’re still skeptical about salvage cars, it might be worth it to take a look at the number of different benefits that they offer. Those who buy salvage cars from insurance companies or through auctions all discover what these benefits are. They are, in fact, things that should appeal to most anyone who’s in the market for a vehicle.

  • Choices Galore: In the United States alone, 3-million cars are given salvage titles every year. As you might expect, this leads to a high degree of choice on the auction block. Whatever make, model and year you might be looking for, you’re almost assured of finding it.
  • A New Project: Who hasn’t dreamed of working on and repairing a vehicle in his or her own garage? Salvage cars are the raw ore of such a project. Because they can be purchased for an incredibly low price, one is able to enjoy the flexibility of a large budget when it comes to repairs.
  • No Project at All: But, some aren’t looking for a project; they want something they can drive almost immediately. As mentioned, there are salvage cars out there that may be in better condition than used cars you’d find on a dealership’s lot. You only need to search in order to find that diamond in the rough!
  • Spare Parts: Automotive parts can be incredibly expensive. That’s why many mechanics often turn toward the salvage car market when they’re looking to source spare parts. If you need spare parts for a vehicle you already own, you might find that purchasing a salvage car is the cheapest way to do so!
  • The “Beater” Car: Got a 16-year-old kid who just got their license and doesn’t want to trust them with your family car? A low-cost salvage car that needs minimal repairs could be ideal. Given the small size of the investment, you don’t need to really worry about costly repairs later on.
  • The Low Cost: This point can’t be emphasized enough. There is no cheaper car on the market than salvage cars. When you buy a salvage car from an insurance company through an online auction, you stand to save thousands.

The above are just some of the benefits afforded when you buy a salvage car online. To learn about more benefits, check out this informative article about why you should buy salvage cars online. Ultimately, though, whether or not going this route will make sense for your specific circumstance comes down to you.

Should I Buy a Salvage Car?

Given the benefits of buying salvage cars online, it’s easy to understand why so many auto buyers have begun to look into them. However, you may still be wondering whether or not they’re right in your particular circumstance. Perhaps you’re unable (or unwilling) to make repairs on your own. Perhaps you’re not sure if all of the math works out.

Here it’s important to remember a few things. When insurers decide to ‘total’ a vehicle, their math is going to be different than your math. Obviously, if you’re able to repair a vehicle on your own, then you will be spending significantly less than what the insurer is estimating for parts and labor. Even if you can’t, provided you know a trusted and affordable mechanic, you’ll almost assuredly come out ahead given the low cost you purchased the vehicle for.

Beyond this, remember that there are salvage cars out there that may require little to no repairs. Because of this, they should be included in almost anyone’s search for an automobile!

Not convinced? Check out some more extraordinary reasons why you should buy a salvage car online in a dealer auction!

How You Can Buy Salvage Title Cars Online

Really, though, the only way to figure out whether or not you should buy a salvage title car is to see what’s out there. For this reason, you should sign up for an online dealer auction site, which provides access to salvage cars being auctioned off across the country.

There are a number of websites that offer this service, including Auto Auction Mall, which isn’t closed off to the public like services such as Copart and IAAI. To get started with your search, you merely need to create an account and start looking. You’ll quickly discover the wealth of choice in salvage cars that are out there and will almost certainly find something that’s right for your needs.

When you do, the next step is bidding. To do this, an initial deposit is required to establish your buying power. This deposit must be $400 or greater, with the size of the deposit representing 10% of whatever your maximum bid can be. This does not, mind you, mean that you will need to bid $4,000 on a salvage car! You can bid far less, and the deposit will be applied to whatever the final bid price is.

Need some help with the process? Want a better understanding of how online salvage car auctions work? Check out this handy collection of 10 tips for getting started.

State-by-State Rules for Salvage Title Cars

Different states have different rules governing the rebuilding and retitling of salvage cars. To get a basic understanding of what’s required where you live, please consult the list below.

Alabama: Individuals are not permitted to rebuild salvage cars on their own, as one must be licensed to do so. To obtain this license, one must pay a $10,000 surety bond.

Arkansas: Individuals are allowed to rebuild and retitle salvage cars in Arkansas. To do this, one must submit a number of forms to the Office of Motor Vehicle and provide receipts and documentation for repairs made.

California: California permits individuals to rebuilt and retitle salvage cars. However, the cars must be in conformity with the state’s safety and emissions standards and will need to be inspected by the California Highway Patrol.

Colorado: An individual is permitted to rebuild a salvage car on his or her own. To retitle the vehicle, one must submit the requisite forms following repair and have the words “Rebuilt from Salvage” etched into the driver’s side door.

Connecticut: Individuals can rebuild salvage cars on their own. However, one must keep photographic evidence of all repairs made, in addition to receipts and documentation.

Delaware: The state allows individuals to rebuild salvage cars on their own. It requires that photographic evidence is kept of repairs made, along with documentation and receipts.

Florida: Individuals in the state of Florida can rebuild Salvage cars. Following the completion of repairs, the necessary forms must be submitted to the DMV along with applicable fees.

Georgia: Individuals are only allowed to rebuild up to two salvage cars per year in the state of Georgia. Anything in excess of two salvage cars must be handled by someone who is licensed to rebuild salvage cars.

Hawaii: One is not permitted to rebuild a salvage car on his or her own in Hawaii. A licensed mechanic must handle all repairs. After repairs are completed, receipts, documentation, forms and fees must be paid to the DMV.

Idaho: While Idaho does permit individuals to rebuild salvage cars on their own, all repairs must be made with original parts. Once repairs are completed, all forms and fees must be submitted to the DMV for a rebranded title.

Illinois: The Illinois Department of Transportation requires that all salvage cars be inspected following repairs. If the vehicle is older than eight years, it must also be inspected by the state police.

Indiana: Individuals are permitted to rebuild salvage cars on their own. Following repairs, the proper forms must be submitted to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the vehicle will need to be inspected.

Iowa: This state allows individuals to rebuild salvage cars on their own. However, if you will be rebuilding more than six salvage cars in a given year, then you will need to be licensed as an automotive recycler.

Kansas: In the state of Kansas, rules pertaining to the rebuilding and retitling of salvage cars are left up to local municipalities. Please consult your local town government to learn more.

Kentucky: Ordinary individuals are permitted to rebuild salvage cars in the state of Kansas. Following repairs, the vehicle will need to be inspected and the proper forms will need to be filed with the DMV.

Louisiana: There are stringent rules in place for the rebuilding of salvage cars in the state of Louisiana. For this reason, please consult the “Department of Public Safety: Office of Motor Vehicles” to learn which rules apply in your circumstance.

Maine: An individual is allowed to repair and rebuild a salvage car on his or her own in Maine. All receipts for repairs and parts must be kept and submitted along with the requisite forms to the DMV following rebuilding.

Maryland: Sole individuals are permitted to rebuild salvage cars in Maryland. Following repairs, a rebuilt car must be inspected by state police, and then a rebranded title obtained from the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Massachusetts: Individuals may rebuild salvage cars in Massachusetts on their own. The Registry of Motor Vehicles handles post-repair inspections and requires a number of different forms and fees.

Michigan: Individuals may rebuild salvage cars in Michigan, but a licensed mechanic must inspect all rebuilt cars. Following the inspection, the DMV handles the rebranding of salvage cars and new registrations.

Minnesota: An unlicensed person is allowed to rebuild a salvage car in Michigan. Following repairs, all receipts and documentation must be submitted along with the required forms to Driver and Vehicle Services.

Mississippi: Unlicensed persons are allowed to rebuild salvage cars in Mississippi. The Department of Revenue handles the issuance of rebranded titles and new registrations for rebuilt-from-salvage cars.

Missouri: Everyone is allowed to rebuild a salvage car in Missouri. Following repairs, the Motor Vehicle Division requires an inspection and that receipts and documentation for repairs be submitted along with the required forms.

Montana: The rules governing the rebuilding of salvage cars are quite strict in Montana. For this reason, be sure to contact the DMV about your particular circumstance before embarking upon any repairs on your own.

Nebraska: Individuals may repair salvage cars in the state of Nebraska. Following repairs, the vehicle must be inspected by the DMV. A successful inspection will yield a rebranded title.

Nevada: Regular persons are allowed to repair salvage cars in Nevada. However, an inspection of the vehicle by the DMV must be conducted both before and after any repairs are made.

New Hampshire: Ordinary individuals are allowed to rebuild salvage cars in New Hampshire. The DMV handles all post-repair inspections and requires a ‘salvage’ decal be placed on any vehicle granted a rebranded title.

New Jersey: Individuals are permitted to rebuild salvage cars in New Jersey, but they are required to keep photographic evidence of all repairs made.  The rules for repairs can be complex, so please consult the DMV prior to beginning the rebuilding process.

New Mexico: This state allows individuals to rebuild salvage cars on their own. Once repairs have been made, a “Salvage Repair Report” must be submitted to the DMV along with receipts in order for a rebranded title to be granted.

New York: Although New York allows individuals to rebuild salvage cars on their own, it should be noted that the state requires a number of different inspections to be conducted prior to a rebranded title being granted.

North Carolina: The state permits individuals to rebuild salvage cars. Following repairs, the requisite forms along with proof of repairs made must be submitted to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.

North Dakota: The Department of Transportation oversees the rebuilding of salvage cars and does permit sole individuals to conduct repairs. Following repairs, an inspection is conducted before a rebranded title is granted.

Ohio: Unlicensed individuals are allowed to rebuild salvage cars on their own in Ohio. The state highway patrol handles post-repair inspections, and all forms, receipts, and documents are submitted to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Oklahoma: In Oklahoma, salvage cars can be rebuilt by ordinary persons. Following repairs, the vehicle needs to be inspected and the requisite forms filed in order for a rebranded title to be obtained.

Oregon: Ordinary persons can rebuild salvage cars in Oregon. For a rebranded title to be granted, the car must pass a post-repair inspection and the requisite forms and fees must be submitted and paid to the DMV.

Pennsylvania: Individuals may rebuild salvage cars in Pennsylvania, but pictures of the entire repair process must be kept. Following repairs, fees and forms are paid and submitted to PennDOT.

Rhode Island: All repairs for salvage cars must be handled by a licensed mechanic in Rhode Island. Local DMV offices handle all forms and fees associated with obtaining a rebranded title following repairs.

South Carolina: Individuals are permitted in South Carolina to rebuild salvage cars. The DMV handles the entire process and requires a number of forms are submitted and fees paid for a rebranded title to be issued.

South Dakota: Individuals may handle the repairs of salvage cars on their own. Following repairs, a rebranded title can be obtained by submitting the appropriate fees and forms to either the Department of Revenue and Regulation or the Highway Patrol.

Tennessee: One can repair a salvage car on his or her own in Tennessee. Following repairs, the required forms and fees must be paid in order for a rebranded title to be granted.

Texas: The state of Texas allows for individuals to rebuild salvage cars. Local tax assessors will handle rebranding of the salvage title once all of the required repairs have been made.

Utah: In some cases, individuals may be able to rebuild a car from salvage on their own in Utah. However, rules are strict in the state, so it’s advised you contact Utah State Tax Commission Department of Motor Vehicles before embarking on any repairs.

Vermont: The state of Vermont allows individuals to rebuild salvage cars. Rebranded titles are handled by the DMV, which requires a number of different forms to be submitted along with fees and receipts for repairs.

Virginia: Although individuals may rebuild salvage cars in Virginia, those that have been designated as ‘non-repairable’ can only be used for spare parts. The DMV oversees the rebranding of titles.

Washington: Ordinary individuals may rebuild salvage cars in Washington. Following repairs, the Washington State Patrol conducts a vehicle inspection and issues rebuilt titles provided that inspection is passed.

West Virginia: Although one can rebuild a salvage car in West Virginia on his or her own, one must first obtain a package of forms from the DMV prior to beginning any repairs.

Wisconsin: Individuals are permitted to rebuild salvage cars in Wisconsin. All post-repair inspections are handled by State Patrol Salvage Inspectors and rebranded titles are issued by the Department of Transportation.

Wyoming: Unlicensed persons are permitted to rebuild salvage cars in Wyoming. After repairs, a “Branded Title Disclosure” form must be submitted to the Department of Transportation and a “Rebuilt from Salvage” decal must be displayed on the vehicle’s windshield.

For more information about state-by-state laws for salvage cars, check out this tremendous eBook about using online car auctions to buy salvage cars.

Check Out Salvage Cars Online Today

Given that almost every state allows for salvage cars to be rebuilt and operated once again, there’s simply no reason not to check out what’s out there. Simply put, when you buy a salvage car, you’re getting a vehicle for the lowest price possible. Provided you’re savvy in your search and bidding, you may end up saving 70% or even greater on the car you ultimately purchase. So, check out what’s out there today, and see why so many others have chosen to buy salvage cars online!

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