Online car auctions have completely changed the game for ordinary auto buyers. Through websites like Auto Auction Mall, consumers can now gain access to the same kinds of deals that have long been enjoyed by licensed dealers. What’s more is that these consumers can enjoy the convenience of shopping an extensive inventory of vehicles (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.) from the comfort of their own homes.
There’s one category of vehicle, in particular, that warrants special consideration: salvage cars. When you’re looking to buy a vehicle at the lowest possible price, online salvage car auctions are undoubtedly the way to go. These reasons are manifold, and we’ll be explaining them below.
An Explanation of Salvage Cars
Newcomers to online dealer auctions frequently misunderstand what a salvage car is. In the simplest possible terms, a salvage car is one that has had its insurance policy paid out to the insured at 75% or greater of the vehicle’s value. As you might expect, this can happen for a multitude of reasons.
But, Aren’t All Salvage Cars Junk Vehicles?
Forefront in the minds of most bidders is the idea that a salvage car is one that has been totaled, either through an accident or another calamity. Sure enough, this is the case with many salvage cars. However, one should think about what precisely this means before writing off salvage cars entirely.
When a vehicle is wrecked in an accident or collision, an insurance company will make a mathematical assessment. Is the cost to repair the vehicle in excess of what the vehicle is worth? If the answer is yes, then the decision to pay out the policy (rather than pay for repairs) is made.
Remember, though, that the cost of repairs is not as hard and fast as it seems. For example, you might be a person with mechanical skill and the ability to source parts. For you, the ‘cost of repairs’ would be much lower than what the insurance company assessed. Even if this is not the case, remember also that insurance companies often pay out policies as a means of expediting a claim, rather than as a cold mathematical fact.
But, here’s the key point. Not all salvage cars are those that have been damaged in an accident or collision. For example, many are ‘theft-recovery’ vehicles. These are cars that have been stolen, had their policies paid out, and then have been subsequently recovered. These kinds of vehicles may have suffered no damage at all, yet they will still be issued a salvage title due to their policies having been paid out.
Those who are looking to find that ‘diamond in the rough’ would be well advised to look for these ‘theft-recovery’ vehicles. Many times, these can be the source of the very best deals to be found in online salvage car auctions.
Rebuilding a Salvage Car: Understand the Laws
When you buy a salvage car in a dealer auction, there are things that you will need to do that you would not had you purchased an ordinary used vehicle. Most importantly, you will almost always need to make repairs to the vehicle in order for it to be roadworthy once again. In doing this, there are numerous things of which you’ll need to be aware.
Every state has different laws that govern the rebuilding and retitling of salvage cars. So, before you begin bidding, be sure to see what your state requires. Generally speaking, you’ll find that most states require that thorough documentation of all repairs be kept. Specifically, you will need to hang onto any receipts for parts and labor.
Beyond this, you may find additional laws. For example, there are a number of states that require photographs to be taken before and after repairs. Also, do note that there are some states that only allow salvage cars to be repaired by mechanics whom are licensed to do so.
When repairs have been made in compliance in accordance with your state’s laws, the vehicle will need to be inspected. Provided this inspection is passed, the vehicle’s salvage title will be rebranded as ‘rebuilt from salvage’.
Rebuilding a Salvage Car: Getting Insurance
There’s another way in which buying a salvage car in an online auction differs from buying a used car. You’ll find that comprehensive insurance can be a bit difficult to obtain.
The fact is that many insurance companies are loath to provide comprehensive coverage to cars rebuilt from salvage. However, if you have a long-standing relationship with your present insurer, they may be willing to work with you. Beyond this, there are in fact a number of insurers who specialize in providing comprehensive coverage for salvage cars. However, you’ll most often find that the premiums are quite high.
Liability coverage, unlike comprehensive coverage, should be easy to find. In fact, this will likely be the only kind of coverage you really need. When you combine the low costs of the car itself and the repairs made, comprehensive coverage is almost always in excess of what’s needed. If, however, your rebuilt-from-salvage car is especially valuable (say a rebuilt collectible car), then searching for comprehensive coverage online may be worth it in your case.
Explore Your Options in Online Salvage Car Auctions
Now that you know everything you need to know about online salvage car auctions, you may wish to explore your options. Doing so is incredibly easy! All you need to do is create an account, after which you can begin browsing the incredible selection of salvage cars that are available.
Should you find what you’re looking for, bidding is only a matter of making a deposit to establish your buying power. To work out how much you will need to deposit, be sure to consult the auction specialist assigned to you. In addition to helping you with this, he or she can also help to expand your search so that you can find precisely what you’re looking for. In the end, this will make it possible for you to get an incredible deal in an online salvage car auction!