Title salvage
What is Salvage title? Buyer Tips

What is a Rebuild Salvage Car Title and Should I Buy One?

By Mike Richards Posted: 06/06/2019

There are many ways to buy and sell cars and many types of cars in many different conditions to choose from. One of the options available to buyers, besides finding a new or a used vehicle, is to buy a repaired salvage car. A salvage car comes with a specific title designating its condition as salvage. This means that it cannot be driven on the road, but it can be repaired and rebuilt.

Once that is done, and provided it fulfills the legal requirements, the car can receive a new title as a rebuilt salvage car. The repaired salvage cars will be a lot cheaper. This makes them attractive options for those buyers looking for a cheap set of wheels.

Where do Rebuild Salvage Cars Come from?

Rebuild salvage cars come from previously totaled cars that lost value due to a claim being paid for by the insurance company. The actual designation of a salvage car varies from state to state. Some states consider a car with repair cost at 50% of the original value to denote a car as now salvage. Others only consider a car as salvage when the repair cost is 100% of the value. On average, the threshold is around and 70% of the total value of the car.

However, there are cases where a car is considered salvage due to theft or factory defects. A salvage car is not necessarily a car that had an accident, but instead, a car that the insurance company deemed not worth the cost of repair. Some have been listed as stolen, and the premiums paid out by insuers, before the car was recovered. Even if the vehicle has no damage whatsoever.

These cars are then sold at auction. Some are bought for parts. Others, on the other hand, are then repaired and re-registered. Of these, some are repaired to be driven by the person who bought them while others are then sold on to other buyers.

Can You Drive a Repair or Rebuilt Salvage Car?

Yes! When it comes to rebuild salvage cars, some people doubt that they are safe to drive. Many people also believe they can never get insurance again. This could not be further from the truth. In actuality, as long as the car has fulfilled the inspection conditions and has insurance, the car can be driven anywhere.

Car Repairs

Where do You Find Salvage Vehicles?

Salvage vehicles cannot usually be bought at your local auction, as they are usually listed directly from the insurance companies on dealer-only auction sites. One way of getting your hands on these vehicles is to buy through proxy bidding companies, such as Auto Auction Mall. You can find out more about this process here: Buying Salvage Vehicles from Online Auctions.

Do Qualifications for a Rebuilt Salvage Car Change from State to State?

Yes, from state to state the requirements for the salvage title does change, as mentioned before. When you purchase a previously totaled or stolen vehicle, the cost of insurance for the vehicle may be higher depending on the history of the vehicle.

Find out more about the rebuilt title rules for each state here.

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Further Reading

The Benefits of Buying a Rebuild or Repaired Salvage Car?

Rebuild salvage cars are a great opportunity for a smart buyer to save some money. When it comes to buying a rebuild salvage car, there are several pros.

Cheap Purchasing Value

Rebuilt salvage cars, even in very good condition, cost substantially less than used cars with the same specs, even in roughly the same condition. A salvage title will always make the car cheaper. It will also make it harder to resell. But if you’re just looking for a cheap car, rather than an investment, they may be the way to go.

For Sale Sign in Windshield

Great Condition

These vehicles are usually in good condition, after being rebuilt. For a vehicle to be granted a rebuilt title, all sorts of inspections need to have taken place. The repairer needs to be able to show what parts have been replaced, and that all safety features are in working order. In many cases, due to replaced parts, a repaired salvage car may well be in a better condition than a used car of a similar age.

The Risks of Purchasing a Salvage Vehicle?

Many people looking to buy cars may be turned away by the ex-salvage title. This will make it harder to resell. The downsides include insurance and your ability to know you have all the facts. There are, however, ways of minimizing these risks.

Issues with Insurance

Not many companies will want to insure a previously totaled or damaged car. Even if you can show that the vehicle has been properly restored, the insurance companies may find it difficult to evaluate the viability of the car. However, if you know an insurance company that does work with salvage cars, you can overcome this hurdle. In particular, you can submit your car to an inspection by an agent of the insurance company. You may still be charged a higher premium.

Issues with Transparency at Purchase

Online Car Sales

As with everything bought online or even in person, transparency is always a concern. You need to know if a vehicle is being advertised truthfully and if no information is omitted. There are risks in buying such vehicles. This is especially the case when you can’t inspect the car in person or meet the salesperson face-to-face.

There are, however, some ways of minimizing these problems. If you are buying at an online auction, you can use the VIN to research vehicle history online. The listings usually also include a large number of photographs and details to help you make a decision. Also, when buying through a proxy bidder you will have the help of customer support staff throughout the process.

The Title of the Car

Once a car has been deemed a salvage car by the insurance company, it will always hold a salvage title independent of its condition. The title can be a real setback if you ever think of reselling the car in the future.

Newcomers should be cautious, do their research and, if possible, get advice from experienced buyers. By doing so, possible buyers can avoid scams and possible blunders when making deals on salvage cars.

Salvage Car For Sale

Should I Consider Buying a Rebuild or Repaired Salvage Car?

If you are not concerned with the history of the vehicle and only with the physical condition of the car, the answer is yes. If you want to acquire a car at a much cheaper price than the market value of used vehicles, then yes. Also, if you are a dealer looking for cars that can be bought for very cheap and then sold for a good income, yes, you should buy a rebuild salvage car

On the other hand, if you do not want to risk the possibility of improperly repaired vehicles, omitted issues, insurance companies denying insurance to the car, or you are a total newcomer to this market, you might want to think carefully before buying a rebuilt salvage car. In either case, it’s important that you do your research and get proper advice.