Salvage Title Car: Bargain or Nightmare?
Sometimes, as you scroll through various listings of a used car, you might come across the ride of your dreams for a price that seems too good to be true.
You keep looking at the images, and everything seems perfect. The car has a luxurious-looking interior, beautiful shiny paint, and a straight body panel. But as you keep scanning, you see two words in the description -Salvage title.
If you’re wondering what a salvage title car means, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we have provided you with all the information about salvage titles cars so you can make an informed decision.
Without delay, let’s dive in!
What Is A Salvage Title On A Car Mean?
When you see a vehicle listed as having a salvage title, it means the car got involved in a serious accident of some sort.
Usually, the wreck to the car is so extensive that the cost of repairs is near or excess of the value of the vehicle.
The damage to salvage title cars doesn’t necessarily have to be as a result of a crash. It can be caused by natural disasters, like floods, hailstones, or even fire.
When insurance companies repair and resell a totaled car, they will often issue a salvage title. This title makes it clear to customers that the vehicle has had serious damage in the past.
Title brands like salvage title also make it’s harder for thieves to steal a totaled car and change its registration and identification number to a stolen vehicle to cover their tracks.
Totaled cars can get repaired or sold in the same condition that they were in after an accident. Either way, a salvage title is forever. Once a car is labeled salvage title. It’s branded permanently as a salvage vehicle, irrespective of its current state.
However, the rules regarding what would happen to a car once a car is totaled vary from state to state.
For Instance, in Minnesota, the rules say salvage title is required for the mentioned situations below:
- An insurance company acquires the wrecked vehicle after settling a loss claim.
- A car has an out-of-state salvage title.
- A car’s damage is more than 80 percent of its value, and the owner is self-insured.
The state of New York has similar regulations. But with minor differences like the cost of repair must total 75 percent or more of the vehicle’s pre-damage market value.
In most states in the U.S., drivers can’t drive a salvage title car on public roads.
Therefore, it’s wise to check with your state’s department of motor vehicle services to determine what’s considered a salvage vehicle where you reside.
Other Common Automotive Title Brands
Besides salvage title cars, there are several types of brand titles that a state can place on a vehicle. Most of the time, the brand title used relates to the damage that was incurred, alerting a potential customer that a car has suffered wreckage in the past.
Here’s a list of the most common brand title to watch out for:
- Clear Title: This brand title indicates that a vehicle has never been involved in a major accident. But sometimes, a vehicle with a clear title can be flawed. This is especially true if the car got involved in an accident in a location where reporting a collision is unnecessary. Or it was in a wreck, and the insurance agency didn’t receive a report.
- Rebuilt: Once a salvaged vehicle undergoes repairs and gets considered drivable again by state law, it’s issued a rebuilt title. The brand title might vary from one state to another and include rebuilt, repaired, or reconstructed. Some states don’t have these brand names, so the repaired cars often keep their salvage brand in these cases.
- Lemon: Most states have some form of lemon laws, which permits a potential buyer to return vehicles that require lots of repairs because of factory defects. For a new car to be considered a lemon, it must spend over 30 days out of commission or have the same issue repaired several times without results.
- Odometer rollback: If a vehicle gets altered to appear to have lower miles than what has actually been driven, it receives the odometer rollback. The title shows odometer fraud, which is a federal crime.
- Flood: Automotive that have been through flood face several issues, including mildew, mold, mechanical and electrical problems. If a car has a foot history, it might receive a flood title or water damage title.
- Hail Damage: A vehicle that was previously in a hailstone and the owner made a claim, a state Department of Motor Vehicles or insurance company might report the claim. Depending on the state, the vehicle could receive a hail damage branded title.
Can You Insure a Salvage Title Car?
It’s possible to ensure a salvage-title car. But it might be more difficult to do so, especially for those who want full coverage with collision and comprehensive.
Most insurance companies will write a liability policy for the salvage title car. But they are often doubtful to cover collision and comprehensive.
Insurance companies, dealerships, and used car buyers might have a hard time issuing a value to your vehicle since they don’t know its condition under the surface. As a result, your car can have a lower resale value.
Additionally, there’s the issue of safety. Salvage cars usually have issues that may or may not get addressed in the process of rebuilding. Not all auto rebuilders are honest; some of them love taking shortcuts to boost their profitability. These can result in a car with alignment and structural problems, making them dangerous to drive.
If an insurance company writes a policy on your rebuilt salvage vehicle, expect to pay a high premium. If you’re looking to fix up a salvage title car, consider shopping around for an auto insurance company before investing your money.
Is Buying a Salvage Title Car Worth It?
Well, it all boils down to the money and amount of time you’re ready to invest. Also, it depends on your comfort level with repairs and attention to detail.
If you enjoy working on a vehicle and you have enough time to search for the right auto insurance carrier, a salvage title car might be for you.
But before you make a decision. Ensure you know what you’re doing, or your purchase might become one big pain in the back.