Salvage Title Cars: Good or Bad Idea?

A lot of car buyers have some prior knowledge of cars that have been given salvage titles, yet are clueless when it comes to the ins and outs of what a salvage title actually is. Many people in their car search find their perfect vehicle, often with a great price, and become nervous or apprehensive when they hear about the title not being clear. This nervousness is very understandable, since most of us have been programmed into thinking that a car that has been in an accident is much less valuable than one that has not. The truth is, this simply is not true, especially if the accident was minor and did not affect the functionality of the car (it is very rare that the functionality is affected).

Most people do not know this, but a large number of cars out there have had some kind of accident that has required bodywork of some sort. Whether or not Carfax or other history report shows it does not necessarily mean anything, as they only receive information that is passed to them from other sources. In fact, if a car is in a major collision, yet is never seen by an insurance company or police report, the owner can have it repaired by a small body shop, and nobody would ever know about it. On the other hand, all accidents are not created equally, and a salvage title can be issued for a very wide variety of things.

On that note, if a vehicle has been involved in a collision or sustained damage that gave it a salvage title afterwards, that is not a representation of the extent of damage per se, rather it refers to the appraisal amount to repair the vehicle. If the amount is above a certain percentage of the vehicles overall value, the insurance company may issue it as a total loss.

Given that clarification, it is apparent that two cars can have hugely different damages, yet both be given the same branding of title status. That is the first point to understand when painting a clearer picture on salvage title cars. some other factors include:

1. Overall vehicle cost to begin with — the less a car is worth, the less damage it needs to reach that percentage, thus becoming a total loss/salvage vehicle.

2. Price of replacement parts and repairs variation — a more expensive and/or rare car is going to have a higher mark-up in repair cost, because the parts are vital to the proper repair. also, if a car is more difficult to work on for the repair company, that requires more labor hours, which equals more money.

3.The appraiser is important — who is looking at the car will give a different answer every time some body shops charge more per hour, while some charge a giant fee, regardless of the amount of work required.

Along with the above list, much more comes into play when a vehicle is branded as salvage. This article’s purpose is to get you thinking differently about salvage cars, as they are not all terrible as they are made out to be. Our recommendations are to: 1. have the car inspected 2. go for rebuilt or prior salvage, as they have already been repaired and inspected by state officials (highway patrol), and have passed 3. ask the seller to provide pictures of the damage(s) that lead to the title being branded as salvage. these steps will help you determine if the car is worth it to you, since you can get amazing deals on these cars and they are usually great ones!