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4 Ways a Car Can Receive a Salvage Title

Imagine browsing through a online car auction site and suddenly your eyes land on a couple of cars in mint condition. But then you see the word ‘salvage.’
You may be wondering what a salvage title on these salvage cars for sale is all about, in case you don’t already know it. An insurance company awards this title to a vehicle when the vehicle sustains damage following an accident or natural disaster, and cost to repair the damage exceeds the actual value of the vehicle. In such a situation, the insurance company tags it as total loss and gets rid of it through an auto auction.

While regulations related to salvage titles vary from state to state, there are 4 common reasons why a car receives this title. Let’s find out together.

1. Total Loss

Typically, insurance companies label a car ‘total loss’ and assign ‘salvage’ title when the damage is so extensive that it’s not worth to repair it as the cost to repair would exceed the original value of the vehicle. As a national standard, it is usually 75 percent and above.

2. Natural Disaster

Sometimes, a car suffers damage from the fury of nature such as hurricane or flood. Generally, such cars are pulled out of circulation, but somehow some of them give authorities the slip and return to roads. Such vehicles are also declared salvage.

3. Stolen and Recovered

At times, a car is stolen and the insurance company replaces it. The car may be found later on by the owner or the police. Still in that case it receives a salvage title as soon as it is found, and the insurance company regards it as total loss as in accident damage cases.

4. Kit Cars

These are vehicles that have been customized using different parts from donor vehicles. Usually replicas and modifications to existing as well classic cars are the main reason behind kit cars. They also hold salvage titles, and governments usually dispose them as junk cars for sale.


In addition to the above, a car may receive salvage title when it runs on a considerable number of aftermarket components, or when the car owner simply forgot to re-title his vehicle. Anyways, buying a salvage car is a bit trickier than a repo car, which are repairable cars for sale by comparison. Since insurers already declare salvage vehicles total loss, one can buy them from an auction only if they are willing to bear the costs of repairing. Otherwise, it’s not worth it.

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Tags: Cars, For, Junk, Repairable, Sale, Salvage, for


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