It seems that now, more than ever, people are looking for ways to save money; however, this is nothing new for those interested in buying a car. It’s pretty common to buy a used car to save a few (and even hundreds) dollars, especially for first-time car buyers. If you didn’t know, there’s a way to save even more when buying a car, and that’s by looking for vehicles with salvage titles.
This is where you come in. You’ve seen a salvage titled vehicle, and, at least from the outside, it doesn’t look too bad, and in fact, you think it may be repairable. You can, but first, consider reading this article carefully, where we explain the pros and cons of buying a car with a salvage title.
What is a salvage title?
- A salvage title is a vehicle make designation representing a car that has been damaged or deemed a total loss by the insurance company which has paid a claim on it.
- A car is also considered salvage when the insurer determines that the repair cost is high than its market value.
- The salvage title is also given to vehicles with problems that are easy to fix or sometimes cars with minor and insignificant damage. These “not-so-damaged salvage title cars” are cheap, and this is why collectors and car dealers invest in them. However, many experts still advise prospective buyers and buyers to be cautious when purchasing salvage title vehicles, as they could spend their money on a car with irreparable damage.
The pros of a car with a salvage title
In most cases, the price is very, very attractive.
This is by far the big pro of buying a salvage title: You can save a lot of money. Salvage titled cars are relatively cheap, sometimes even selling for pennies on the dollar. And if you are a creative person, you can see great potential where no one sees more than useless junk!
You could end up lucky.
Insurers who declare the destruction of the vehicle do so when the repair cost is too much compared to the value of the car. But there’s a chance the company didn’t look hard enough at the car’s damage before deciding. By carefully looking at salvage title cars, you may find a hidden gem, and it would be you who will surely end up winning.
Sometimes the damage can be extensive but not easily detectable, such as a bent chassis or electrical failure due to flood damage. Unless you’re an expert, make sure to have it thoroughly checked out by a trusted mechanic and give their opinion on it as well.
The salvage title is forever.
The salvage mark is permanent, so it is impossible to change it once a car receives it. Not even if it is repaired and returned to almost new condition. In fact, in most states, once a salvage vehicle is returned to a safe operating order, it must be inspected and approved by the DMV for the owner to drive it legally.
In this case, the car’s salvage title will be renamed “rebuilt,” but everyone will know that the vehicle was once inoperable. And while this is better than having a salvage title, having a rebuilt title means a significantly lower asking price if you decide to sell it later, regardless of the time, effort, and money you put into it.
Insurance will be a big hassle.
It is common for insurance companies to put buts when granting policies to rebuilt vehicles that were previously salvaged title. The main reason is that if you have an accident, the insurer may have difficulty determining whether or not it is the fault of an old technical problem that was poorly solved. Also, since the car was deemed unroadworthy, the chances of it breaking down again, or causing a severe accident, are higher than for a vehicle that has never been in an accident.
Is it worth buying a salvage title vehicle? It all comes down to the amount of time and money you’re willing to invest, your comfort level, and your attention to detail. If you like working on such a car, spending long hours searching for insurance companies, going through reams of paperwork, and dealing with a host of additional hassles, then perhaps a salvage title vehicle is for you. You know what you’re getting into before taking the plunge; otherwise, it can become a massive headache.
If you’re not going to be repairing yourself, make sure you have a great, inexpensive mechanic who can get parts for you cheaply.