How to Buy Accident Damaged Cars

A vehicle with a salvage title identifies it as being an accident vehicle, flood damaged or as a theft recovery. The insurance company often designates this type of vehicle as a total loss and decides to sell it to a salvage or auction salvage dealer. The dealer then offers it to the consumer as a salvage vehicle to be repaired and inspected for road safety.

Learn the different between a salvage title and a normal vehicle title. Different states have different laws regarding salvage vehicles. A salvage title can be identified as a restored title, rebuilt from salvage, revived title or rebuilt title, depending on the state you are in. Contact your local DMV to see what the regulations are when rebuilding a salvage vehicle. Many states require you to keep all your repair receipts so you can prove that the car or repair parts were not stolen. Understand that insurance companies will offer insurance for a car with a salvage title, but the car will have a lower value than a car with a normal clear title.

Analyse the type of car you want. Factor in the number of cylinders, kinds of amenities and type of vehicle you want. Avoid making too specific a choice when it comes to make and model. You may find the type of vehicle you want, but you may have a harder time finding a specific make, colour and model.

Locate a salvage dealer or online auction dealer such as TT Repairables, eRepairables or 43 Auto. Look through available cars and pay attention to the damage listed. Find out how the car was damaged and how extensive that damage is. Pay attention to frame and electrical damage. Find out if the car runs or not. A salvage sale or auctions is often up for a week or more, giving you time to get approximate repair cost estimates. So take the vehicle specifications for the vehicles you like to a bodyworks garage you work with. Ask for an estimate of the body repair work.

Add the asking price of the car, or the amount you are willing to bid on the vehicle the cost of transporting the car and the price of fixing the car. Analyse whether the repaired vehicle will be worth the total cost to you.

Contact the salvage dealer and ask for the car you want, if you can't find what you want. See if the firm has one that isn't listed yet. Negotiate a price.

Purchase the car you want and arrange for transportation. Most salvage dealers or auction dealers can help you make transportation arrangements. Expect your car to arrive in approximately 30 days and expect repairs to take another 30 to 60 days, depending on the bodyworks garage you use.

Things You'll Need

  • A reliable repair shop
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About the Author

Jennifer Moore began writing in 2006, specializing in Web content, blogs and forum postings. She is a graduate from the most prestigious university in Mexico, Universidad de Las Americas, with a B.A. in international relations, later obtaining a U.S. teacher's degree and an additional CompTIA A+ certification in computer technology. Moore has written for My Mexico Living, BoomersAbroad and various other websites.