How To Buy Wrecked Cars From Insurance Companies?

There are several factors to consider before buying wrecked cars. The severity of the damage, repair costs and safety are the three main concerns of buying a salvaged vehicle. You can see from the content brief below an overview of how it works.

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When is a Car Titled As Wrecked or Salvaged?

A car is considered wrecked when the cost of damages exceeds its trade-in value. A car with a trade-in value of $3,000 will be marked as salvaged if damages total $7,000.

There are other factors that your claims adjuster may consider when determining whether or not your vehicle should be salvaged. They may consider the condition of the interior, along with the market where your live. 

Some states may require your insurance company to salvage your vehicle if the interior is damaged in any way. Your claims adjuster may recommend against repairs in this case.

There are other conditions where insurance companies must declare a vehicle to be salvaged. They include:

  • Hail and flood damage: Cases of hail or flood damage may mark your vehicle as unsafe to drive. In this case, your claims adjuster will write it off as salvaged.
  • Theft recovery: Insurance companies will pay off a vehicle that’s been stolen. This is especially true when a vehicle hasn’t been recovered for a given amount of time. However, if your vehicle has been located afterwards, your insurance company may give it a title of salvaged.
  • Vandalism: If a vehicle has been broken into, has slashed tires or stolen parts, it is considered to be vandalized. Other cases of vandalized vehicles may include spray painting or burning. Your insurance carrier may decide to issue a salvage title rather than send it for repairs.

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Reasons Cars Get Wrecked

Theft, speeding, and driving while intoxicated are three top reasons cars get wrecked. In other cases, a crash during severe weather may be the culprit.

Is Buying a Wrecked Car Worth It?

If you’re a skilled mechanic or a car hobbyist, then a wrecked vehicle may be for you. But you should know where to get good wrecked cars at a reasonable price.

Where Can I Buy Wrecked Cars?

There are several options for purchasing a wrecked or salvaged vehicle. Salvage yards and scrap lots are excellent places to start.

Another good place is an insurance company or online salvage site. Your odds of finding a far better deal there will be much greater.

Insurance Companies

Different insurance companies offer different prices. You should see a price tag along with information about the vehicle’s history.

From Individual Dealers Online

Online dealers are a better place to start. You can gain a foundation for finding good deals with the following sites:

1. Insurance Auto Auctions

Places such as Insurance Auto Auctions are an excellent start. The company has an easy shopping feature that’s accessible straight from the homepage. Here, you’ll get a view of each vehicle with the price listed. You’ll see a wide collection of vehicles with comparative prices and a detailed history. You can schedule an inspection and take the vehicle for a test drive.

2. Copart

Copart allows users to choose any salvage title from the drop down menu on their homepage. Each vehicle has its own page that comes with a brief summary. You can get an idea about each vehicle before you make your choice.

3. InsuranceSalvageSeller

InsuranceSalvageSeller sources many vehicles from different companies. You can choose from a wide selection and get honest, comparative feedback about each car. There is accurate information about the amount of damage on each vehicle being shown.

4. RideSafely

RideSafely offers thorough information on each vehicle. You’ll have accurate information plus detailed photos of all damaged areas. This gives you a better idea of what to watch for so you can make a good decision.

5. Salvagebid

You’ll have access from a collection of salvaged vehicles near your area on Salvagebid. And if your selection gets sold, don’t worry. The site provides regular updates on other vehicles frequently so you’ll never have to miss anything.

6. eRepairables

eRepairables has a filter through the settings tab that helps you narrow down your search. You can choose any make or model from a vast collection of cars. You can schedule an in-person vehicle inspection before making your final purchase. The site also offers financing options.

7. Dashub

With Dashub, you can begin the process of new vehicle ownership right away. They have a daily Deal of the Day special that showcases a newly salvaged vehicle or something that’s currently trending with other buyers.

8. ASM Auto Recycling

ASM is a UK-based auction site that has options for placing your bid online. The site will walk you through the process step-by-step in order to get the vehicle you want. The site also offers options for putting your wrecked car up for sale for a little extra cash.

9. AutoBidMaster

There are over 150k salvage vehicles at AutoBidMaster. The site has many vehicle types, such as cars, trucks, vans, or SUVs. You can start at the lowest bid and work within your budget. This user-friendly site will walk you through the entire process as needed.

10. HBC Vehicle Services

Like ASM, HBC also serves the UK region. The site has a grand selection, but the only problem is that there are no filters. This means that you’ll need to take your time to go through every option. But the wait may well be worth it.

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How to Buy Wrecked Cars From Insurance Companies?

Buying wrecked cars from insurance companies takes time, effort, and research. It’s best to start by finding a reputable company.

Look For a Trusted Insurance Company

The first step is to search for a company with a good reputation. A Google search will unearth customer ratings and reviews. From there, you’ll be able to decide for yourself which company works best for you.

Participate in the Auto Auctions

Once you’ve landed the perfect company, you’ll need to do further research. Start by thinking about the type of car you want and why.

Yard Auctions

A yard auction is an excellent way to buy a vehicle that has a salvage title. It can work a lot like a dealership in that you’ll get to see the vehicle in person before making your final choice.

You can have the vehicle inspected on-site and even take it for a test drive. The only issue is finding a junkyard in your area. A Google search is a good start.

Online Auction

An online auction is another good solution to finding a salvage title car. The only drawback is that you might get something that malfunctions or is missing critical parts. Look for a site that gives detailed records about the damage. Any inquiries about free inspections and test driving options is strongly encouraged.

Go Through the Cars and Make the Best Choice for Yourself

Decide on the make and model you want. There are things to consider, such as the value of the vehicle. You may want to get something that’s a little newer because it may be easier to restore. At some point, an inspection will be necessary prior to making your purchase.

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Inspect the Car Completely That You Decide to Buy

A mechanic should check the car and look for any problems that make it unsafe to drive. Brakes, wheels, and engine components should be checked for safety and efficiency. Your mechanic should go over the interior and exterior to check for damage.

Things to Check in the Car Interior

An interior should be clean and in working condition. Items such as seating upholstery and the dashboard should get checked for extensive damage. Seat belts should be in good, working order for safety.

Things to Check in the Car Exterior

Your front and rear bumpers should be checked for damage. Windows, side mirrors, and doors will need to be looked at. Plus, tires must have an acceptable PSI level. Any problems with your front and rear lights need to be noted.

Check the Car History

Who was the previous owner? How did the damage happen and when? Knowing the cause of a salvage title is important for those who buy wrecked vehicles.

When Did It Get Damaged?

The date, time, and reason for the damage should be noted at the time of purchase. Any other information can help at this point.

When Did It Receive Salvage Title?

The place where you plan to purchase your vehicle should tell you when the salvage title was given. A good salvage title done in a timely manner ensures that a damaged vehicle wasn’t rebuilt with stolen or defective parts.

How Did It Get Damaged?

The root cause of the damage can help you determine what needs to be fixed. It can also tell you how much damage was done and the estimated repair costs.

How Much Damage Has Been Done To It?

The severity of the damage is critical to making a buying decision. When you attend a live auction, it’s best to bring a licensed mechanic or a good friend who knows about cars. You can save yourself a lot of money by following good advice from a trusted source.

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Estimate the Car’s Repairing Cost

A mechanic should inspect the entire vehicle. Any estimate that exceeds the trade-in value tells you that you may not be getting your money’s worth.

Estimate Your Finances and Buying Capacity

If your finances are tight, keep looking. A good bargain is hard to come by. Again, good advice from a trusted source helps.

Know Who Others Are Willing to Buy the Car(so that you can bid better for it)

Be prepared for the likelihood that others will place a higher bid. The idea of an auction is usually to raise money for something, so it’s best to start saving in advance.

Don’t Go For Blind Auctions

Any auction where sealed bids are submitted is worrisome. You won’t know how much everyone else is bidding, so there’s no way to adjust your offer.

Pros of Buying a Wrecked Car

Wrecked Cars Are Inexpensive

You may land a salvage vehicle for a reasonable price. Plus, it’s good for a teenager who’s a first-time driver.

You Can Use The Expensive Car Parts For Your Other Car

If you’re an auto enthusiast, buying a salvage car is an excellent choice. Even if you can’t drive it, you can scrap the parts and sell them or use them for another car.

You Can Get a Car With Little Damage

An inspection can determine the amount of damage done. A salvage car with minimal damage may actually be a good investment.

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Cons of Buying a Wrecked Car

You Won’t Obtain Full Insurance

Full coverage is hard to come by. Most insurance companies go by the trade-in value when determining a new policy. In some cases, liability coverage may be denied.

You Have To Dive Deep Into The Car’s History(To make sure it still can be used)

Know the mileage of your car. Also, if damage is too extensive, you may wish to reconsider. Go for something with less damage or just get a used vehicle.

Car Might Have a Theft or Other Fraud Record

Being in possession of a stolen vehicle can cause you legal problems. Know who the previous owner was and the vehicle’s backstory before you buy it.

Can I Wash Out The Salvage Title of a Wrecked Car? Is It Legal?

No. Title washing is a federal offense and if caught, may result in fines or prison time. This can be traced by running the car’s VIN number.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between a salvage and a branded car?

Branded cars only suffer minimal to moderate damage, while salvaged cars have been totaled.

2. How to decide whether I want a wrecked car or a new car?

The main thing is to look at your budget. What are you willing to spend? In most cases, a new or used vehicle may be a little safer and a better investment.

3. What are inexpensive alternatives to wrecked cars?

Used cars. Newer models will be worth more, plus a used car can still be within your budget.

4. Can I get a bank loan to buy a wrecked car?

In most cases, no. The trade-in value is too low.

5. Can I get insurance to get a salvage car?

Yes. But you’ll need to look hard. Call or Google several companies and ask about various insurance options that are available for wrecked vehicles.

6. Can I sell a salvage car?

You can only do so with an official salvage certificate.

7. Where to sell a salvage car?

You can sell it at a dealership. They can put it back up for auction.

8. Can I resell a salvage car after buying it?

Yes. As long as you give the buyer a heads-up that the vehicle has been salvaged.

9. Can I return the salvage car to the insurance company? 

No. Any as-is sale on vehicles is final.

10. What does Auto Auction mean?

It means that a wrecked car is sold by auction and granted to the highest bidder.

11. What does it mean by a totaled vehicle?

A totaled vehicle has damages that make it inoperable. The cost of repairs exceeds the trade-in value.

12. What is the total loss threshold?

A total loss threshold is any cost in vehicle repairs that exceeds a percentage of the car’s total value.

13. Does the total loss threshold vary from state to state?

Yes. Some set it as low as 65%, while others set the percentage as high as 100% of the total value.

Final Thoughts

If you’re an auto hobbyist, a salvaged car is a good investment. You can experiment with different ways to fix it and increase its resale value. And even if that junker cannot be restored, you can still profit from using the right parts.


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