10 Tips for Buying a Salvage Auto


The Purchase Details

Some of the things you'll want to consider when looking at a salvage car are insurance, warranty, financing, registration, claims and resale.

  • Insurance: Insuring a salvage car varies by state and by insurer, but you should expect to get at least liability insurance in most states from most companies.
  • Warranty: Don't count on it. In fact, you can almost be sure there will be no warranty offered on a salvage auto. Ask, though — some salvage dealers may offer some warranties.
  • Financing: Again, don't count on it. Most salvage buyers pay cash.
  • Registration: This varies by state. In some states, a police officer must inspect a salvage-title car before it can be registered and driven. In others, a repair shop certification is required for licensing. Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles for details.
  • Claims: So you've wrecked your salvaged car? Good thing you found an insurance company that offers comprehensive. Still, don't expect them to pay more than 80 percent of the car's listed value. For this reason, many owners of salvage cars choose not to pay for insurance outside their state's required minimums.
  • Resale: Once a salvage title, always a salvage title, even if you pay for repairs that restore the auto to 100 percent of its working condition. You shouldn't expect to resell your salvage auto for big bucks.