by Anna Haug
Imagine this, you are looking to buy a car and you find a great deal on a salvaged car. Do you know why that car is being sold at such a great price and what it really means to buy a salvaged car? Buying a salvaged vehicle can be a great bargain or a nightmare just waiting to happen, depending upon how careful you are.
A salvaged vehicle means that at some point in the vehicle's history the car has been claimed a total loss by an insurance company because of accident or flood damage. It could also mean that it is a recovered stolen vehicle. Laws may vary by state on how they determine what a salvaged vehicle is. Check with the state's motor vehicle department for up to date information.
A vehicle title is a legal form establishing a person or a business as the legal owner of a vehicle. If a vehicle is salvaged, it may be given a salvaged title by a state's motor vehicle department. Having a salvaged title may affect getting insurance for your vehicle and the resale value of your vehicle.
Every state has a law that requires that owners and operators of vehicles have insurance. There are different types of auto insurance. One of the types that are required in most states is liability. Liability insurance covers others that you cause damage. Full coverage refers to having liability, comprehensive and collision coverage.
You may be able to find liability insurance for a salvaged vehicle. However, most companies will not offer comprehensive or collision insurance for salvaged vehicles. An insurer views salvaged vehicles as a risk to insure.
Although the vehicle may look fine to the average buyer, if it has been recently salvaged it may have problems that you can't detect. The Iowa Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that, "if you are interested in purchasing a vehicle with a "prior salvage" designation, have it inspected by a qualified professional mechanic."
Something else to be aware of is salvage fraud. Salvage fraud happens when a dealer purchases a salvaged vehicle, makes minimal repairs and sells it to a driver that is unaware of the vehicle's history. In some cases, the title may not even say it is salvaged if they have gone through another state with less strict salvage titling laws. If you aren't sure where the vehicle is from, especially if it has an out of state title, you may want to consider a different purchase.