Where To Buy Damaged Cars From Insurance Companies

Where Do Those Cars Go?

A lot of people have the unfortunate experience of being in fender-benders. Fortunately, in most cases, drivers and passengers end up personally unharmed. Many times, insurance companies “write off” the car, declaring it a total loss. You may think it’s repairable, but the insurance company decides that the repair cost is too close to the actual value of the car.

You, or someone close to you, might have been in this situation. The car suffered some damage that looked fixable. You think you yourself could fix it! But the insurance company called it a total loss. Ever wonder what happens to these cars? Insurance companies sell them at specialty auctions that are usually limited to dealers and wholesalers. The secret is, you too can buy damaged cars from insurance auctions.

You Too Can Get Into Insurance Auctions To Buy Damaged Cars!

Damaged Nissan 350Z At Salvage Auction
Damaged Nissan 350Z Before Auction

Traditionally, these insurance auctions were places where people who make a living off repairing and rebuilding cars as well as selling used cars went to find cars. It’s basic economics: buy low, sell high. But now, thanks to sites like SalvageReseller.com, average consumers can participate. Brokers will enter bids on your behalf at some large auctions held nationwide by companies like Copart.com. Compete against the pros for great deals on cars.

Before going further, you have to check your state’s DMV rules on retitling salvage cars. Because when an insurance company writes off a car, the state will force them to issue a salvage title, meaning it cannot be driven on the streets. In order to get the salvage title changed, different states have different requirements.

Risks and Rewards When You Buy Damaged Cars

Damaged Honda Ridgeline Before Salvage Auction
Honda Ridgeline Salvage Title

You need to enter the world of salvage car auctions with a clear view of what you are getting into. These are cars that have been in collisions, were stolen, suffered damage in a flood or hailstorm. Many are good only for parts, even if they claim they are “repairable”. Others have issues that make them potential money pits, that will bleed you dry.

You can avoid a lot of problems by doing two basic things before you even bid on a car. First, run the VIN number through services that check a car’s history. The second “must” is to have a professional mechanic look at the car before you even bid on it.

What To Look For At An Insurance Auction

You want to make sure that the frame/unibody is straight. Cars with bent frames are a nightmare. Repair is expensive and there is no guarantee that the metal is as strong as it was pre-accident. You also need to make sure the major components (like the drivetrain) are sound and that the damage is repairable with easily available parts. The other main point is to avoid flood damaged cars. They have problems that can come up months after your purchase.

When you have sorted these issues out, you are in a good position to bid on salvage cars. Hopefully paying wholesale prices for cars just like the pros do!