This past Memorial Day weekend, I was stranded in the Houston airport during the record setting storms that pummeled Texas. The torrential rains and terrible lighting were powerful, but as terrible as these storms were for Texans, the trouble was just beginning. Countless vehicles that were submerged by flood waters are now being labeled salvaged, cleaned up and are beginning to reappear across the country.
The average person may not know that a salvaged title refers to the status that is given to a vehicle that has been damaged so badly that it is beyond financial sense to repair, so insurance companies declare it a total loss. The percentage rate of damage necessary for a vehicle to be claimed as a complete loss is typically 50-95%.
Why are Vehicles Salvaged?
A vehicle might receive a salvage title if it has been extensively damaged by an accident, weather events such as a flood or hail, theft and vandalism. And after a car has been assigned this title, it is typically sold for salvageable parts. If the car is repaired, it must pass a basic safety test in most states before a new title is issued. These branded titles might say totaled, reconditioned, salvaged, rebuilt, warranty returned or junked.
- Why Would You Want One?
These vehicles can be a value for someone with limited resources. Consumer Reports calculates the selling prices for these cars to be at approximately 50% below Kelley Blue Book value. And a car with simple cosmetic damage from a hail storm is not going to have compromised electrical and structural integrity and will still be roadworthy.
- Why You Wouldn’t Want One
Safety is first and foremost, and while significant damage to bumpers, fenders, hood doors, tailgates, and interiors are fixable problems, some issues are more significant. Electrical and structural damage are not only expensive problems that can be hidden by a disreputable seller, but these particular imperfections could potentially compromise you and your loved ones' safety. It can also be difficult to find an insurance company to insure these vehicles, much less at a reasonable rate.
Another issue to consider is if another vehicle crashes into your salvaged car. Their insurance company might not pay for any bodily harm you suffer because of your vehicle’s damaged title. It should also be noted that these salvaged cars are hard to resell and are usually 'ride till they die' because it is so difficult to determine value, and most people do not want the uncertainty that comes with a branded title.
What to Watch Out For
There are many car-related scams to be aware of, besides shoddy repair work. One of the main ones is title washing, which is when a vehicle is transferred to a state with different titling requirements in order to hide incurred damage. Another scheme to watch out for is car clipping. This is when two different cars are literally welded together, and photographic evidence of this practice is terrifying. "Buyer Beware" is the prevailing wisdom with a salvage title, and it is advised to have a mechanic carefully inspect the vehicle, and do your due diligence in researching why a salvage title was issued.
At Auto Credit Express, we believe everyone should have the peace of mind that comes with owning a reliable vehicle. Even if your credit needs some salvaging of its own, we can help you find safe transportation today when you fill out our quick and secure application.