Are you looking for a cheap vehicle? You may have considered buying a salvage title car listed at a very attractive price. This is an option that many people think about when looking for a vehicle on a tight budget, especially with car prices on the rise.

A salvage title car is one that an insurance company previously deemed a total loss. This could result from extensive damage caused by accidents, floods, or other events. While purchasing a salvage title car can offer significant savings, there are also potential drawbacks.

What Are the Pros of Buying a Salvage Title Car?

Buying a salvage car might seem risky, but it has its benefits. The cost is the main one, but it’s only one of many. Consider the following:

  • Cost savings: Lower costs are among the most important reasons for buying these cars. Due to their damage history, salvage title vehicles are often priced up to 40% lower than their clean title counterparts. This can make them an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers or those looking for a project car.
  • Potential for increased value: If you have the skills and resources to repair a salvage title car, you can increase its value and potentially sell it for a profit. This can be appealing to car enthusiasts or those with mechanical expertise.
  • Potential for little or no damage. Sometimes, insurance companies write off a car because of theft. If law enforcement later recovers the vehicle after the insurance has completed the claim process, the car might still have a salvage title even though it has little or no damage.
  • Availability of parts: Salvage title cars can be a valuable source of parts for other vehicles. If you own a similar make and model, purchasing a salvage title car can provide you with spare parts at a lower cost than buying new components.

What Are the Cons of Buying a Salvage Title Car?

A mechanic performs repairs on a salvage title car.

A salvage title can make car ownership challenging. Here are some potential downsides to watch out for:

  • Difficulty obtaining financing and insurance: Salvage title cars can be more challenging to finance and insure due to their history of damage. Many lenders and insurance companies may have underwriting practices that assign a high level of risk to these vehicles, making it more difficult for buyers to secure the necessary funds and protection.
  • Potential for hidden damage: While a salvage title car may appear to be in good condition, there could be concealed damage hiding behind a new paint job. This can lead to unexpected repair costs and safety concerns down the road.
  • Limited warranty coverage: Salvage title cars are often sold “as-is” with no warranty coverage. This means buyers will be responsible for any repairs or issues arising after the purchase. 

What Is the Process for Buying a Car With a Salvage Title?

After reviewing the pros and cons of buying a salvage title car, you might decide it’s the right move for you. Be sure to do your research and follow through with all your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. These steps can help:

  1. Research the vehicle’s history: Before buying, research the vehicle’s history to understand the extent of the damage and any previous repairs. You can do this by using the Vehicle Identification Number and by obtaining a vehicle history report. 
  2. Inspect the car: An experienced mechanic can also spot undocumented damage and repairs. A thorough vehicle inspection by a qualified mechanic is crucial to identify any hidden damage or potential safety concerns. This can help you make an informed decision about whether the car is worth purchasing and repairing.
  3. Obtain financing and insurance: Securing financing and insurance for a salvage title car can be more challenging. Researching your options and working with lenders and insurance companies willing to provide coverage for these vehicles is essential. Ask the seller for recommendations.
  4. Complete necessary repairs: Once you’ve purchased the car, you must complete any repairs required to ensure the vehicle is safe and roadworthy. If you have the skills and resources, you could do this on your own. Otherwise, you may need to work with a professional mechanic.
  5. Apply for a rebuilt title: After the repairs, you may need to apply for a rebuilt title to legally register and drive the car. This process varies by state, so research your local requirements and follow the necessary steps.

What Are Best Practices for Safely Buying a Car With a Salvage Title?

A man shakes hands with the seller after buying a salvage title car.

These best practices can help you avoid many of the scams that often accompany the sale of salvage title vehicles. Review them carefully:

  • Work with a reputable seller: When purchasing a salvage title car, choose a reputable seller who is transparent about the vehicle’s history and condition. This can help you avoid purchasing a car with undisclosed issues.
  • Be prepared for additional costs: When buying a salvage title car, budget for additional expenses, such as repairs, registration fees, and insurance premiums. This can help you avoid financial surprises and prepare for the actual cost of owning a salvage title vehicle.
  • Research state requirements: Before purchasing, research your state’s requirements for registering and insuring these vehicles. This can help you understand the process and ensure you are up for the task.

How Can autopom! Help With Buying a Salvage Title Car?

Buying a salvage title car can offer significant cost savings but also comes with potential drawbacks, such as difficulty obtaining financing and insurance, hidden damage, and a lower resale value. By following best practices for safely purchasing a salvage title vehicle and, you can mitigate these risks and enjoy the benefits of getting a salvage title car.

autopom! offers a variety of vehicle protection plans that can provide coverage for repair costs on qualifying vehicles. You can secure a plan tailored to your specific needs and budget, giving you peace of mind and financial security when purchasing a vehicle. Contact us today to learn more about how autopom! can help you protect your investment.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc