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What does a salvage title mean?

Sorry if this is not the right forum for my question.

I found a car in CA that looks interesting. Has a salvage title due, according to seller, to a front end hit. What does a salvage title mean? Is it issued if damage is over a certain $ amount? Other than making prospective buyers nervous, and maybe forcing sellers to be more patient, what are the implications? If a proper PPI is performed and the car checks out ok, should one still be concerned. I am in MA. Does anyone know of issues regarding a salvage title if I went to reregister and have a title issued in my home state?

Thanks,

Bailey
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:38 PM
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I am certainly no expert but...

A salvage title basically means that the insurance company wrote off the car as a wreck. It's a salvage. The Salvage Title alerts a potential buyer that the car at some point in it's history has sustained some pretty significant damage of some sort - enough to cause the insurance company to "total" it.

Most finance companies will not finance a car with a Salvage Title.

Hope this helps.

-Scott
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:49 PM
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:49 PM
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A salvage title car should be 30% less than its non-salvaged valued self.
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Old 01-18-2005, 06:51 PM
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Ins companies will not write collision, comp or theft on a salvage title. ONly PL, PD and medical. Hence, the reason for no financing.
Old 01-18-2005, 07:14 PM
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My car was salvage titled at one point in its life (a '73 with me as the 6th owner). It had a regular title when I bought it. I know the front pan was replaced. I din't know any of this when I bought it, and maybe the person who sold it to me didn't know either.

I'm curious if the fact that it had a salvage title some time ago affects the current value of the car?
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Old 01-18-2005, 07:19 PM
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Depends on the state. My 993 had a salvage title when I bought it, it was fixed, the state inspected it and now it has a clear title. The salvage title shows up in carfax and state history. I got full coverage, and never had a problem. Yes the car is worth less, but if you get it for the right price than all is good. They could mean it was stolen, or flooded, etc Way to many people freak out about salvage titles. .
Old 01-18-2005, 07:22 PM
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My car actually carries a salvage title also. It was involved in a dealership insurance scam. They reported the engine and transmission stolen out of a bunch of european sports cars.......insurance paid off on the cars and then they turned around and sold them as good as new. The unsuspecting new owners were really shocked to receive their title in the mail with "salvage" accross the top. The dealership closed up shop before the new owners got their titles.

Hence when I bought my car I paid a "really, really" good price. More than 30% off the value due to the salvage title. Yes, it carries a salvage title but I know it has never been hit and I was able to get full coverage on it from Farmers.
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Old 01-18-2005, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rattlsnak
Way to many people freak out about salvage titles. .
No doubt. My trauck is salvage titled. The damage it suffered in a parking lot while parked unattended was estimated at $4000. Not much damage, but not a new truck, so sit got totalled. I fixed it for $2500 myself, mostly bolt on stuff like bumper, grille, fender, hood, etc. No frame damage. The truck is worth absolutely nothing now, but it's a hell of a good truck and looks really good.

If I found a salvage title 911S like mine, I'd jump on it. Especially if it took a small hit that cost more than the car was worth a few years ago before they started appreciating in value.

Better that than a rust bucket. You guys all know about my car and all the repairs, Who would buy a car like that? I mean seriously, if I showed you the before pics again, everybody would run away as fast as they could. But, it carries no salvage title. So, if it were to sell and sell again, the 3rd buyer wouldn't have a clue w/o a very thorough PPI.

Now, somethng like a 930, 964 or even a late Carrera would probably had to have taken a big hit to get totalled, but not always. You'd have to know the details and see the body shop sheet and invoice. Like he said, maybe it was flooded and someone took all the vitals out of a huge wreck and bolted them in. That might be a real good car.

Last edited by Zeke; 01-18-2005 at 07:46 PM..
Old 01-18-2005, 07:41 PM
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In many states the salvage title is a technique for the state to be sure it gets all the sales tax. When the car is inspected, you must produce all the receipts for the repair parts showing the sales tax paid. Otherwise the state wants you to pay more sales tax than the amount of the purchase of the car.
Last time I looked, Colorado requires the inspection and a regular title before you can register it and get plates.

Best,
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:11 AM
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I live in Va. and I'm curious about the insurance and financing issue on salvage title vehicles. Anyone know for sure?
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:23 AM
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I just learned what a salvage title means the hard way. My '71 Bug got rear-ended just before Thanksgiving; it had an old salvage title in its past. In Washington state, the salvage title only has to stay visable and noted until the car is ten years old. I bought this car with a "clear" title and I really don't think the seller had any idea it had that salvage in its history. The car had been fully restored in the mid '90's and had all documentation for the work. It's obvious now in retrospect that is where it was resurrected from its "salvage". Anyway, my insurance company (Allstate) was more than happy to provide full coverage. When it got hit, however, they valued it at less than half of what I am into it, and I got a real steal on it as it was. It turns out they were the insurer when it was totaled and had their own records on it. So while it was legally off the salvage title as far as the state was concerned, Allstate still showed it as salvaged. I managed to convince them that it was worth far more than they claimed (there is another thread here somewhere with the whole ugly tale, so I won't get into it again here). The long and the short of it was they were more than happy to take my money to insure it, but when it came time to pay out on a claim, they used the salvage title against me. Be carefull. It is, of course, all about the money when dealing with these folks. There is no sentimental, enthusiast's kind of view about our nifty old cars, be they Bugs , 911's or what have you. I learned a valuable lesson here. I'm currently working it out with Allstate to try to come to an aggreement on my Bug's value. In addition, I have my '72 911 T, a '71 Landcruiser, a '71 Super Beetle, and a '76 Harley Sportster. I naively thought I was "covered" on all of them. Allstate shows no ancient salvage titles on any of the others, but it is surprising what they value them at. It pays to check before you need the coverage you think you are paying for.
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by asphaltgambler
I live in Va. and I'm curious about the insurance and financing issue on salvage title vehicles. Anyone know for sure?
Only your insurance agent knows for sure. I agree with the other posts that a Porsche with a salvage title should be selling for at least 30% discount to other similar cars with clean titles.

I was looking at a salvage title car once. The small, independent dealer told me that it was salvage due to being a theft recovery. Carfax, however, begged to differ, specifying that the car had actually flooded in Louisiana! I'm glad that I never went too far towards the purchase of that car, but I had checked with my Allstate agent about insurance coverage. He said that there was no issue with Allstate (at least in California) writing full coverage on a vehicle with a salvage title.

YMMV and I don't know if this varies from state-to-state, but your agent will know (or will be able to get) the right answer for your specific situation.

Disclaimer: I'm not an insurance agent, and I don't even play one on TV.

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Old 01-19-2005, 06:27 AM
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In most states it means the insurnace company totalled the car out. It could have been wrecked, stolen, flooded or many other things. It is not a good idea to buy one unless you are getting a great deal on it and you do not care if it holds its value. If you are buying the car to enjoy and are not worried about any of that, it could serve your purpose.
I have never seen an insurance company refuse to write collision and comprehensive on a salvaged car. They will however adjust any lost settlement based on the salvage value, which could be up to 50% of the regular value. The problem is you still pay premium based on regualar value.
Old 01-19-2005, 06:33 AM
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FWIW:

We had a salvage titled Ford. Car was wrecked with 50 miles on it and a gentleman (who has retired now) in Dallas bought it at auction, welded a new front end on it, replaced the transmission with a re-built, news trans-axel, and we put 100,000 miles on the car replacing tyres at normal intervals and never having any mechanical issues.

My sister-in-law had the other vehicle the gentleman re-built. It was a Dodge that she wrecked three other times before it died. Lack of preventative maintenance (such as changing oil) caused her to have problems with the motor, trans, brakes, etc...

We paid half what the car would have cost otherwise. We sold it at a 25% discount to value. USAA insured it with full coverage in Texas but did have a lowered value on the car.

I would never buy a flood damaged car.
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:47 AM
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:50 AM
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I would suggest that if you knew you wanted to have a "keeper"....then look to buy and try to minimize your losses (do work yourself) ; otherwise stay away from reconstructed/salvage/water vehicles. The resale is next to nothing and the problems that insurance adjusters see are real. The biggest scam is the flood cars with their inherent electrical / bacterial problems. I would also suggest that you investigate the sellers of these cars with respect to profitability. They do very well in transactions at auction purchases.
Old 01-19-2005, 07:10 AM
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My car has a salvage tite. I figure a 25 year old car that gets stolen and has its interior ripped up when the stereo is pulled out could be nearly totalled. Anyway, I repaired the interior and it has been great.

On an older car, one way to view it is that if the car looks good, it's no different from a "restored" car. If someone repaired rust, rebuilt the engine, re-did the interior, what's the difference? Quality of workmanship differs from one shop and person to another. Either way, someone did extensive work to the car. One gets the badge or a restoration, the other salvage. Aren't we all salvaging our cars one way or another as we work on them, fix them and restore them to a condition of our liking.

If it's a good deal and you plan on enjoying the car -- go for it.
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Old 01-19-2005, 07:25 AM
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I have repaired alot of salvage title vehicles. I dont know about YOUR state since laws may vary but in WV. a Salvage vehicle does not have a salvage "Title" you get a salvage "certificate" Once the car is repaired it must be inspected by the DOH or State Police for stolen parts and all that stuff. After you pass all of the inspections and give reciepts for parts and provide pictures of the repair process . They will grant you an application for a title. This new title does NOT say salvage vehicle. It is stamped Reconstructed vehicle. If you get caught driving one on the original salvage certificate it's a huge fine. I think it was like 10k last I heard. call the DOH or DMV and see what the procedure is before you get serious about the car. If it's a good deal I'd buy it. I do them all the time. it's just ALOT of red tape and paperwork. If you don't play by the rules you will NEVER get a reconstructed title for it...then it becomes a parts car. Some states will NOT approve a vehicle if the repairs were NOT done by a licensed salvage rebuilder..

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Old 01-19-2005, 07:43 AM
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I think a common thread here is that every state is a bit different on how they treat a salvaged title. Check your state DMV and talk with your local insurance agent so that you go in with your eyes wide open.

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Quote:
If you are buying the car to enjoy and are not worried about any of that, it could serve your purpose.
This is exactly why I bought my car.
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