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how to sell a car with a salvage title

How To Sell Salvage Title Car

Are you curious about how to sell salvage title cars?

Selling a car with a salvage title in the aftermath of an accident or disaster can be an absolute headache.

However, there are ways to legally sell your damaged vehicle and disclose its history to get top dollar.

This guide covers everything you need to know, from explaining salvage vs. rebuilt titles to setting fair pricing and finding the right buyer.

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Key Takeaways:

  • A salvage title means an insurer declared a vehicle too damaged to economically repair, but it retains the potential to be safely fixed up.
  • Consider repairing and retitling the car before selling to maximize your sale price. Document all fixes.
  • A rebuilt title proves previous salvage damage but shows your investment to make the car roadworthy again.
  • Price lower than clean title vehicles but competitively based on severity of damage and repairs completed or still needed.
  • Take good photos and be transparent with buyers. Use buyer protection services to ensure secure payment.
  • Have patience selling to find the buyer willing to take on your project car. Understand your local salvage vehicle regulations as well.

What is a Salvage Title and What Makes a Car Qualify for One?

A salvage title is a legal designation given when a car sustains damage that exceeds its market value or costs more than a certain threshold to repair.

  • An insurance company will declare a vehicle a “total loss” and issue a salvage title when:
    • Collision repairs exceed ~75% of the car’s value
    • It is damaged by floodtheftvandalism, or other disasters
    • Certain components like the frame or roof need replacing
  • You can also apply for a salvage title yourself if you want to keep an accident-damaged car instead of letting your insurer take possession

Essentially, it means an insurer considers the car unsafe and too damaged to justify repair costs. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a salvage vehicle can’t be fixed up!

How Salvage Titles Differ From Other Car Titles

There are a few other common vehicle title designations:

  • Clean title: No significant damage history
  • Rebuilt title: Previously salvaged but repaired and inspected
  • Junk title: Deemed non-repairable and only useful for scrap parts

The key difference is that a salvage title indicates the potential to get a car back on the road legally, while a junk title does not. Many buyers are willing to take on a salvage rehab project for huge savings over standard used cars!

Repairing, Retitling, and Reselling Your Salvaged Car

Before selling your salvage-titled vehicle, consider taking some repair steps:

  • Obtain a salvage certificate from your state’s DMV
  • Hire an experienced auto rebuilder to fix structural/mechanical damage
  • Get an inspection confirming roadworthiness
  • Apply for a “rebuilt” title with paperwork showing your investment into repairs

Though time-consuming, going through this process allows you to sell for significantly more money. It also opens up financing options since lenders are reluctant to fund salvage title cars.

You’ll still need to disclose past damage history, but a rebuilt title proves the car has regained value after major work.

How to Determine Fair Salvage Vehicle Pricing

There’s no standard formula, but here are guidelines on valuing a salvage or rebuilt title car:

  • Salvage pricing – Research what percentage your insurer uses, usually around 75-80% of market value. Get quotes from several buyers.
  • Rebuilt pricing – Apply a 30-50% discount off current market value. Consider pricing it similar to high-mileage vehicles of the same model.

Adjust based on damage severity, necessary repairs, and your state’s salvage vehicle laws. Thoroughly document all fixes to justify a higher asking price.

Finding the Right Salvage Car Buyer

There are several options for selling a salvage or rebuilt car:

  • List for sale by owner on sites listing damaged cars
  • Auto salvage yards buying for parts
  • Dealers specializing in as-is/rebuilt title vehicles
  • Auctions for uninsured total loss vehicles
  • Classifieds if selling for repair parts or rebuild project

Price competitively but fairly.

Be upfront about the salvage title and that repairs may still be needed. Have your paperwork in order as well as photos detailing existing damage.

Patience is key to getting top dollar, but take advantage of buyers expressly looking for discounted repairable cars.

Final Thoughts: Selling Damaged Cars Takes Work But Gets Results

While selling a salvage vehicle requires some effort upfront, you stand to come out way ahead once finding the right buyer. Take the necessary steps to repair and document your car’s rebuild process when possible.

Thoroughly research your state’s specific branding and disclosure rules too. An affordable DIY restoration project could get you thousands more over junk value. Weigh your options carefully before sending that car with a salvage title to the crusher!

Sources and References:

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Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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