If you have decided that you don’t want to go for a new car but look for used cars, you can decide between two options – salvage cars or used cars. Well, salvage cars are used as well. However, the degree of damage that they suffer is much greater. So, why will anyone want to buy such a car? There are some good reasons. However, there are also several discouraging factors. Read on for more.

What is a Salvage Car?

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According to insurance companies, if more than 75 percent of the market price of the vehicle needs to be put in to get it repaired, it is given the title of a salvage vehicle. However, the rules are different in different states. For example, in Florida, if 80 percent of the car’s market value needs to be spent in repair, it is deemed as salvage.

Similarly, rules are different in Minnesota where a car which needs $5000 for repairs is titled salvage, irrespective of the cost of the vehicle. Besides on the basis of cost of repair, stolen cars are also termed as salvage cars in certain states such as Florida, Arizona, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, New Mexico, Oregon and Oklahoma. So, if you belong to any of these states, you need to be very careful and check the background of the car before purchase.

How to Buy a Salvage Car?

By law, it is essential for a salvage car dealer to declare the salvage title with all details before selling a car. In case he doesn’t, you need to request complete details. If the car has been repaired, ask for details about the parts which underwent renovation.

Before buying, get your regular mechanic or any other qualified inspector to inspect the car thoroughly because in many cases, the major parts are repaired but there could be a lot of hidden faults, especially with the wiring and such minor parts. A Carfax report can be extremely useful. This report gives you a complete history of the car, right from the time of its purchase. Studying these details makes you aware of all the brunt that the car has borne.

So, Will a Salvage Car Save You Money?

A salvage vehicle is not usually sold “as is”. The car is repaired up to a certain extent to make it salable. So, when you buy it, you will not have to spend as much as 75 percent of its market price. Secondly, you get them for extremely cheap rates. Even after spending some amount for repairs, the overall expense is still less than the cost of buying a used car.

There is a very important aspect to consider here. Usually, despite categorization of salvage cars with regard to the cost of repairs, several cars are branded as salvage even without severe damage, for whatever reason. If you take some time and check out these cars, you might just happen to hit pay dirt. But mind you, chances of such bumper draws are pretty lean.

You need to answer one important question. Is saving a few thousand dollars worth paying much more for maintenance in the future? The car might not be fuel efficient and many of its parts might be fragile. This is a matter of serious consideration.

Secondly, you need to consider the insurance issue because a salvage car does not let you off from buying car insurance and usually, since insurance companies consider such cars to be worthless, they demand high premiums. Moreover, it is almost impossible to get a full comprehensive insurance for these cars. When you make claims, it is tough to get money out of insurers. What you need to understand here is that it is the title that matters. Even if you are successful in getting a salvage car which is not much damaged, the title alone can cause the insurance rates to soar.

Thirdly, you should forget about resale because you get a very raw deal or no deal at all. These cars are not listed in Bluebooks. So, if you buy this car, you have to drive it out until it is ready to be sold in junk.

Considering all these factors, buying a salvage car will be worth the money provided you know what you are getting into. This will mean doing a research on the history of the car, and also finding out why the car was declared as a salvage car in the first place. You would also have to get a dependable estimate of the amount of repairs required and the future life of the car. So if you think you know cars well, go for it.

Mike Fischer is an automotive blogger. He is currently working for Uno Car Dealers – a site for buying and selling cars, and finding automotive information. He can be contacted at mike.fischer [at] unocardealers [dot] com with requests for guest posts.

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