A salvaged title is a form of branding that states the vehicle in question has some sort of damage that prevents it from being claimed on your auto insurance. Cars can carry the salvaged title for many reasons including:
Hail Damage: In some cities, golf ball sized hail can damage a vehicle to the point to where it costs too much for the insurance company to repair.
Flood Damage: Cars can be completely flooded and damaged beyond repair. In most states, these cars may no longer be driven on public roads and are junked for parts. In early 2013, over 100,000 cars were deemed salvaged just due to Hurricane Sandy.
Collision/Wreck: Cars that have been damaged beyond repair are usually placed on “junk” or “salvaged” titles. Insurance companies will deem vehicles damaged if the car has serious structural damage, usually resulting from major automobile accidents.
Some auto auctions host salvaged title auctions, but these are hosted for parts dealers and others who are interested in purchasing cars for parts. These auctions aren’t usually publicized or open to the public.
If you’re offered the opportunity to purchase a salvaged vehicle, I would suggest doing the most deliberate due diligence possible. First off, you need to figure out if the car can be registered and insured. Most states will not allow salvaged cars on the road for obvious reasons. Secondly, you need to figure out the true condition of the vehicle and the total cost to repair it. Don’t get caught up in a process where you’re stuck paying high cost for a car you’re not able to fix or drive. If confronted with this scenario and you’re interested, speak with a local mechanic and consult your local vehicle registration office for more pertinent information.