Just because a car has a salvage title, it doesn’t always mean that it’s been in a collision! There are a number of reasons that a car can be listed as “salvage” which we explain below:
Flood damage: A car that has water or flood damage might be considered salvage. Only some states specifically make the distinction that the car’s damage is due to the result of a flood.
Hail damage: As with flood cars, hail can also do severe damage to a car that may cause it to be listed as salvage. This type of damage is usually very obvious from the many small dents or “dings” that are visible all over the car. The car may even have a cracked windshield or a headlamp depending on how bad the storm was. Since the damage is 100% cosmetic and the repair cost could exceed the price of the vehicle, hail damage cars often provide amazing value for money.
Theft recovery: After a stolen vehicle has been stolen for a certain period of time, the insurance company will pay the policy holder for the value of the car. If this vehicle is then found at a later date, it will be put up for sale by the insurance company. Recovered vehicles may have some damage from the theft of from general neglect of the thief but are generally repairable.
The following states will issue a “salvage” title to a car after its stolen, regardless of its condition: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Vandalism: If enough damage was caused to a car by vandalism where fixing the repair would exceed the cost of replacing the vehicle, the car may be issued a salvage title. A good example of this is spray paint vandalism – a car may cost thousands of dollars to properly repaint but the car may still be in 100% functioning and working order even if it’s worth less. Similar to hail damage, most vandalism is purely cosmetic and won’t affect the reliability or driveability of the vehicle and this can be purchased at a great value.
Non-Repairable/Parts Only: This title means that the state will not allow the vehicle to be repaired and registered on the road again. This means that the vehicle is good for parts only and should not be bought with intent to drive.