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Downsides of a salvage title?
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Gnarlodious Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 8:43 am    Post subject: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

I got rear-ended last summer and my lawyer has advised that the insurance company will probably make me an offer contingent on the van being a “salvage title”. What does that mean exactly and what are the disadvantages? What’s in it for the insurance company to have the van declared totalled?
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

You will find disparate opinions on the cash value impact of a salvage title, but the fact is a salvage titled vehicle can be easily titled and driven in *many* states.

If you intend to fix it and drive it, it has no impact, of course, as long as your state will let you do that.

There are people who say they will 'never buy' a salvage title vehicle, so those are removed from your potential buyer list.

Quote:
What’s in it for the insurance company to have the van declared totalled?


Probably some statistical assurance that you won't get it back on the road again easily.
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Last edited by Abscate on Mon May 07, 2018 9:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 9:02 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

Others will give their opinions but I believe what have is a van that is already totaled and was fixed to be back on the road in the past.

If you are certain your van is has never been totaled, then maybe they are going to total it now.

I personally would not buy a car that has been totaled or would like to have mine fixed, knowing it will have a salvaged title when it's done.


Last edited by Butcher on Tue May 08, 2018 6:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

A salvage title basically destroys your resale value, and most insurers will not fully cover a salvaged vehicle (liability only).

If you're going to keep it forever (resale doesn't matter) AND you are comfortable only carrying liability, then it's not a big deal.

Most states will require a brake and light inspection after a car is totalled (salvaged).

So the insurance company should be offering an amount that is basically the total value of the vehicle, less the salvage value. I.e. $20k and we total it, you can buy it back for $2k, so $18k total. Or whatever. In all likelihood you will need to fight to get the value to a reasonable number. You may want to look into (search) for info about appraisals.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 9:46 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

A salvage title, or in some areas an R title, are simply a means of protecting a potential buyer.

There is no question that the vehicle being considered has a history, a devastating history.

Almost always decreases the value but not always the quality.

It is an individual basis on what effect the title has on the unit.

Salvage titles are issued for more reasons than physical damage, floods spring to mind.

Bottom line, shop wisely.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

My buddy recently bought a rear-ended Forester (blech!) at auction and had me do the welding, hydraulic straightening and panel alignment. It obviously had a salvage title, but after all the paint and tidying up, he was able to sell it for above Blue Book value. YMMV

It's not surprising that insurance would total a 2WD tintop, when they might've been obligated to repair a Syncro or Westfalia.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 10:55 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

Zeitgeist 13 wrote:
.. and had me do the welding, hydraulic straightening and panel alignment. ... sell it for above Blue Book value.

You better have a cut of that profit
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 11:09 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

Depending on the severity of the damage I would argue with the insurance company to keep a clean title.
I went through this with my '91 when a driver came sliding through a red light when I was turning. The damage was minor but the insurance company was quick to give me a lowball offer and attempt to salvage title the van. With some back and fourth I kept my clean title and got reimbursed for the damages.
Salvaged titles vehicles don't interest me for anything other than a parts car.
Ask you insurance company if they will insure the van in the future and will it be for fair market value of a clean title car.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 11:43 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

Check your state's regulation too, not just the insurance company.

Granted, Montana has some oddball regs regarding vehicles but they DO NOT issue salvage titles for vehicles over 15 years old.

I was able to "total" my old Pathfinder twice for relatively minor damage, eventually making more off of it than what I paid.
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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

In some states, if you've got a wreck and want it fixed, regardless of the $ damage, you can get it inspected and issued a proper title, regardless of what the insurance people state the value of the vehicle, and if that damage is more than that and call it "totaled" for insurance dollars. After it is fixed, and inspected, and certified, then you can get it insured for whatever it is valued at after the repairs are completed. I know Wisconsin had that method when I was younger for sure, not sure of what it is now. Went without saying that if you were looking at a car, you'd look as deep as you could to see any fixes, if you knew it was from Wisconsin.

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 2:55 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

Gnarlodious wrote:
I got rear-ended last summer and my lawyer has advised that the insurance company will probably make me an offer contingent on the van being a “salvage title”. What does that mean exactly and what are the disadvantages? What’s in it for the insurance company to have the van declared totalled?



As per usual with the salvage/rebuilt title question on the forums you'll get plenty of responses.

Directed at the OP: it's your own vehicle and you clearly know it well. I'd fight to get as high of an offer as you can. If the insurance company deems the T3 salvage, you will likely have to get it inspected once repaired to be deemed "rebuilt". You will want to do some investigating in your state/county to find out what is legally required. Here in Ontario the process is this: acquire smashed vehicle and salvage title; take a generous quantity of "before" photos, namely the 4 corners; repair the damages; take into a certified inspector where the scrutinize the repairs with their approval paperwork you visit the license bureau (Cdn version of DMV) and switch the title from salvage to rebuilt. Maybe it's the same in your state or more/less involved.

As for the affected value it's hard to say exactly. I would suggest taking not only post-accident photos but also progressive accident repair and completed photos. Should you ever sell you can show the potential buyer everything in full disclosure.
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 7:14 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

2 of our 4 vanagon have a salvage title, one was rear ended, the other suffered an engine fire, the both run as well now if not better than a lot of other vans I see.
These vehicles are getting on in years, they have had a long time out on the road, I know modern cars often have a lot more miles on them, and likely not many vanagon have spent as much time in garages as modern cars do, so the law of averages, I think would put old vehicles that do not spend a ton of time safely locked in garages a much higher likelihood of having a salvage title.
To me it doesn't detract the value of the vehicle, if what ever caused the vehicle to be salvaged has been repaired, that just how I see it, I would not walk away from a salvaged vehicle, just because of what it says on the paperwork, condition of the vehicle yes, what it says on a bit of paper, no.
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 7:30 am    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

If I was buying a salvage vehicle I'd want to know why it was deemed salvage. Photos are good. Lots of them. It was not that long ago that a Syncro with broken fiberglas bumpers and a leaking head gasket was considered a 'total.' Some people are MORE interested in a salvage vehicle because they expect it to depress the sale price to their level of interest.
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

Had an interesting discussion on this the other day as there was a van at a junk yard in good working order that would have made someone pretty happy beach beater with the $2K price tag.. It was a nice two tone white over blue 84 with a clean brown vinnal interior. I would have jumped on it if I had a place to keep it..

My old advice would be to steer clear; however, this may not be case moving forward. A car can be salvaged for a number of reasons other than damage, theft or vandalism... So long as the reason for the salvage was pretty well documented, it has all the CHP (California) inspections, and DMV paperwork filed it may not be a bad deal at the right price...
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 6:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

nacradriver wrote:
My old advice would be to steer clear; however, this may not be case moving forward.


Yeah what about a splittie with a salvage title?
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

Sodo wrote:
nacradriver wrote:
My old advice would be to steer clear; however, this may not be case moving forward.


Yeah what about a splittie with a salvage title?


Or a barndoor with a vin plate rescued from
a swamp. Laughing Laughing Cool
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2018 4:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Downsides of a salvage title? Reply with quote

nacradriver wrote:


My old advice would be to steer clear; however, this may not be case moving forward.


Well I am gong to need to eat a little crow here.... not much but a little... barb-ba-qued prefered...

I had inquired to my nationally known insurance company about coverage on a salvage titled vehicle and was told they will not insure it..... checked with another and they had limits on what they would cover...
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