Salvaged vehicles can be a good buy if you’re a handy person who knows how to work on and restore cars. You can sometimes find late-model cars for cheap that were totaled and then restore them yourself to get them back on the road. Even though many people would be interested in doing this, it seems that not many people know exactly how to go about it.
Generally speaking, the only way to get a salvaged vehicle and buy it from an insurance company is to wreck your own car, and then buy it back from them. If you (or someone else) choose not to re-buy your vehicle, the insurance company does one of two things with it; they either sell the parts off of the vehicle individually, or sell it at an auction, as-is, where-is. These auctions can be a gold mine if you’re looking for a parts vehicle, or again, don’t mind a challenge and enjoy fixing up cars on your own. To find out where an auction is taking place, call your insurance company and ask what they do with vehicles that are totaled, or call your local salvage yard.
Getting into these auctions isn’t as simple as walking in and raising your bidding paddle at the first sight of a car you want. Most insurance companies have agreements with salvage yards or auction companies, and will only deal through them. Also, to get into one of these auctions, you (or someone you know) may possibly need a dealer’s license, as not all salvage auctions are open to the public.
The bottom line is: buying a salvaged vehicle isn’t as simple as walking into a dealership, but with a few calls, and a little effort on the part of the potential buyer, it can be done and can be quite rewarding.