Selling Totaled Cars: What to Do When Your Car Can’t Be Repaired

Curious about selling totaled cars? We can help you out. Read on to learn what to do when your car isn’t able to be repaired.

Selling Cars

Every year, about 6 million car accidents happen in America. The majority of these accidents are so minor that the vehicles involved suffer little to no damage at all. Some accidents, however, cause extensive damage to the frame of the car, making repairs too expensive to consider. 

Vehicles with major structural damage are usually considered totaled.

So what do you do when your car is totaled? Well, there are various options, one of which is selling it. But selling totaled cars can be a complicated affair. 

That’s why we’ve developed this friendly guide to guide you on the process of selling a totaled car, as well as the options you have. Read on to learn more.

1. Make Sure That the Car Is Legitimately Totaled

Sure, your car was involved in a terrible accident, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been totaled. A vehicle is only considered totaled when the cost of repairing it exceeds its current value.

So how do you determine whether your car is legitimately totaled?

The surest way is to visit your insurance provider to have them assess the car’s condition. Once the insurance company determines that the car will cost them more to restore than the car is worth, they’ll consider it totaled.

If, for some reason, you are unable to have your insurance company assess your vehicle, consider visiting your local mechanics to get an estimate of repair costs. Weigh the repair quotes you get against the vehicle’s current value. There are reliable websites that’ll give you a good idea of what your car might cost if it was in good condition.

2. Sell the Car to Your Insurance Company

When you visit your insurance company after your vehicle has suffered extensive frame damage, the company will send a representative to estimate the value of your vehicle.  

How do they do this? 

Usually, the representative first scouts five cars that are similar to your damaged car. They then overlook the lowest and highest priced cars and offer you a price that’s an average of the other three.

To ensure that you get the best price for your car, ensure that the vehicles selected by the insurance agent are real comparisons to your car. That means that the cars need to be the same model and year, have equal mileage, and be in similar condition.

Of course, a problem arises when your vehicle has limited edition features. Since the insurance agency will pick a base model car without the special features your car had, you risk having your vehicle undervalued.

In case you had comprehensive insurance coverage, the insurance company will have no choice but to purchase the car off at its full market value. You can then use the payout to purchase a new car.

3. Salvage the Car

If the insurance company buys your totaled car from you, they’ll go through the process of salvaging it for you. If, on the other hand, you opted not to sell to the insurance company, then you’ll have to salvage the car yourself before you sell it. 

The first essential step is to head to the department of motor vehicles (DMV) to apply for a new title. The DMV will issue you with a special title referred to as a salvage title. The title records the fact that your car sustained extensive structural damage.

But why is a salvage vehicle so important? Well, without such a title, you risk being accused of withholding essential information from buyers. No matter how expertly the damaged car is restored, it’ll always be a salvaged car that got totaled at some point. 

4. Sell the Car to an Individual

Another option when it comes to selling a car with a salvage title is to privately seek out a person who might be interested in buying the car. 

The challenge, of course, is finding someone who’s not suspicious of a salvaged title. Many people fear that there might be something seriously wrong with a car that was once totaled. They might think that the car is either unsafe or will never function properly.

If you don’t mind taking the time to convince a potential buyer to purchase your totaled car, then this is an option you may want to consider.

5. Sell the Vehicle to a Dealership

There’s no shortage of dealerships out there that regularly buy salvaged cars. These dealerships offer cash for junk cars and are a great option if you’re looking to part ways with your totaled car as quickly as possible. 

So, where do you find such companies? The best option is to search online. Once you contact the company, they’ll come to you, assess the vehicle, make an offer, and tow away your vehicle within minutes.

But what’s the catch? 

Well, dealers tend to pay less compared to private buyers. That’s because they’re going to have to resell it to make a profit.

6. Sell the Parts to Private Buyers

Another good idea for selling salvaged cars is to itemize the parts that are in good condition and sell them to interested buyers. Often, a totaled vehicle is worth much more in parts than it is as a whole package. 

The challenge with parting out a car is that the process can be quite arduous and time-consuming. Selling all of the usable parts to individual buyers can also take a considerable amount of time. To attract potential buyers, consider advertising the different car parts online.  

Choose the Right Option for Selling Totaled Cars

Selling totaled cars can seem like an uphill task, and it is. It’s not easy to determine the true value of your salvaged vehicle. However, it’s still possible to find the right buyer for your car and make a reasonable amount of money from the sale.

You could, of course, offer your totaled vehicle to your insurance company. However, if selling the car privately is what appeals to you the most, then consider other viable buyers such as private parties, dealerships, or car part buyers.

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