At what point is a car considered totaled in most states?
While the exact cost-to-repair figures vary by state and insurer, a car that sustains damage costing 75 percent of its value or more is likely to be written off as totaled.
Why do most states require an inspection before issuing a rebuilt title?
A rebuilt title certifies that a car has been made roadworthy again. Most states inspect these cars to ensure that they're safe and no stolen parts were used in the repairs.
Can you drive a car with a salvage title?
Although the specifics vary from state to state, most states will not allow you to license and drive a salvage-titled car without an inspection or receipt for a rebuilt title.
How can a buyer spot flood damage in a car?
Flood damage can be hard to spot in a used car. However, signs like rust and silt in low-lying areas or inside panels, musty odors or electrical problems can be signs the car has been underwater.
How can a vehicle identification number (VIN) help you evaluate a used car?
Thanks to the Internet, a car's VIN can quickly provide an outline of the vehicle's history. Any major events -- like sales, repairs and title changes -- will be listed by VIN and can be searched using a number of online resources.
Your state has a "parts only" rule for salvage-titled cars. What does that mean?
Some states place greater restrictions on salvage-titled cars than others. States with "parts only" rules are some of the strictest: They only allow salvage cars to be dismantled for parts.
Where can you legally purchase a salvaged vehicle?
Salvage title laws vary from state to state, and so do regulations on who can buy and sell salvage-titled vehicles. In some states, anyone can buy and sell them. In others, only licensed rebuilders can buy them at salvage vehicle sales.
When might a car in excellent shape get a salvage title?
In some theft cases, a stolen car is recovered after the insurer has already compensated the victim. The insurer might then write off the recovered car with a salvage title as a matter of accounting.
True or false: Aftermarket accessories can earn a car a salvage title.
Because some aftermarket parts affect a car's insurability or safety, any replacement of a substantial car part with an aftermarket part can lead to a salvage title.
What's important to consider when purchasing a salvage-titled car?
If a car is not licensed to drive, you'll need to find a way to get it home. Also, if your community has "junk car" ordinances that prevent you from storing the car at home, you'll have to find another place to work on it.
Think you're a savvy car buyer? This quiz will put your knowledge to the test. Salvage titles present complications that can make or break even the most promising car deals. Click on to see how much you know about this aspect of car buying.
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