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One has to wonder, at what point in the sales process will the dealer reveal it has a Salvage Title?

According to the auction info link, the wreck sold at auction by GEICO with "Salvage Certificate" (not legal for road use), but CA law provides that can be converted to a "Salvage Title" (legal for road use) which supposedly it's gonna carry to its grave.

We can only hope this didn't get circumvented somehow.

It's a rough and cutthroat world of commerce out there, folks! :poop:
 

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I have seen this as I have been shopping for my new car. Very prudent to google the vin and check multiple vin search sources. Found one that is listed on all the major sites at a good price. One of those too good to be true prices. The "free carfax" was not being provided on it, so I googled the VIN. Turns out it was a Houston flood car. Knowing that, it needs to be a lot cheaper than the good price. Anyway, I am sure they will find their sucker at some point.

I imagine used car places like this hate the internet, it was much easier to find that sucker before you could search online so easily.
 

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I do have a question regarding "salvage or branded" title vehicles. I understand the consumer is taking most of the risk with the condition of the vehicle after it has been "branded," but would I be able to get insurance on a branded vehicle? I assume "full coverage" would not be an option because an insurance company has already paid out once.

Just like hail damage, if the owner gets paid by the insurance company and does not repair the vehicle, then in the unlikely event of another hail storm hitting the car, he won't get a second claim for hail for that vehicle.

Since liability insurance is required in most states, I assume the insurance company would be required to cover the vehicle at that point, but at what rate - a higher rate than normal? It seems like these salvage auto places like "Autolocity", and "Autosource" sell plenty of vehicles. Those are the ones in my area.
 

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I've never given that subject much thought, but it appears that getting full coverage on a vehicle with a salvage title is difficult to impossible. That would also limit sales to cash buyers since most lenders require full coverage.
 

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But it's owned by a guy stationed overseas and someone is selling it for him. Meet someone in a parking lot with the loot, I mean money order, and everything'll be great.
 

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The picture of the ODO, sitting at the salvage yard, shows 31,194 mi with the transmission overheating.

With an estimated 65% damage ratio, whoever did the fixing did a very good job as they seem to have bought it for only $12,750. However, looking at the damage pictures, Structurally it seems just fine. Even the hood seems to be in one piece. I wont be surprised if they are profiting $6K to $8K easily on this.

Interestingly, it was declared as a total loss early last year, and then in June 2019, it was listed for sale at $23,999. Then Automaxx of San Diego took it over and placed it for sale at $25,999. There was also an unknown seller maintaining the $23,999 until Feb 2020. One of the reports for the VIN does not indicate any accidents, though the salvage yard details the reason as a collision.
 

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A little more google fu reveals that insuring salvage titles varies state to state (not surprising) but it seems pretty uniform that
  • not all insurers will touch 'em, but usually liability coverage can be found
  • rarely is comprehensive coverage a possibility
  • even liability may cost more just because the insurers dealing with salvage titles are a small in number and generally filling the 'high-risk' niche in the business
Given the 'stigma' associated with the title status, both perceived and 'real' (as evidenced by the insurance issues) I honestly can't see any attraction in buying a salvage title vehicle, especially a late model at a price remotely near non-salvage, I don't care how minimal the damage / how competent the repair.

Maybe an older vehicle where the price is well below non-salvage competition and low on an absolute scale, thereby the exposure when lacking comp coverage is minimal .... an occasional-use vehicle, an econo commuter-only car, something like that.

Driving on IH35 in Texas as I often do, it's not at all uncommon to see 'trains' of rolling-wrecks being towed south (toward Mexico). I'm sure the same is seen in California. It's well-known here that one can get some high-quality restoration work done in Mexico much cheaper than stateside (with the caveat that just as in the US you can also encounter some really shoddy work). How many of those rolling wrecks make it back to the US for resale, having been repaired at much less than it would cost in the US, is anyone's guess; but that could really skew the potential for profit (or the potential for a great deal) in that salvage title racket it seems.

All-and-all it strikes me that buying 'salvage' is a risky business, from both a financial and safety / reliability standpoint, probably demanding much more 'vehicle condition / hidden damage / quality-of-repair assessment skill' than most if us have.

Not for me, that's for sure!
 

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In 2013 we were shopping for an older Civic for our daughter to drive in college, but they were snapped up fast, so we shot out to a moderately-sketchy lot to see one. It didn't look bad for the $, but this wasn't too long after hurricane Sandy, and my wife said "let's look in the trunk"....and there was a lot of sand in there. Felt like a hurricane damage situation; had maybe even been under water....
 

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Maybe an older vehicle where the price is well below non-salvage competition and low on an absolute scale, thereby the exposure when lacking comp coverage is minimal .... an occasional-use vehicle, an econo commuter-only car, something like that.
This is about the only way I could see buying something salvage. If it were a couple grand car that was just being used to commute. My coworker has a mid 00's Camry that is in great shape, but got a bunch of hail damage recently. His insurance company totaled it, so I told him to see if he could buy it back, drop to cheapest insurance and keep driving it until the wheels fell off. He did got a check for the difference of value - salvage cost (think it is 5k or so) and he is still driving it. Now, the only issue is it looks like a golf ball, but is mechanically sound.

Completely agree I would never touch a late model vehicle that had a salvage title, just too much "what if" going on there.
 

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It didn't look bad for the $, but this wasn't too long after hurricane Sandy, and my wife said "let's look in the trunk"....and there was a lot of sand in there. Felt like a hurricane damage situation; had maybe even been under water....
In NJ, cars started get on craigslist, ebay, and even auctions months after the flood. There were numerous vehicles from the shore and in the Bergan & Hudson county (north) that were sold at a much lower rate and even popping up in states west of us. YouTube was full of those too.
 

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It's a California dealer. We require a check of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) prior to offering a vehicle for sale. That RL should have a red warning lable next to the window sticker that alerts a potential buyer of its salvaged branding.
 

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In NJ, cars started get on craigslist, ebay, and even auctions months after the flood. There were numerous vehicles from the shore and in the Bergan & Hudson county (north) that were sold at a much lower rate and even popping up in states west of us. YouTube was full of those too.
Been too long to remember 100%, but I think it was from Jersey, and that's why we thought the sand was due to Sandy. I called my wife Hurricane Sandy for a couple days, but that Sandy didn't appreciate it much.

Also remember that the guy pulled up the Carfax on the screen, but didn't print a copy for us. So the warning signs were piling up.

On the way home we drove past a Nissan dealer who had a nice-looking 2002 Civic on the lot. Next morning I went back out there (30 miles) and it was in very good shape, all records, and I offered him maybe $3-500 less than they were asking. He said "I can do that, but play along with me a few minutes." He went and talked to the sales manager, came back and said "We need to 'negotiate' for about 5 minutes. So where do you live? How many kids you have?", and so on. He went back out, came back in, and we did the deal. The guy was great, and made it fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here is how they lure in an unsuspecting customer.
1. Make your selection from these available vehicles

2. Then choose the 2018 modern steel metallic Ridgeline:

3. Then check the "BlueStar condition report."

4. It checks out - perfect condition. Send me the money, please.
 
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