Join Date: Aug 2006
My Ride: E60M
A salvage title simply means that at some point in the cars life, it was declared a total loss. In Virginia, the only cars that receive salvage titles are later model cars (anything less than 7 years old). So my 2001 330i could be in a wreck, be declared a total loss, and not come out with a salvage title.
Originally Posted by eee4666
Can you give a clear definition of what "salvage title" means? Also, should a salvage title always deter a buyer from purchasing a car?
I have never bought or owned a salvaged vehicle but I know countless people who are confused on the subject. The word alone almost seems taboo. Aren't there many things that can title a car as "salvaged" (not even necessarily title the car but being obligated to "list" the car as salvaged?) maybe I have the two mixed up...
How do mods come into play (aftermarket bumpers for simplicity sake)? Would I need a receipt from the date of the transaction that I bought the mods? Comps aren't enough, correct?
I have seen each come up on here and other forums with answers pulled from the posters ass, or, "guesses" as you put it.
There are two types of Salvage titles, "Repaired" and "Rebuilt". In Virginia, damage greater than 75% of Actual Cash Value (what you could reasonably expect to sell your car for today, in your neighborhood) results in a Total. If the damage to the vehicle is between 75% and 90%, the title will indicate "repaired" after the vehicle is deemed to have been repaired. If the damage is greater than 90%, it will receive a "rebuilt" title.
When writing total losses, we are encouraged to write as much as necessary to deem the car a total loss, and then stop. When a customer keeps a total loss, I generally do not give them a written estimate, because I've had customers take their car to shops, not tell them it was deemed a total, and then the shop sends me a supplement for things I didn't write. Then the argument starts between me, the customer, and the shop. And arguments like that are never good. I'm happy to give a customer a "ballpark" repair cost, but on a total loss, there is nothing that legally compels me to provide a written estimate.
"Salvaged", strictly speaking, is a legal term only. If your car gets flooded and you never report it to insurance, it will never appear on your title. Similar to accidents. If you pay $10,000 to fix your car after a collision and go out of pocket, "Salvage" will never show up on your title.
Personally, i would not buy a car with a salvage title. Realistically, though, I know that there are a number of different reasons the car may have one. A thorough vehicle history and strong PPI on a salvage-titled car is a definite must. I would consider having a body shop take a look at the car as well, because they will best be able to tell you what possibly went into the repairs.
As far as mods go, definitely keep receipts. If someone else hits your car, go through there insurance. Their insurance is liable to replace aftermarket parts you have. Remember, though, that many body shops pay by credit account with parts dealers and simply receive a bill for that monthly/quarterly/whatever. So don't be surprised if they ask you to buy those aftermarket parts and bring them in. There have been a couple shops I've worked at that absolutely refuse to buy parts from anyone besides their suppliers, and if customers have "different" parts on, they will need to bring them in on their own. Which throws a whole lot of nuisance into who guarantees those parts. If they're not CAPA certified, the insurance company probably won't guarantee them. Since the shop is putting on parts that you brought in, the shop will most likely be hesitant to guarantee them as well.
On the other hand, if you damage your own car and want your mtech 2 bumper back on your non-zhp, that's going to come down to you and your adjuster or the shop. I know I was usually willing to work with people on mods to their car. If the bumper is available OEM like the mtech2, the price is very similar as well, I would be more than willing to help out. In Virginia, your insurance company is required by law to cover up to $1000 in "customizations" with no additional rider on the policy. These customizations must be "permanently mounted" in the car in order to be covered. There is a range of interpretations on what "permanently mounted" means. But it definitely doesn't mean the 2 12" subs you have in a box in the trunk. It most likely will cover an A/M intake, though, if that gets damaged in a wreck. If you have a $2000 dvd/nav/gps/sat radio headunit that gets stolen though, and you didn't tell us about it to get it covered, we'll give you $1000 for the part and installation.
Bottom Line: With mods, keep receipts for the best chance at getting them back incase of accident.