How to Check for a Salvage Titleby Jackie Lohrey
What Does Salvage Mean?<p>The term “salvage” means that <strong>an insurance company has declared a vehicle a total loss.</strong> This usually means the vehicle has been in an accident in which the damage exceeds anywhere from about <strong>50</strong> <strong>percent</strong> to <strong>90</strong> <strong>percent</strong> of the value of the car. However, it also could mean the vehicle sustained weather-related damage or that it was reported stolen and recovered after the insurance company paid the loss claim. Regardless, the car will be retitled as a salvage vehicle as a warning to potential buyers.</p>
Check the VIN Number<p>A vehicle priced well below comparable makes and models is a common signal that the car may have a salvage branding. However, even if it’s priced comparably and appears to be in good condition, the FTC recommends that you always <strong>run the vehicle identification number through one or more database services.</strong> VIN services collect and display information from insurance companies, state and local governments and salvage yards.</p> <p>Options include fee-based services such as <a href="https://secure.carfax.com/creditCard.cfx?partner=CHC_Z">Carfax</a> and the <a href="http://www.vehiclehistory.gov/">National Motor Vehicle Title Information System</a> run by the U.S. Department of Justice. There also are free services provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau and companies such as <a href="http://vinfreecheck.com/salvage_check">VinFreeCheck</a>.</p>
Conduct an Independent Inspection<p>Edmunds recommends that you either bring a professional mechanic with you or take a vehicle you’re considering to a professional repair shop. In addition to assessing the car’s general condition, an independent inspection can uncover potential body and repair issues that may affect a buying decision.</p>
The FTC encourages you to report any car dealer that you suspect may be committing title fraud. Reporting options are your car insurance company, your local police department or the National Insurance Crime Bureau.