Salvaged Title Fraud — How to Protect Yourself


By the Experts at

A sal­vaged title means that the vehi­cle at some point in time has been claimed a total loss by the insur­ance com­pa­ny (dam­age exceed­ed 50–75% of its actu­al cash val­ue). Depend­ing on the state, recov­ered stolen vehi­cles are issued sal­vaged titles and gov­ern­ment agency vehi­cles are some­times issued sal­vaged titles for vehi­cles that they have used and are now replac­ing with new vehi­cles.

What should the con­sumer be aware of?  Take the fol­low­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion:

• How old is the car?  It doesn’t take a lot to total a car that is worth $5,000 or less. How­ev­er, a new­er car with a sal­vaged title could indi­cate that the car sus­tained a lot of dam­age.

• Always inspect the vehi­cle before you pur­chase the vehi­cle.

• Know your state laws on sal­vaged titles before you buy, every state is dif­fer­ent in what they allow or don’t allow.

• Run the VIN before you buy. You can do this by run­ning the VIN through the state DMV or through Car­fax.

• Always ask the sell­er to show you the title doc­u­ment. Again the word­ing from state to state varies but look for words like; totaled, recon­di­tioned, sal­vaged, junked, rebuilt or war­ran­ty returned.

• If a title looks to have been phyis­cal­ly altered, beware.

Con­tact the experts at



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