Salvaged Title Fraud — How to Protect Yourself

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By the Experts at Cars.com

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 Cars.com

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