The Ultimate Salvage Title Quiz

Estimated Completion Time
2 min
At what point is a car considered totaled in most states?
when the cost to repair exceeds the total cost of the car
when the cost to repair exceeds 50 percent of the car's value
when the cost to repair exceeds 75 percent of the car's value
While the exact cost-to-repair figures vary by state and insurer, a car that sustains damage costing 75 percent of its value or more is likely to be written off as totaled.

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Why do most states require an inspection before issuing a rebuilt title?
The inspection helps highway patrolmen identify cars that could be problems in the future.
The inspection checks for roadworthiness and ensures no stolen parts were used in the repairs.
A rebuilt title certifies that a car has been made roadworthy again. Most states inspect these cars to ensure that they're safe and no stolen parts were used in the repairs.
The inspection isn't mandatory, but it can lower your insurance rates.

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Can you drive a car with a salvage title?
yes, as long as you've checked the vehicle for safety
no, a salvage title always marks a car as unsafe for the road
Most states limit how a salvage-titled car can be used and may require an inspection or new title for road use.
Although the specifics vary from state to state, most states will not allow you to license and drive a salvage-titled car without an inspection or receipt for a rebuilt title.

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How can a buyer spot flood damage in a car?
Look for rust on the hood or the tops of the door frames.
Flood damage is impossible to spot, so avoid buying cars from flood-prone areas.
Silt and rust in low spots on the frame, door panels and seals can indicate flood or water damage.
Flood damage can be hard to spot in a used car. However, signs like rust and silt in low-lying areas or inside panels, musty odors or electrical problems can be signs the car has been underwater.

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How can a vehicle identification number (VIN) help you evaluate a used car?
The VIN can tell you when and where a car was built.
The VIN can help you track the major events in a vehicle's history, such as accident repairs and sales.
Thanks to the Internet, a car's VIN can quickly provide an outline of the vehicle's history. Any major events -- like sales, repairs and title changes -- will be listed by VIN and can be searched using a number of online resources.
The VIN is only useful for insurance and parts-identification purposes.

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Your state has a "parts only" rule for salvage-titled cars. What does that mean?
You can't make a salvage-title car roadworthy again.
Some states place greater restrictions on salvage-titled cars than others. States with "parts only" rules are some of the strictest: They only allow salvage cars to be dismantled for parts.
The salvaged car must undergo an inspection before it can be retitled for the road.
The salvaged car only needs a few parts before it's roadworthy again.

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Where can you legally purchase a salvaged vehicle?
Some states regulate this more than others.
Salvage title laws vary from state to state, and so do regulations on who can buy and sell salvage-titled vehicles. In some states, anyone can buy and sell them. In others, only licensed rebuilders can buy them at salvage vehicle sales.
Only at state-sanctioned salvage auctions.
Anyone can buy and sell salvage-titled vehicles.

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When might a car in excellent shape get a salvage title?
The car may have been fraudulently salvaged, as part of a "scrap-and-flip" scheme.
The car may have been stolen, then recovered after the insurer compensated the victim.
In some theft cases, a stolen car is recovered after the insurer has already compensated the victim. The insurer might then write off the recovered car with a salvage title as a matter of accounting.
The car probably has damage, but the seller hid it in order to sell the car.

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True or false: Aftermarket accessories can earn a car a salvage title.
true
Because some aftermarket parts affect a car's insurability or safety, any replacement of a substantial car part with an aftermarket part can lead to a salvage title.
false

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What's important to consider when purchasing a salvage-titled car?
how you'll get the car home
if you'll be able to store it without violating community ordinances
both of the above
If a car is not licensed to drive, you'll need to find a way to get it home. Also, if your community has "junk car" ordinances that prevent you from storing the car at home, you'll have to find another place to work on it.

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