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  1. #1

    Default Wrecked cars/trucks

    When late model cars/trucks are wrecked and totaled,I assume the insurance company sells them to individuals and wrecking yards that part them out (ie: wrecking/junk yards)can an individual buy these wrecks etc from the insurance companys,how does an individual get a heads up on stuff like this that is being sold?Are there any web links pages etc..What are some of the major wrecking/junk yards etc.I am interested in Land Rover and Mercedes.

    Thanks
    Scott

  2. #2
    Silver Member
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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    Most insurance companies sell these to recycling yards at very low prices. It would be hard to get the insurance companies to let you know about them. There are independent appraisers who do sub- contract work for several companies. If you could contact them they might let you know when they do a total for an insurance company. Someone at the dealer for that make might also be a good source.

    When I was going to college, I drove a wrecker on weekends. A hot rod group in our area would pay us if we put them onto a totaled car that had parts they were looking for. These guys would buy the car then come to the storage yard with torches and air chisels and strip the car of all the usable parts. Then they would pay us the load up what was left and take it to the crusher.

    I know a fellow that three years ago bought a totaled 93 Dodge Shadow es for $250. He spent $300 on parts and paint and is still driving it. The Dodge had been rear ended and looked a lot worse than it actually was. It is not perfect but it gets him back and forth to work everyday. He was a neighbor of the original owner and bought it from the insurance company after the accident.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    Scott, I checked in to that around the Omaha area and it seems the boneyards have it pretty much to themselves. One boneyard www.americanauto.com sells wrecks in various conditions. For the prices they want with parts you can buy a nonwrecked vehicle and not mess with it. I thought maybe a guy could come out ahead by fixing himself but I can't see it here. They do sell the stuff to someone though.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    Hi Scott,

    Here's the way it's handled in this area, and I suspect in your area also. Once the insurance company has totaled the car it goes to an insurance salvage yard pool. These yards have weekly auctions and the car sells to the highest bidder. Here in the Dallas area, there are two yards that auction off 3-4,000 cars a week. You get on their mailing list and they send or fax a list of what's being auctioned a few days before. When I last attended one of these auctions (a few years ago), anybody could bid on the cars. It may be nowdays you will need a dealers liscense to bid.

    There are all kinds of stories of people picking up wrecked cars and making a fortune fixing and selling them, but you will be surprised at what the wrecked cars sell for. There is a lot of competition for the wrecks that have a possibility of being resurrected, (body shops buy them, use them for fill in work, and sell them to tote-the-note lots or other marginal dealers) and you are bidding against wrecking yard owners who can make more off the parts of that Mercedes or Land Rover then what a intact car sells for in the retail market. . Here in Texas, the cars bought from the insurance yards will come with a salvage title, which is supposed to follow them for the remainder of their on road life.(there are ways unscrupious folks get around this)

    There is one other way a seriously wrecked car can re-enter the fleet. That is when the owner of a wrecked car buys his own car back from the insurance company for the salvage value. The insurance companies use the total of salvage value and cost of repair compared to the retail value to determine whether a car is a total or not. The owner can receive retail value from the insurance company, pay the salvage value to the company and use the remainder to fix the car. If an owner buys his car from the insurance company it does not end up with a salvage title. But the insurance company usually will not insure the car again except for liability coverage. This happens more often then you would think, especially with older Mercedes.

    HTH,
    Dave


  5. #5

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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    <font color=blue>...If an owner buys his car from the insurance company it does not end up with a salvage title...</font color=blue>

    That all depends...

    After negotiating with our insurance company for a couple weeks, I got my wife's 98 Explorer down to $2100 salvage value to buy back...

    When they said they would attach "Salvaged" on the New York Title... I elected not to purchase it back... "Salvage" on the title kills just about all resale/residual value on the unit...[img]/w3tcompact/icons/sad.gif[/img]

    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.tractorbynet.com/forumfiles/6-201728-98FordExplorerWrecked-800.jpg>I had “shopped” the car with the larger body shops in our area and got bids from $400-1100… Even though the car had rolled over multiple times, it was still in great running condition, with a recently replaced complete Ford factory engine… but nobody would pay for it…</A>[img]/w3tcompact/icons/blush.gif[/img]
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  6. #6
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    Dave is right on the money here. It's tough to buy a rebuildable at a really good price anymore. The insurance companies tend to make deals with salvage yards on a guaranteed amount per total, regardless of year or condition. On some they make out, on others they don't.

    Once an insurance company settles a claim on a total (or a stolen vehicle) and gets the title the insurance company must retitle the vehicle in their name and it becomes a "branded" title, carrying a designation like"Salvage" or "Wrecked" depending on the state. In past times some states had provisions allowing a title to be "cleaned" and that designation removed by having the vehicle repaired and inspected. That is no longer the case. Once a title is branded it stays branded forever. The only thing you can do now is have a "Salvage" title rebranded "Rebuilt." In either instance, the value of the vehicle is substantially reduced by that branding.

    While that may be a good thing in the case of a wrecked car, it's truly stupid on a stolen/recovered vehicle which may only have needed the steering column repaired and radio replaced when it was found after the insurance company had settled.

    The bottom line on this is if you're going to do this, make sure you buy something with a "clean" title.

  7. #7
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    The key to negotiating a deal like that is to settle with the insurance company for an amount which allows you to keep the car (the salvage) rather than buying it back from the insurance company. That way title never transfers to the insurance company and there's no branding.

    I did that with my Mom's last car. The insurance company and I couldn't get together on a figure with them taking the car so we tried and succeeded coming to terms on a figure with her keeping the car. The salvage value at that time was $700. I spent $900 repairing the car (new quarter clip, rear door and glass, repairs to floor pan, paint and a wheel cover). I then sold it for her for $3800 and took that and the $2800 from the insurance settlement and moved her up five model years for zero out of pocket.

    The car I sold still had the title in Mom's name so there was no diminished value from a branded title situation. To be fair, this was easier for me than most because I buy parts wholesale, get a break on my work at the body shop and was able to buy her current car wholesale. Still, the key was getting the deal cut wherein the title remained vested in her name. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    <font color=blue>...rather than buying it back from the insurance company...</font color=blue>

    Actually, we had still owned the vehicle and title was in our name... but...

    In New York, the insurance company will file a form with DMV on any declared "Total", causing this attachment to our title becoming "Savage"... [img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img]

  9. #9
    Elite Member Gary_in_Indiana's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wrecked cars/trucks

    Wow, that's an interesting twist.

    I wonder what would happen in a scenario wherein you had kept the title and sold it to me (an out-of-state buyer). I would have gotten a title here and your title would simply have been surrendered back to NY without them having the opportunity to brand it.

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