Can I Sell a Totaled Car?

When a car is totaled, the insurance company has decided the cost of fixing the vehicle is more than its value. Salvaged cars are those that have been declared totaled. Selling a totaled car is possible and legal. If you’re asking, “Can I sell a totaled car?”, we’ll explain how to do so.

Your Insurance Company Can Help

It is up to the insurer to declare the car totaled. If you’ve been in an accident, one option is to sell it to the insurance company, which will salvage the vehicle. You won’t be able to sell it in this case. But the insurance provider often pays you for the car they now legally own. The check will cover the vehicle’s pre-accident value minus the policy deductible. If you have Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance, the policy will cover any remaining payments on the car.

Do I Have to Sell My Car to the Insurance Company?

No. You can go through the salvaging process yourself. But you will have to obtain a salvage certificate. Once you’ve restored the car’s condition, bring it to a local Department of Motor Vehicles to receive the certificate, which takes the place of the car’s previous title. The vehicle will always be considered totaled and salvaged, which can affect insurance rates. Also, your warranty will most likely be voided.

Once you have a salvage certificate, you can do what you want with the car, whether you decide to continue driving it or:

  • Sell It to a Dealership: Some dealerships specialize in buying salvage vehicles; they can profit through a resale or auction or by selling the parts. 
  • Sell It to a Private Buyer: It can be difficult to convince a private party your salvage car is a sound purchase, and it’s often more costly to insure.
  • Sell It to a Junkyard: If you have the proper documentation, junkyards often buy old vehicles for scrap metal. The junkyard may even tow the car for you.
  • Donate the Car: Donating the car to a charity can often get you a tax credit. You won’t make money directly, but donating it to a legitimate charity can save on your next tax bill.

To keep a totaled car from your insurance company, you can buy it back from them. Retaining a salvage vehicle is legal in most states. To do so, contact your insurance company to inform them of your intent. The insurer will issue a salvage title and pay you what they’d likely profit by auctioning the car. You can then get more money by selling the vehicle.

Can I Sell My Totaled Car Online?

Many sites allow you to provide information on your vehicle and receive a quote. You can then accept a cash offer in exchange for your car, title, and keys. What your totaled car is worth depends on the year, make, model, and overall condition. If the damage is limited to the body, you might get a decent cash offer. But if the engine or transmission is significantly damaged, the offer may just cover the scrap metal. Online dealerships include CarMax, Carvana, and CarBrain.

Should I Sell My Car If It’s Been Declared Totaled?

If your car isn’t drivable, you can get cash even by selling it as junk or scrap. There are many ways to sell a salvaged car. But when selling it to a private buyer, you must always disclose the car was in an accident. Otherwise, the sale is illegal. Your car will lose resale value after an accident; how much depends on the damage it sustained. The loss in value can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Insurance Trouble? Call Jacob Today

Insurance companies don’t always pay as much as your claim is worth or the true value of your totaled car. The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani is on your side. We fight for your rights and represent your interests when negotiating with insurance companies. If you don’t receive a fair offer or your insurer won’t let you sell a totaled car, our team will take action and get results. To schedule your free consultation, call (888) 981-7706 today.

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