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Total/Salvage: What do Totaled and Salvage Title Mean?

  • By Ryan Skidmore

Totaled Vehicle Put simply, Totaled mean the cost to repair a damaged vehicle exceeds a certain percentage of the vehicles total value. ( Example, $3000 worth of damage to a $4000 car, in the exacting eye of the insurance company, is not worth repairing. Meaning that a relatively minor accident on an older, lower value car can spell the end while a newer and more expensive car will be repaired and returned to the owner. As touched on in recent blogs, the dangers for vehicles are many and varied. Fires, floors, falling trees, hail, hurricanes, hurried repair jobs, and accidents (of course accidents). All these incidents have damaged a vehicle somewhere in the wide world. The lesson being, investigating why a vehicle has been designated salvage title is paramount to understanding what the title means for that situation. Insurance splits coverage into two types: collision and comprehensive. ( Collision covers damage from an accident with another vehicle or while operating on the road. The nature of a vehicle is to drive on roads and to possibly suffer the damages public roads may bestow. Comprehensive covers every other kind of damage. Details vary between policies, but it’s a hazardous world out there. Fires and floods, hail and hurricanes (as we said), all can incapacitate your ride. And if they do, a comprehensive insurance policy will cover part or all the cost.

Salvage Title Welcome to the afterlife of a totaled vehicle. Once a vehicle has been Totaled, the title is Branded as Salvage. ( The brand is permanent, a warning to potential purchasers to please prepare for problems. ( Other Brands exist for the same reason. In the state of California, Brands include Damaged, Dismantled, Replica, Revived Junk, and on-and-on. ( Salvage title in other states may be some combination of these and interact with insurance companies accordingly. Dealing with them is metaphorically walking into a legal jungle; safety is, indeed, not guaranteed. All possible schemes to drive/insure a salvage title vehicle and other special situations (I.E. using it as an off road recreational vehicle or farm vehicle) aside, Salvage Title is a scarlet letter vehicles carry forever. Insuring them is a feat of administrative gymnastics. Fixing them is an epic struggle on par with Good vs Evil. Reselling can feel criminal. Concretely, the price is never sure because damage, that might drastically affect it, can be undiscoverable in just one or even two inspections. ( Great, right! Insurance will be a hassle, if the vehicle is insurable at all. ( Any time money is put into it, it will never be recouped (for the average person) when selling the vehicle because it is after all salvage title. (

Be Careful When finalizing your vehicle purchase it is extremely important to pay attention to all the details especially if you are buying used vehicles.  Checking the title of the vehicle as mentioned above is a must.  Vehicle inspections must be done carefully and by professionals.  All of these advices serve to help you make the best buying decision possible and for you to purchase a vehicle that will give you the less risk and problems.  After purchasing your vehicles you might think there is nothing left to do to further reduce your risk.  That is incorrect, the next step is to implement a Fleet Management Solution for your whole fleet.  You might ask what this fleet management solution can do for me.  The short answer is reduce risk and improve your bottom line.  The fleet management solution will help you monitor your fleet, it will allow you to know when service is due in each vehicle, and also whenever there is a check engine light on so you can address the problem right away.  Being proactive with vehicles is the best way to reduce your risk and also to minimize any repair costs.  As you know it is better to catch problems right away and fix them than to let them get worse and have high repair costs.  In summary, as an owner or manager, you need to do everything possible in order to minimize all the risks associated with vehicles.  Two of the biggest ways to do that is to do the right due diligence when making a decision in which vehicle to purchase, and the second is to implement a fleet management solution to assist you in managing your fleet.

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