Salvaged Title Fraud - How to Protect Yourself

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.

 Until next week, stay safe.


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