Re: Diminished Value?

Yes, you can buy a car back from the insurance company and perform repairs to get the vehicle back onto the road. Such a vehicle will have a Salvage
Title, this indicates to future buyers that the insurance company did not feel that repairs were financially rewarding/justifiable. The insurance company gives your car a value, let's say $3,000 <or whatever>, then they calculate the cost of repairs including parts and labor. For the sake of illustration, the repairs run to $2,750. In this instance the insurance company will declare the vehicle a total loss, and will pay you the value they assign. You can then turn around and buy the vehicle for the Salvage Value, typically about 10% of the value they assign. In practice, the insurance company takes possession of Total Loss vehicles, then they give you the First Right of Refusal -- you get the first chance to take possession back, or let the insurer keep it. If the insurer keeps the vehicle, they will turn around and sell it as salvage. The salvage buyer will then haul the vehicle off to a junk yard where it is then sold off one piece at a time, or is resurected and sold on the open market or shipped offshore to a third world country where it might live for another decade or so. If resold on the open market, it must have the title branded to tell subsequent buyers that it is a salvage vehicle. There might be different rules in various states, but generally speaking all salvage vehicles must be branded.
I own a '93 Mazda that was recently declared a total loss. I bought parts for less than $100 and it's now as good as new. Since the vehicle is so old, and is a model that is in very low demand, the value is also very low. The body shop determined that a welded part could not be repaired without complete replacement of a frame rail -- which was not otherwise damaged in any way -- then the cost of repairs exceeded the value of the vehicle. I was able to scavange the part that was welded, and affect reasonable repairs that allowed the attachment of a readily available bracket and bumper parts. Now, I own a salvage vehicle that has a branded title. If I wanted to sell the vehicle, the title would likely mean that I'd have to discount the sales price because of the questionable history behind the title. Get it?

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