Cash Auto Salvage

How to Sell a Totaled Car for Cash

how to sell a totaled car for cash

So you were in an accident and now the car is totaled. You want to sell it, but who is going to buy a totaled car?

The recycled material gathered from old vehicles totals 25 million tons. But maybe you aren’t ready to give up on your car and send it to recycling. If you know how to sell a totaled car then you have another option.  

Follow this guide and we’ll help you get your totaled car sold today!    

The Insurance Company 

Your first option is to go through the insurance company. The representative from the insurance company will scout five vehicles that are similar to yours.  

They will then ignore the highest and lowest priced vehicles. The price they will offer you is an average of the remaining three.  

The trick to getting the most for your vehicle is to make sure the vehicles the insurance company selects are true comparisons to your vehicle. 

You need to make sure they are the same year make and model. You also need to make sure that they are in the same condition and have the same mileage. 

Another problem is if your car has special limited edition features. You risk your vehicle being seriously undervalued because the insurance company picked a base model instead of the top of the line model. 

Is the Car Legitimately Totaled? 

When it comes to totaled cars there are a few competing definitions. Most people assume a car is no longer drivable when it is totaled. 

However, this isn’t always the case. Insurance companies define a car as totaled when it will cost the insurance company more to fix the vehicle than it is worth. 

As you can see, the damage to a vehicle can be vastly different to meet this threshold. So before you consider a car a loss you need to determine what the level of damage actually is. 

Salvage the Vehicle 

If you sold the vehicle to the insurance company, they will salvage the vehicle for you. But if you didn’t, you can go through the process of salvaging it yourself. 

Once the car is salvaged, you’ll have to head over to the department of motor vehicles for a new title. This new title is actually a salvage certificate.

This distinction is important. It doesn’t matter how “like new” the car’s condition is made, it will always be considered a salvaged car that was once totaled. 

Check with your DMV office to confirm the requirements for a salvage title. you need to confirm that your car qualifies. 

You most likely will need to provide a physical inspection and a VIN verification. You could have a DHSMV agent, tax collector, police officer, public notary, or licensed dealer perform these for you. 

You will then fill out an application for a salvage title. Then submit your application with payment 

Sell to a Dealership

The easiest way to sell a salvaged car is to a dealership or other company that regularly deals with these types of cars. They will give you a cash offer for your car. 

Dealers will use these cars for various purposes such as resale, parts, or sell at auction. There are some dealers that will exclusively deal in buying salvaged titles and selling them to the public. 

Sell to a Private Party 

Another option is to privately sell your salvage car to another individual. This is not the easiest or most advisable solution.

Many people are leery of salvage titles. They fear that there is something seriously wrong with the car. That it will never run right or is unsafe. While we know this isn’t true, it will be an uphill battle convincing a potential buyer that. 

There are also increased insurance costs associated with salvage titles. So even if someone is willing to buy your vehicle, the increased costs might deter them. 

Scrap Yard 

If you’ve tried all of your options and you simply can’t sell the vehicle you have on final option. You can always head to your local junkyard and scrap the vehicle. 

You won’t make as much money since you are selling the metal. But at least you are going to make something. Many junkyards will even come and tow your car away for you. 

To be able to scrap the car you will need to show proof of title and registration. You will also need to show that the vehicle has been salvaged. 

Donate It  

This method won’t make you any money per se. But you will be able to claim the donation as a tax credit. So it’s kind of like making money since you’ll still benefit from the value of the car in the donation. 

Just be sure if you go this route you have full documentation of the donation. you need to be able to prove to the IRS that you actually donated a vehicle to a legitimate charity.   

How to Sell a Totaled Car

Now that you know how to sell a totaled car you know you have options should the day ever come where you are involved in a car accident. You don’t have to accept whatever the insurance company tells you.  

This means you can salvage the title and sell the vehicle privately yourself. By doing it this way you can look to get more money than whatever the insurance company offered you.  

We can help you sell your car whether it’s totaled or not. Get your instant online offer now! 

Totaled Car Insurance Payout: How Much Should You Expect?

totaled car insurance payout

Getting into an accident is scary, no matter how minor it is. If you walk away okay, you’re thankful it was nothing serious and there are no medical bills to follow.

But what if your car wasn’t so lucky and now it’s totaled? This is difficult enough, not to mention the thought of getting a new one.

If you’re waiting on totaled car insurance payout, you have several questions related to the health of your car and what to expect next. Learn more about the process and prepare yourself for each step of the way.

Understand What Happens When a Car Gets Declared Totaled

If you’ve gotten into an auto accident, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that your car can get totaled. This is an unfortunate but common occurrence that happens regardless of where you drive or the type of vehicle you own.

After you’ve gotten into an accident, you and the other party need to exchange insurance information and have an adjuster come out and look at your car. The adjuster is the person who decides if your car is totaled, and how much you’ll get for it based on age, miles, and condition.

In some cases, your car is not totaled, but it’d be better to scrap it for money. Once you go through the process with the adjuster, you’ll gain a better idea of what comes next.

Know How to Calculate Totaled Car Insurance Payout

Understanding how much insurance pays for a totaled car varies because of several factors.

These include:

  • The age of your car
  • Present condition
  • Number of miles on the car

There are certain cases that determine if your car gets labeled as totaled and not worth fixing, according to the insurance company. If it’s impossible to repair the car safely, costs too much money to do so (normally more than the car is worth), consider it totaled.

Depending on the state you live in and what their regulations are, your car might not meet certain requirements after the accident. This means it gets marked totaled, but it changes by state.

You can find out what possible value you’ll get for the car based on the Kelly Blue Book. Another way to determine is by calculating 20% to 40% of the car’s fair condition value, erring on the side of 20% for safety.

Make sure you find out if your car was actually totaled. Getting the run-around from insurance agents isn’t fair, but it does happen.

Know That Airbags Play a Factor in Value After Getting Totaled

In many modern cars, airbags deploy even if a serious accident didn’t occur. Many insurance adjusters know this when evaluating a car and deciding if it should get marked totaled or not.

Replacing an airbag and dealing with collision costs has a direct effect on how much you’ll get back from the insurance company. State regulation plays into airbag deployment and what this means for your car.

If you’re the owner of a newer car, what you’ll pay for repairs is less likely to cost more than the overall value of the car. This can leave you uncertain of what’s going on when finding out how airbags affect the car value.

Check your state regulations and talk with the adjuster, if possible. You won’t necessarily get the final number of what’s coming to you, but you’ll have a better understanding of the total amount you could get back.

Understand You Can Negotiate Vehicle Value

Once you’ve gotten the value of your vehicle, don’t assume nothing else can happen once it’s determined that your car got totaled. There’s still an opportunity to negotiate the vehicle value.

This doesn’t necessarily give you the number you’re looking for, but it makes a difference in bringing it up closer to the amount you were expecting. Consider your car and what you believe makes it worth more than the insurance company is willing to offer.

Certain things can raise the value of your vehicle like:

  • If it is under five years old
  • Improvements and upgrades you’ve had put on the car

Know that the insurance company gets salvage value from your car once it’s been totaled. That means they sell parts at a higher price and reap the value of those parts.

It’s possible that if your car doesn’t get totaled, it becomes a salvage car. This comes with its own set of issues, and it’s important to read up and proceed with caution.

You’re Still on the Hook for a Loan

If your car is still considered new and it got totaled in an accident, you’re still responsible for the loan you took out on it. Even though it’s totaled, you cannot drive it, and someone else caused the accident, you’re still responsible for paying back the loan regardless.

Many people get confused when they find themselves in this situation, and believe there’s some way they can negotiate the terms of the loan. A lack of vehicle and a remaining balance do not cancel each other out, according to the law.

In this case, consider what’s going to cost more: getting a new car or paying off your loan. Depending on how much money you get back from your totaled car, you can use that amount to pay off what you owe for the loan an the rest for your new car, or at least as a downpayment.

This situation requires careful financial balancing, and it’s sometimes difficult to know exactly how much to set aside based on your needs. Although some people think they’ve struck pay dirt when their car gets totaled and insurance needs to pay out, this is not the case when your car is new and there’s still a loan on the line.

Determine what you’re able to live with, and consider paying off your current balance first before you take out any additional money. You want to ensure you have a safe vehicle, but not at the expense of stretching yourself thin with your current finances.

Know the Benefits of Getting GAP Insurance

If you have a loan on your car and end up in an accident that results in a totaled vehicle, all hope isn’t lost if you have GAP insurance. GAP stands for guaranteed auto protection and keeps you from fronting all the responsibility for a loan when your car is beyond damaged and no longer usable.

GAP insurance pays the difference from what your car is worth and the balance of your loan. While you won’t get any of this money up front, it’s helpful to know that the insurance ensures you’re no longer managing a loan for a vehicle you can’t drive anymore.

GAP insurance is not right for every situation. If your car is worth less than what you owe, this is the perfect instance when GAP insurance comes in handy.

The minute your car is more than what’s left on the loan, you’re better off using the proceeds to pay for what’s left on your payments.

Not everyone needs GAP insurance and many people don’t find it useful if they’ve never gotten into an accident before. You’ll never know until you need it; if you think GAP insurance is helpful given your current financial situation, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Learn More

If you’ve gotten into an accident and discovered your call was totaled as a result, this is a difficult situation. It’s hard to know what to expect if you’ve never gone through it and have any questions about your car.

You can attempt to calculate the value to find out what your possible payout is. If you’re not happy with what’s offered to you, it’s worth your time to negotiate in hopes of getting a higher amount from your car.

If you’ve had the foresight to purchase GAP insurance you’ll have help managing your car loan balance. But even if you didn’t, be aware you’re still responsible for paying this amount off regardless of how much you owe.

Although the process seems difficult, know that you’re aren’t alone, and there are ways to manage your situation. If you’re experiencing issues related to your car not getting totaled, but you still don’t want to drive it, let us help.

Driving your car after a major accident is questionable for many people. The totaled car insurance payout varies on a variety of factors and it’s possible for your car to get damaged without labeled totaled.

Check out our blog 10 things to do before you junk your car, and learn how you can get started.

Is Your Car Actually Totaled? Don’t Let them Give You the Runaround

So you’ve gotten in a car crash and your car has been labeled as a ‘write off…’ but is the car actually totaled?

Post-accident insurance claims can be a complicated and confusing process. It’s important that you are aware of standard procedures so you know what you are entitled to and make sure insurers don’t give you the runaround.

In this handy guide, we’re going to let you in on everything you need to know about what the next step is for a car that is considered totaled.

Let’s get straight to it.

What influences insurers deciding if a car is totaled?

A common misconception is that a car actually totaled is one that cannot be driven due to damage caused by the accident.

Well, this is not always the case.

The main factor that comes into play when deciding if a car is totaled in an insurers eyes is money.

Put simply, the car will be labeled as a total loss if the cost of repairs is higher than the value of the car.

This means that if your car isn’t worth a lot it may actually be labeled as a total loss even if it hasn’t sustained major damage.

For example: a car is only worth $500 and has a significant dent in the bodywork that would cost $700 dollars to replace then the insurance company will write off the car and define it as being a total loss. This is typically all that it takes for a car to be totaled.

Why do insurers ‘write off’ cars?

This isn’t some sly trick played by insurers, in most cases, it is actually the most beneficial option for everyone involved. Here’s why:

Saves money:

If a car that is worth $4000 needs $5000 worth of repairs then by declaring the car as a ‘total loss’ the insurance company will actually save $1000. Don’t forget they will also make some money back from selling the car to a scrapyard too.

You as the customer will of course also save money as the insurance company is picking up the tab for the wreck and paying you the amount your car was worth before the accident, meaning you can buy one similar.

Saves time:

Neither you nor the insurer has to wait for lengthy repairs to take place before settling the claim. This means that you can get your money faster and get back on the road with your own vehicle ASAP.

What factors determine the payout amount for a car actually totaled?

Insurance companies will pay you for the amount your car was worth before the accident. The following factors come into play when calculating that amount:


Different models are worth different amounts. The brand and type of car will be one of the biggest factors when determining how you will be paid.

The age of the car.

Cars depreciate in value over time. Simply by driving a new car out of the lot will depreciate the value by 11%, while within 5 years the loss can be as high as 46%.

In short, the older the car, the less you will get.


Similar to the age of the car, the higher the number is the less it will be worth.

If your dashboard is still intact, you can find out your mileage from just behind your steering wheel. If not, then you can find the number on previous servicing reports.

The condition of the car.

Insurance companies will do a thorough check to try and find out the condition of your car pre-accident.

They will look for anything from big issues to small negligence problems. All of these will come into play to determine how much you will receive.

Your involvement in the accident.

This can be the trickiest and lengthiest figure to decide upon, but the level of responsibility you had the accident will have a significant impact on how much you will be paid in the end.

For example, if you got ran into by another car while you were stationary then you can expect to receive the full amount.

However, if the lines are not as clear cut as that then should prepare yourself to be paid less depending on your level of involvement.

The insurance company and type of insurance.

Of course, the policy you have and the company you are insured with will also depend on how much you are paid.

Different companies have different procedures and payment calculations.Be sure to check your policy

How long does it take to get paid for a car actually totaled?

There really is no clear cut answer to this as each claim is so different as are the policies among insurance companies.

Once a settlement has been agreed upon it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the check to arrive. But to get to that point can take months, especially if other parties involved in the accident are challenging your statement.

Be cautious of accepting early deals as they may be undervalued, we suggest following the steps below.

What to do when you have a car actually totaled.

Check your insurance policy.

Now is a good time to sit down with your agent.

Despite what many people believe most agents will be very upfront and helpful when it comes to filing a claim as all parties involved want to reach a solution as quickly as possible.

Still, it is important that you are aware of what you are entitled to so that they don’t give you the runaround.

Go through the insurance policy yourself and check what the protocol is and what you should expect. Feel free to ask for clarity from your agent on anything you are unsure of.

Find out the value of your car pre-accident.

With a wide variety of tools available, it is relatively straightforward to find out how much you are entitled to receive.

We recommend getting an estimate from multiple sources so that you will have a rough idea of the average cost of your car.

This will ensure that you know how much you should be paid by the insurer, but don’t forget to take into account the other factors that influence the amount you receive.

Know your rights.

Auto insurance companies are regulated by the state so it’s worth your time checking in with your state’s department of insurance.

Most have a website where you can find out all the processes and steps for your specific state as well as what the insurer is responsible for and what your rights are.

This is also the avenue you should go down if you feel like you are being mistreated or taken advantage of by your insurance company.

What if I still owe on the car actually totaled?

The process is pretty straightforward. Be sure to check out our full post on what to do here.

What if I want to keep the car?

We understand that cars can often hold a tremendous amount of memories/sentimental value and you may want to keep the car after a wreck.

If you choose to go down this route then we suggest the following:

Beware of the risks.

The car may be recorded as being totaled.

After a car has been involved in a major accident it most likely will be registered on a database such as CarFax. This means that it is possible for potential buyers to see the history of your ‘totaled’ car which may be a determining factor in a sale.

Old parts can be hard to find.

One of the reasons old cars are labeled as a ‘total loss’ more frequently than new cars is because it can be more difficult to source the parts for an old vehicle.

Especially if a car is 15+ years old you may find it very hard to get the right parts to fix it up.

It can be a long and expensive process.

If you have a car actually totaled, bringing it back from the dead can be an extremely lengthy process. Often repairs cost more than we predict and take longer than we would like them too.

This may not be feasible if you don’t have the time nor money to wait to get back on the road.

Find out the value of your car post-accident.

Meaning, what is the cash value of your totaled car? If an accident has indeed left your car actually totaled, it’s quick and easy to find out how much it is worth by getting a free no obligation quote from a salvage center.

Once you have this number in mind, it will help you decide whether or not it is worth it and will help ensure that the insurance company is quoting the car actually totaled at an accurate rate.

Decide if it’s worth it.

Remember that you will have to pay the insurance company for the totaled car from your payout check.

You should take the time to weigh up all the pros and cons before making the decision to ensure that your car accident doesn’t lead to further disasters.

Car actually totaled?

We at Cash Auto Salvage are a one-stop destination when it comes to exchanging your vehicle for top dollar.

Not only do we offer free pick ups but we even offer you cash in hand that very same day.

If an accident has left your car actually totaled why not find a service area near you today?

Car is Totaled and I Still Owe On It, Now What?

Car accidents are always unwelcome. Even if you’re willing to walk away from the accident, you’re still stuck with the issue of needing a car. The only thing that makes this worse is when the car in question is one you still owe on. This can be a particularly awful situation. You need a new car, but you still have to make payments on a car you can no longer use. Read on for some ideas on what to do.

Talk to Your Lender

If you owe on your car, you’re still making payments to a lender. In that case, what you should do first is consider speaking them. The lender understands there is no longer a car to repossess. So all they want is their money. While they might decide to proceed with collection efforts on you, most lenders are probably smart enough to realize this could convince you to file bankruptcy, in which case, they’ll see no money.

As such, they might be open to the idea of refinancing your loan. They’re still going to want their money, mind you, they’ll just give you other options for paying it. Furthermore, given that you’re asking for help because of a situation beyond your control, they might be more understanding.

Consult a Debt Management Specialist

You can also contact a specialist in debt management. Everyone has piling amounts of debt these days, sadly, so there are plenty of experienced specialists out there who can help you.

They may offer one of a number of solutions. For example, they may volunteer to contact your lender for you and try to work out a deal on your behalf. Another option would be looking at other areas where you have debt and seeing if there are solutions for minimizing those as much as possible.

Debt management specialist might also know of companies who would purchase your debt from the original lender. They’ll still expect to get paid, but you may obtain better terms.

Consult Your Insurance Company

If you had car insurance, you’ll at least get some money for your car. Most likely, however, the problem you’re facing right now is that the insurance payment wasn’t enough to cover what you owed (if you lack gap insurance, for example).

Don’t immediately apply the insurance payment to paying off the car until you know all your options. Instead speak to the insurance company, explain your situation and see if there are options. More than likely this won’t do much, but consider telling them you’ll be buying your insurance elsewhere and see what happens.

Go to a Salvage Lot

A totaled car is no good to anyone except a salvage lot. They’ll pay you for your totaled car which you can use to cover your current situation. At Cash Auto Salvage, we pride ourselves on offering top dollar, in cash, for your totaled vehicle. We’ll even pick it up from you and you don’t even need the keys or title.

While you’re in a stressful time right now, keep your head and consider the above options. Try them all and you’ll be much better off.

How to Negotiate Totaled Car Value

When you have an old or inoperable car sitting around, you may be considering junking the vehicle.  If you want to junk your old vehicle, there are some things to keep in mind to make sure that you get the best price for the value of your vehicle.

How is Your Car’s Value Determined?

Totalled Car
Totaled Car

When you are junking your old car, you need to know how the auto salvage yard comes up with an offer.  While it may seem that there is little value in your vehicle, this is not the case.  Most junk cars are purchased based on the weight of the vehicle, but there are other considerations that are involved in the process.

When you make the decision to junk your car, it will either be junked for its weight, or it will be parted out to those who need parts for their own vehicles.  Either way, there is actually quite a bit of value in your old vehicle, even when others are trying to tell you otherwise.

Getting the Best Price

One of the best ways to make sure that you get a fair price for your vehicle is to take the time to write down a detailed description of the car.  If possible, note any parts that you know are working, as well as those that are not.  You also need to note the condition of the car, including the body, interior, tires, and paint.  You will also want to note any damaged or rusted areas.   Being able to provide this information will help you negotiate the best possible price for your totaled car, and will ensure that you get a fair quote.


If your vehicle is still drivable, you should take the time to assess the condition of the car using a car valuation site.  You will want to enter as much information as possible to ensure that you get an accurate valuation of the vehicle.

Salvage Value

Another method that will help you to get the best value for your totaled car is to contact your insurance company to find out what percentage they use to determine the value of your car.  This percentage varies from one insurance company to another, but this will give you a good idea of what you should be able to expect when you junk your vehicle.

Shop Around

It is always a good idea to contact different salvage yards to determine what options you have available.  Some salvage yards will offer you the lowest possible pricing, while others, such as Cash Auto Salvage will give you a fair price for your vehicle.  Once you have contacted a few different salvage yards, you will then be able to choose the one that will pay you the most for your vehicle.  You can also use this information to negotiate with salvage yards, so that they know you have done your homework and know the actual value of the car you are trying to get rid of.


Wait! We REALLY Want Your Vehicle!

We pay $100 – $15,000 for cars, trucks, & SUV’s – no matter the condition. Get paid on the spot + free towing!

Or Call 1-855-540-4649

There is no obligation to accept an offer.