A totaled car is one that would cost more to repair than it's worth.
In fact, the exact definition is a car with repair costs equal to or greater than 70% of the car's value.
One of the easiest ways to sell a totaled car is to go straight to a junkyard, where they'll take it off your hands for a fair price and then seek to salvage it for parts and scrap metal, but it isn't always the best solution.
How do I Get Rid of My Totaled Car or Truck?
You have a car accident.
Your vehicle is damaged beyond repair. Now what?
It all comes down to your insurance, the value of your car, and a few other factors.
Should you go through insurance companies, should you find a junk car buyer, can you hope to get anywhere near the value of your car with either option?
Let's find out.
Step 1: Contact Your Insurance Company
The first step is to contact your car insurance provider.
They will offer you a price for the vehicle and will seek to settle.
You don't have to take this offer and if you believe that they're not giving you a fair price, you can check the value of the vehicle yourself and go through a third-party appraiser, assuming this option is available under your insurance policy.
Once you have settled with the insurance company, you will sign the vehicle title to them, collect your cash, and put it toward a new car or truck.
Insurance companies get a bad rep, but when it comes to totaled motor vehicles, they are usually easy to deal with.
You will get a cash offer equal to the market value of your car, and you can start thinking about your next purchase.
If you are not insured, or you don't have comprehensive coverage, it's a different matter entirely and you could be left out of pocket after a major car accident.
That's where a scrap yard comes in.
Step 2: Look at Car Dealerships
If you don't have the coverage needed to make a claim with your insurance company, or you feel that you can get more money elsewhere, you can consider selling your vehicle to used car dealerships.
The first thing you need to do is sign the vehicle over to your local DMV and get a salvage certificate.
A dealership may purchase your salvage vehicle so that it can repair it or salvage it for car parts.
There is more value there than you realize, and a good car dealer will know how to extract that value.
It's important to shop around and don't just accept the first dealership that makes you an offer.
Get multiple different quotes, take their comments on board, and keep looking until you find a dealership willing to give you a good price for your salvage car.
Step 3: Consider a Junkyard
If you can't sell your car to a dealership, either because they won't take it or you can't get a good price, then you can sell it to a junkyard instead.
You will need the salvage title and can sell your junk car regardless of the condition, style, type, or even the age.
It doesn't matter how damaged your car is or how worthless you think it is, a junkyard will always take it off your hands.
How Much Can I Get for Selling my Car to a Junkyard?
Junk car buyers will strip car parts from salvage vehicles and then sell them for scrap, which means the value of your car will depend on the quality and condition of those parts, as well as the amount of metal.
A large truck is always going to generate more scrap than a small car, for instance, but as condition, quality, age, and supply and demand also play a role, it won't necessarily receive a higher quote overall.
Check your options.
Speak with your insurance company, get quotes from dealers, and ask around local junkyards.
It's a little trickier selling a salvage car, but it's far from an impossibility, especially if you have the salvage certificate or adequate insurance coverage.