What Is The Salvage Value Of A Car?

After your car is damaged from an accident, it’ll be worth less than it was before the collision. But, it still has some value. This is known as its salvage value.

The salvage value definition is the value of a damaged car that isn’t going to be repaired because it’s a total loss — the cost of repairs outweighs the resale value of the car — or it can’t be sufficiently repaired.

car weight for salvage value

A car in this situation is often referred to as a salvage car or salvage vehicle.

Let's say your car has a 5-year life and is bought at $20,000.

Using straight-line depreciation, if your car's value depreciates at $3,000 a year, then at the end of its useful life it will be worth $5,000 ($20,000 minus $15,000 from depreciation expense). That's the salvage value of your car, truck, or SUV.

In reality, multiple factors impact the price of your car or van.

For example, a totaled car’s value will differ from the scrap value of a vehicle. Scrap value depends on the scrap metal prices which in recent years have sharply decreased.

Finding A Salvage Title Car Value

The good news is that the salvage price of your car may be much higher than local scrap vehicle prices, or what an insurance adjuster values your totaled car at.

You can find out how much your totaled car is worth now, or read on to learn more about salvage value.

You'll need a vehicle's scrap value for car reselling purposes. Salvage titles are issued once an insurance company deems a vehicle a total loss, but determinant factors differ per state.

Usually, the best price for a salvage title car you can get is 50 percent of the Kelly Blue Book or NADA salvage value.

Depending on the factors involved, how much a salvage title reduces a car's worth can be even more than that.

Many dealers won't buy rebuilt vehicles or those with salvage titles because of the unknown complications that may arise after purchasing.

How Can You Salvage Your Car For Cash?

When your car is declared to be a total loss or totaled by your insurance company, there are a couple of scenarios that can play out.

First, the insurance company can pay out a settlement check for the actual cash value (or ACV) of the car pre-accident minus any deductible. In that case, the insurance company takes ownership of your car.

Essentially, you’re selling your non-running car to the insurance company for whatever amount they feel it’s worth.

They can reach this salvage value calculation by using their software, Kelly Blue Book estimates, or other external sources.

How can you determine the salvage value of a car?

If you opt to keep your salvage title car, the insurance company will use a depreciation method to calculate the residual value of your car and reduce any settlement payout by that amount.

You’re essentially buying your salvage car from the insurance company.

salvage title vehicle

Is there a clear salvage value formula?

There’s no easy, clear-cut formula for consistently and accurately calculating a car’s salvage value, as there are quite a few variables at play (although you can get a simplistic salvage value formula calculation).

The pre-accident condition of your car, the extent of damage, year, make, model, mileage, demand for parts from your car, and your location will all have an impact on how much money you can get for your car.

The second possibility is keeping the car yourself, so you can sell it to someone else. The act of keeping your car after an insurance company declares it as “totaled” is called owner retention or salvage retention.

In cases of owner or salvage retention, the amount of the check that the insurance company will give you would likely be different from the amount they give you if they keep the vehicle.

This is because when the auto insurance company keeps the vehicle, they pay you for the pre-accident value of the car minus your deductible.

When you keep the car, they will also subtract the price they expected to receive for it at auction.

Why Keep And Sell A Salvage Car Yourself?

If you have a totaled vehicle, you might be wondering why it would make sense to keep it when it has such extensive damage. The answer is that you can sell it to a company that specializes in buying totaled cars for cash.

Don't settle for car scrap prices.

You sell it "as is" and don't have to deal with the hassle and significant expense of trying to get the car repaired or driving a damaged car that is probably unsafe.

Plus, while you have a check from the insurance company for the salvage value, you can also get a check from DamagedCars.com by selling the car to us.

DamagedCars.com is a fast, easy and secure way to sell your junk car online.

Sell Your Salvage Car to DamagedCars.com

Step 1
Enter vehicle details

Enter vehicle details

By filling out our form with accurate information on DamagedCars.com, we can give you an instant offer on some vehicles or contact you with a guaranteed offer shortly after you click “Submit for Offer.”

Step 2
Accept your Offer

Accept your Offer

Happy with the offer? Provide proof of ownership, and we will schedule the pick-up of your car and deliver the payment at the same time.

Step 3
Get paid!

Get paid!

We will hand you a fairly priced check during the car pick up, typically more than the car scrap value.

How To Determine The Salvage Value Of A Car

You'll have a lot to consider before you scrap your car since your car's scrap value will be based on either scrap metal prices per metric ton or other scrap car prices in the area similar to yours.

Salvage quotes differ largely based on location, make, and model.

A 2003 Toyota Corolla's salvage value could be as low as $200 while a Ford F150's scrap value might be higher due to the heavier weight.

They use different scrap metal materials and will be more or less desirable in different states that are in need of those materials.

If you're asking 'how much do salvage yards pay for cars?' then you can expect a payment of between $100 and $200, or lower since they want to create a buffer for profit.

As you can see, scrapping your car usually isn't the best choice when trying to get the best price for your vehicle.

Typically, the auto salvage value calculator is a person's eyes and guesses.

But you still want to sell your damaged car for the real price of your vehicle, fast. And a car with a salvage title's value is subject to the few willing to buy it, and what they will pay.

The Best Way To Get The Value Of Your Salvage Car

So, how should you try to determine the value of a totaled car? A scrap car value calculator or salvage car value calculator will likely be inaccurate.

calculate salvage value

Luckily, through decades of damaged car buying experience, DamagedCars.com can calculate the value of your wrecked car in 90 seconds and give you a guaranteed offer.

We buy salvage cars every day so we can accurately give top salvage car prices.

No need to find scrap yards around you. Rather than settling for the average salvage value of a car, we can help get you a better offer.

At DamagedCars.com, we specialize in buying damaged vehicles and vehicles in less-than-perfect condition.

We’ll give you a quote on what your specific salvage vehicle is worth, so you get the most value for your vehicle.

With our scrap car price calculator, our offers are guaranteed.

There are no fees if you choose to sell your car to DamagedCars.com. You'll never have to ask again "how much is a salvage car worth?"

Why Use DamagedCars.com? Find The Cash Value Of My Car

There are some clear benefits to selling your broken-down, wrecked, or salvage car to DamagedCars.com:

get check for your salvage car
  • Avoid expensive, lengthy repairs.

  • No worries about driving a wrecked and repaired car.

  • Sometimes taking the salvage value and your insurance check are a better value than selling a repaired car.

  • A repaired car can lose up to 30 percent of its never-damaged value.

Why sell your car to us and not a private party?

  • Our professional staff will make you a great offer within hours.

  • We make all the arrangements for pick up at no cost to you.

  • You get rid of your car “as-is” and get a check for it on the spot.

With convenient locations throughout the continental US, and our professional approach, we are able to make you an offer, take care of car removal and pay you within days of your decision to sell your car, so stop worrying about whether to repair your car.

We are top salvage car buyers in the USA. Get your full vehicle salvage value and more by contacting DamagedCars.com today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Salvage Value Of My Car?

Salvage yard prices can vary from city to city and even yard to yard. So, it’s nearly impossible for you to get an accurate number for the value of your car. The best you can do is find the approximate value of your used car pre-accident using online pricing calculators. Then, depending on the amount of damage, you can manually reduce it by 50 to 90 percent.

How Much Is A Salvage Car Worth?

A salvage price for a car is typically very low. It’s difficult to even calculate the salvage value of a car because there are so many factors that you don’t know about to consider. Mechanics, auto shops, and dealerships might be able to give you an estimate for your salvage vehicle, but it’s hard to know if their offer is fair.

At DamagedCars.com, we always provide fair-market quotes. We are able to do this because we look at dozens of data points about your car that other buyers don’t.

As a result, you will get a great estimate from us. What’s more, we give you seven days to decide if our quote is right for you.  

What Is The Salvage Value Of A Car?

The salvage value of a vehicle varies based on a number of factors. First, different types of buyers will view the car’s worth differently. For instance, a junkyard will only factor in the weight of the metal while a dealership will consider resale value. Really, the value of a salvage car can be highly subjective.

But at DamagedCars.com, we have a formula for evaluating all types of broken vehicles. We look at tons of factors so that we don’t miss anything that could increase your vehicle’s value.

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Salvage Value?

Your car will first go through an appraisal process to determine its value. An agent will come to you to evaluate your vehicle. He or she will factor in the pre-accident value of your car in addition to its current state.

However, the appraised amount won’t be what you receive from your insurer. They will factor in your deductible and the amount they would have earned at auction.

How Much Can I Get For A Salvage Car?

It will be hard to find a high offer for your car if it is totaled. You can visit local junkyards, auto shops, and even post about it online to see how much you can sell for. But the chances are high that your offers will be way below your car’s actual value.

If you want to get the best salvage car quote, head to DamagedCars.com. We buy cars in all types of conditions, even totaled ones. We look at more than just the year, make, and model of your vehicle to maximize your offer.

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