By John Linhardt
U.S. Auto Insurers declare four million vehicles as total losses every year. However, those 4 million cars and trucks do not all go to the scrap heap. Many have salvage value of thousands of dollars, which insurers “recoup” through salvage auctions.
The leading player, which is uses exclusively by Allstate and Liberty, is “Copart”. They operate 160 junkyards and 203 auction facilities in the USA and Canada, They sold over 1 million vehicles in 2013, collecting a fee from sellers (the insurance companies) as well as buyers.
It works like this: Copart directly picks up the vehicle, which insurers described as “totalled”. It then gets inventoried by Copart facilities. Then you look on your computer under “Copart”, and photos with full descriptions appear and the vehicle gets sold to the highest on line auction bidder. Only 80% are wrecks, as some are abandoned or re-possessed. Copart has “full” titles, and with cars on the road lasting an average of 12 years, parts are in demand. Now cars that previously would be scrapped, are auctioned off to be fixed, or dismantled for valuable parts. Don’t look for any antique or classic cars, as “insiders” get those prior to “on-line” auctions.