Life hack - wreck your car and drive it anyways
There is a stigma on people who drive salvage cars. There I said it. What kind of self respecting person in the current year (2017ref) would even be caught dead in a salvage vehicle? Think of all your friends in new BMW's! Think of what people think of you when you pull up in a *gasp* smashed up Honda! To be sure other humans whisper "wierdo" and "homeless" as you drive within eyesight is as certain as it is to breathe.
So I think with that intro we have weeded away people who won't drive salvage vehicles. They are called prudes and squares. Laugh if you like, but this world has an inordinate amount of mammals in it that value social status and image above many other useful traits. An example that just popped into my head is the guy at the gym who benches 300+ lbs. This guy does not have sixpack abs and as such no social status is attained from this physical feat or any other that he can do that you cannot. Wierd? No, it's just society.
You may be able to deduce, after reading the above, that I have the privilege of driving a salvaged vehicle. And you know what's funny, the last car I had for a daily driver was a salvage as well. I put an inordinate amount of miles on the last car, which was a 2005 RX8, and then ended up selling it close to what I purchased it for, so the yearly cost to drive was extremely cheap. I could make an argument that it was free but I would be ignoring tax, registration, and gas which theoretically I could do in argument; but the blanket statement of "drive for free" would have to be inclusive to certain non zero factor stipulations.
Here are some pro's and cons of purchasing/owning/operating a salvage vehicle:
- Salvage vehicles are always cheaper than their non-salvage counterparts. Even if they are identical.
- Since your car has an inherently lower value, you are less concerned about it's well being. Door dings anyone?
- Insurance companies will offer full coverage insurance that covers replacement cost and damage just like with clean title vehicles. This is important because it means the risk long past associated with the salvage certificate is nonexistent nowadays. I would bet insurance is actually cheaper for salvage cars but I have no way to verify this.
- I already have a girlfriend so I don't have to worry about maintaining an image of any sort to impress anybody at all. Sorry babe!
- Over the life of the car you will save a tremendous amount of money. It is arguable that these cars can be bought, sold, and in the interim "driven for free."
- Sometimes the salvage car looks the part and it is ugly.
- Unless you are a mechanic or at least very knowledgeable about vehicle repair, you won't always know if you can buy and drive a salvage vehicle without biting off more than you can chew. Unseen repairs or title issues could leave you stranded or cost you big money if you don't know what you're doing.
- Socially, you will be a wretch to behold!
- You are always telling yourself "I've been good long enough, haven't I earned an expensive fun car toy yet?" The urge to spend is very real when you drive a beater and have a decent job.
- Picking up chicks is difficult when you have to explain the recently added huge dent in your hood. Somehow they associate these visual tells to your driving prowess. Luckily for me I have a gf so I don't have to have that awkward convo anymore.
I have an implicit bias towards driving salvage vehicles because they get me where I need to go and they are cheap and often low mileage and comfortable. I also am biased towards doing things that will be better for me in the long haul, hence the attempt at financial blogging. Driving salvaged vehicles makes so much more than sense, it makes dollars. Sigh. I had to.
Ok so if I got your attention - quite a few vehicles on your local craigslist will be offered well below blue book because of the salvage title stigmata alone! Many sellers will have their cars fixed up to like-new condition after the crash, then they just want to sell them so they can get something new and fancy even though the salvage car is likely good for 100k+ miles more. Why are people like this? Who cares! It means more money for you and cooler, newer, cheaper cars. Don't look this ideological fallacy of a gift horse in the mouth! Just take it home.
I bought a brand new car once, and then somebody t-boned me and I ended up getting paid for the value of the car. I hit a deer in it last week (by accident of course.) I blew the bead off the front right tire this morning by driving over a pothole in the same car. It is a trooper. I am still driving it to this day. Well maybe not today because it has a flat tire, but likely tomorrow and going forward from then. And technically since the insurance company already payed it off, I am driving it for free.