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If you’re considering buying a recovered stolen car, you may have some eerie feelings. You’re probably not sure where the car has been, why it was stolen or if it’s now damaged. Nevertheless, buying a previously-stolen car can be a great investment. They are usually priced inexpensively and many can be found in good condition.
Any vehicle that has been stolen from its owner and then found is a recovered theft car . Many stolen cars are often involved in accidents, stripped for parts or sold in other countries. Other times, stolen cars are found in mint condition. Some states will title these cars as “salvage cars.”
There are currently over 700,000 stolen vehicles in the U.S. that have not yet been recovered, according to autobiometrics.com . According to the FBI, a vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds in the U.S. A survey conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau and LoJack found that 21 percent of American drivers don’t always lock their vehicles.
In the case of a theft recovered car that has a salvage title, it is often a great decision to purchase such a vehicle. When a car is missing for three weeks (or 30 days in some cases), the owner’s insurance company will pay off the cost of the vehicle. The car is then titled a “total loss.” When it is found and recovered, it’s then titled a “salvage” vehicle. This leaves some salvage vehicles without any damage at all.
Salvage-titled cars can be a great investment for someone who is on a tight budget, a first-time buyer, someone who wants a second vehicle or a mechanic who is looking to dismantle parts. These cars can often be found at two-thirds the price of a clean-titled car. The following states issue a salvage-title after a vehicle has been stolen: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma and Oregon.
Upon your purchase, have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic. Also take the car to a body shop. Although the vehicle might appear damage-free, there could be internal damages that need repairing. Most states do not allow salvage cars to be driven on the road, but after proper inspection, it’s not difficult for a car to be re-titled.
Each state requires different information to change the title of your car from salvage to a non-salvage status. Generally, you will need a Vehicle Identification Number confirmation, title and registration forms, photographs, insurance company damage reports and bills of sale. These forms and applications may need a signature from a notary or a signature from an inspecting law enforcement official.
If the car’s seller was unable to provide a registration document (V5C), the car you purchased may have been stolen. Some thieves will tamper with the preexisting V5C. Check for spelling mistakes, watermarks, and if the name and address match other details given to you. Purchasing a stolen car is considered a crime, but police are unlikely to place an arrest if you didn’t know the car was stolen.
If you would like to get rid of the stolen car and get your money back, you will need to take the seller to court. You may become unable to trace the seller if he or she was using a fake identity. If you are able to trace the seller, arrange to meet with a legal expert before proceedings begin. If you decide to keep the car, a judge will need to decide if you can and it will likely become impounded. No matter what, do not keep the car a secret if you know it was stolen. If the previous owners find their stolen car, police may accuse you of stealing it.
Immediately call the police and file a stolen vehicle report. Next, contact your insurance company and be ready to provide the car’s title, names and phone numbers of those who had access to the vehicle, the location of the vehicle’s keys and a list of personal property inside the vehicle. Do not approach any car that you may think is yours without contacting police first.
However, do not depend on the police to find your car. Let’s face it; finding your stolen car won’t be their top priority. It is your responsibility to take action and find your car. Tell everyone you know that your car is missing, so that if it’s spotted, someone will let you know. Give out your phone number to all of your friends and family so they can get a hold of you.
Give pictures of your car and your contact information to all of the municipal tow companies and tow yards in your area. If you are able to talk to these companies in person, they will be more likely to contact you if it’s spotted. If your car was stolen in a public area, there was most likely a camera in the parking lot. Ask the company if you or the police may review footage.
Unfortunately, many people steal cars with the intention of selling them for money. Check online for car parts being sold, or even the whole car itself. If you think you have identified parts from your car online, talk to the police before meeting with the seller so they can accompany you. Searching for a stolen car is frustrating and challenging, but keep in mind that your insurance company will pay off the cost of the vehicle within three weeks to a month if it is not found. Remain hopeful, because many stolen cars are recovered.