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generally in good condition, and often used
for joy rides. It was a great way for a buyer
to get a good vehicle at an excellent price.
Selling the salvage
After the salvage titles were prepared, I
would post the list of available vehicles
internally, and leave a few lists at the front
desk. It was amazing how there was a
group of people in the community who
used to regularly watch the “used car lot”
for vehicles they might want to purchase.
The vehicles were sold by closed bids. We
would look at the value of the vehicle, and
sell it to the highest bidder as long as the
company got a percentage of the value
based on condition.
However, like any good car lot, people
wanted to look at and at least start the
vehicles if the ignition was intact. When
someone wanted to look at a vehicle, he
would call me internally or go to the front
desk and ask for me. I would come out
with an envelope full of keys and walk the
person out to the parking lot of vehicles
so he could look at what was available. I’d
show him the vehicles, let him start the
car, and point out all the features.
Fortunately, the receptionist and I got
along well, and if someone showed up on
a rainy, stormy day, she would run them
off and tell them to come another day. I
wouldn’t even know until after the fact.
Always be nice to your receptionist.
The purchasers were interesting as well;
many newly licensed teens of employees
started out in one of those used cars. Some
parents preferred to buy the teen a larger
vehicle for safety, and others preferred
smaller cars so the teen could carry fewer
passengers. Some purchasers were some-
what regular buyers who had bought from
us before and wanted a different or newer
vehicle, or had yet another son or daughter
reach driving age and they needed a vehi-
cle for that teenager.
Of course having the vehicles on the
lot presented its own hazards for the
company. While the building had secu-
rity cameras and staff who patrolled the
lot, there was the bold thief or thieves
who stole the wheels and seats from a
Ford Mustang parked on the lot. How
that happened was always a mystery and
Once the vehicle was sold, the buyer
would bring the funds to the office and we
would handle the paperwork, and send the
buyer and vehicle merrily on their way. I
am sure the salvage process has changed
since then, but it does provide a look at the
old days of recovered stolen vehicles, at
least from one perspective.
Christine G. Barlow, CPCU, (cbarlow@
alm.com) is an editor with FC&S Online,
the authority on insurance coverage
interpretation and analysis for the
P&C industry. It is the resource agents,
brokers, risk managers, underwriters, and
adjusters rely on to research commercial
and personal lines coverage issues.