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According to Jon Markman’s 2018 report on Copart for Forbes, the salvage vehicle market is vast due in part to the increasing number of distracted drivers on the road. Following this, Dell Technologies reported that there were 13 million crashes during 2019 in the US.

Insurance companies often declare vehicles as a total loss if they cannot be repaired. Without a doubt this leads to a growing market for salvage vehicles. While cars are becoming safer thanks to technological advancements, the number of total loss declarations and fatalities on the road continues to rise.

Salvage auto auctions such as Copart thrive under these conditions. So, is it a bad thing?

Definitely not.

Un-salvaged cars end up in landfills and add to the huge pollution problem in the world.

auto auction

One man’s trash is another man’s fortune. As such salvaged cars:

  1. Provide parts to keep our older cars running.
  2. Give affordable cars to people who have the skills to repair a car from (almost) trash to treasure.
  3. Create income for dismantlers, recyclers, and mechanics.
  4. Keep trillions of pounds of scrap off the landfills.
  5. Recycled steel is manufactured by reclaiming metal from scrapped cars. This takes approximately 74% less energy than mining and manufacturing new metal. 

Introducing Copart

Copart is a major player in the automotive auctions industry. The company’s figures are astounding:

  • There are more than 750,000 members in 170+ countries.
  • Operates in 200+ locations in 11 countries.
  • Copart offers 125,000 cars on auction daily.
  • More than 2 million cars were sold in 2017.
copart auto auctions

How Does it Work?

Like IAAI auto auctions and police auctions, Copart obtains their cars from dealers, fleets, insurance companies, and the like in the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, and the Middle East. With locations in eleven countries, it opens up a global marketplace for dealers and individuals looking for affordable salvaged vehicles.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Salvage Title Car

What is the main benefit of buying a car from an auto auction like Copart? The inventory sometimes includes repossessed cars or vehicles. Some are stolen and recovered after the insurance paid out the claim. These cars tend to be in great condition. They are often solid brands like Honda, Toyota, or Lexus.

If you have experience in repairing cars you can buy a somewhat damaged car at a laughable price. After this you can repair it at a fraction of the cost of buying a second-hand car in decent condition. Salvaged cars are often re-branded. Change from a salvaged title to another category as this will allow you to drive on public roads.

You don’t get a salvage title from the Copart yard for a test-drive so above all you have to trust your gut. Add to this that unless you know what you’re doing you can run into some unanticipated, expensive repairs. [How to assess a second-hand car](Salvage cars can be badly damaged).

Why Write a Car Off?

You must know that there are different reasons why insurance companies write cars off. Mainly because of accidents or water damaged cars that are beyond repair. In this case you can use them for spares – a big reason for many people to attend auto auctions. Another reason why insurers might agree to write off a car is to prevent the insured from claiming potentially large layouts from property damage or medical claims. Again, they sometimes don’t bother to carefully assess the damage before totaling a car. In which case, you could run into quite a nice little bargain.

While there are certainly some benefits to buying a used vehicle, it’s important to be aware of the potential drawbacks as well. There have been instances where buyers were unaware of significant problems with the vehicle, such as electrical malfunctions or a bent frame, which can be costly and difficult to repair. Make sure to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and be aware of its history before making a purchase.

Even if you repair a vehicle with a salvage title and get it running smoothly again, the salvage branding will remain on the title. In order to legally operate the vehicle on the roads, you will need to have it inspected by the DMV. If the vehicle passes the inspection, the salvage title will be changed to a rebuilt title.

Insurance | Copart

You will need insurance for your salvaged car. Many insurers will not cover a rebuilt, salvage-titled vehicle. In case of an accident it is difficult to assess whether the damage is from the previous accident or the latest one. Therefore the chances of it breaking down are higher than that of a brand new car.

Make sure you get comprehensive or collision insurance. At this time you should shop around as it will be worth your while.

Ultimately, your decision should be based on the time and money you’re willing to invest in a salvaged car, and your comfort level with repairing it.


How to Buy a Car

Some states require that you have a dealer’s license to buy from Copart auctions. If you don’t have one, there are three options:

  1. Start by selling a few cars through Copart or IAAI auctions. Ask friends or family to allow you to sell their cars through there. By then, you have built a reputation and can apply for a dealer license.
  2. Use a broker to bid on no license required inventory on Copart.
  3. Join Copart as a business and add the appropriate business licenses and documents (business license, sales tax license, or sales tax exemption form).

    To buy a car on Copart, follow these steps: 1. Join Copart and either find a broker or submit your business licenses. 2. Search for vehicles and add them to your watch list. 3. Join auctions and place bids. 4. Pay for your purchases and arrange to pick up.

Copart provides ten high-quality images along with generous descriptions of each vehicle, but the company still encourages members to inspect any vehicles on which they intend to bid, in person. You can view vehicles during business hours on weekdays at any Copart location. Contact your nearest location to find out the times of viewings. It is free for Copart members to view. Unfortunately members of the public will pay $20 per visit.

There are three ways to buy a car from Copart:

Preliminary bids are available up to an hour before the live auction starts. With a pre-bid, you place an incremental value bid on your chosen vehicle that is represented at the live auction. If nobody else submits a higher bid, you could well win the bid. What happens when there is a tie between the live bid and pre-bid? As a rule the live bid prevails.

Live bidding is available for bidders who want to enjoy the excitement of an auto auction from the comfort of their homes. Copart’s live bidding technology allows you to bid from your computer or phone. The bid is awarded to the highest bidder when the timer stops.

Buy it Now

Copart has a Buy It Now category that allows you to purchase a car without having to wait for the live auction. These sales guarantee that the buyer will receive the vehicle upon full payment, which is due in 3 business days. Full payment includes:

  • Sales price
  • Buyer fee
  • Gate fee
  • Internet bid fee
  • Tax storage rates (vary by location)

How to Ship Your Car From Copart Auto Auctions

After reading this you’re probably raring to attend your first Copart auto auction. Remember that not all cars on auction run or steer.

Decide how you will bring the car home before you attend the auction.

Once you have paid Copart, it can be shipped to you. Verify the ownership and title of the vehicle with an auction export representative before arranging to ship.

When you purchase a vehicle through Copart, you can ship it to any location in the world through a company like Nationwide Auto Transportation.

Shipping a Car from an Auction

As a buyer, you have the option to arrange for the shipping of your vehicle within or outside the US. Once an auction export representative has confirmed that your vehicle is ready for shipping, Nationwide Auto Transportation can collect it from the warehouse. Following this they will transport it to your desired location using a flatbed truck for door-to-door transportation.

Do you prefer international shipping? The vehicle can be transported to an international shipping port where you can arrange for further overseas transportation.

With Nationwide Auto Transportation you can rely on the expertise of qualified, experienced drivers. They are licensed and approved by the US Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Certain issues that can affect the transportation time of auction vehicles include the fact that the seller has up to thirty days to submit title and ownership documents. Shipping companies cannot collect the vehicle without documents. Check availability before buying from Copart to avoid delays.

Have you used Nationwide Auto Transportation to ship a vehicle purchased through Copart? Please share your experience below!

Popular Copart Locations in the United States

There are many Copart locations in the US and multiple in each state. Here are some of the popular locations:

Alabama – 

          Sales are held Wednesday at 12:00 PM CDT


         Sales are held Monday at 10:00 AM EDT

         Sales are held Monday at 10:00 AM EDT

         Sales are held Monday at 10:00 AM EDT


          Sales are held Thursday at 10:00 AM EDT

          Sales are held Friday at 10:00 AM EDT

New Hampshire

          Sales are held Tuesday at 10:00 AM EDT

New Jersey

         Sales are held Tuesday at 10:00 AM EDT

New Mexico

         Sales are held Thursday at 12:00 PM MDT

South Carolina

          Sales are held Friday at 10:00 AM EDT


          Sales are held Tuesday at 12:00 PM CDT

New Mexico

         Sales are held Thursday at 12:00 PM MDT


         Sales are held Thursday at 10:00 AM EDT


          Sales are held Friday at 10:00 AM EDT


         Sales are held Thursday at 12:00 PM PDT

         Sales are held Friday at 12:00 PM PDT


          Sales are held Monday at 12:00 PM HST

North Carolina

         Sales are held Wednesday at 10:00 AM EDT

         Sales are held Wednesday at 10:00 AM EDT


          Sales are held Tuesday at 10:00 AM EDT

          Sales are held Wednesday at 10:00 AM EDT


          Sales are held Friday at 12:00 PM PDT

          Sales are held Monday at 12:00 PM PDT


         Sales are held Thursday at 12:00 PM MDT


         Sales are held Wednesday at 12:00 PM MDT

          Sales are held Tuesday at 12:00 PM MDT


         Sales are held Monday at 12:00 PM PDT

         Sales are held Friday at 12:00 PM PDT


          Sales are held Monday at 10:00 AM EDT

          Sales are held Monday at 12:00 PM CDT


         Sales are held Wednesday at 12:00 PM CDT


         Sales are held Tuesday at 10:00 AM EDT


         Sales are held Tuesday at 10:00 AM EDT


         Sales are held Tuesday at 12:00 PM CDT


          Sales are held Thursday at 12:00 PM PDT

          Sales are held Thursday at 12:00 PM PDT

Rhode Island

         Sales are held Thursday at 12:00 PM PDT



5 responses to “COPART Salvage Car Auctions

  1. My son bought a car at a police auction and fixed it up for me. It is a great. I don’t know about copart but I assume it’s the same.

  2. Went to a Copart auction in Ohio a few weeks back and must say it was interesting! My husband didn’t find what he wanted, but we will go again.

  3. I signed up with Copart a few months ago and scored a winning bid of $200 on a car that needed about $200 in repairs. It was worth it though, even with the fees. For under $600 I have a car that drives well. I wouldn’t recommend you buy a car that doesn’t run if you can’t fix it though.

  4. I’ve scored some great deals for my repair shop at vehicle auctions. Even the car I’m driving now came from an auction and she’s a beauty.

  5. I attended a Copart auction in Denver while I was visiting family and won a bid on a car that needed minor repairs. Nationwide transported the car back to Corpus Christie and again to the DMV to have the salvage title removed. Fantastic service all round.


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