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In 2018, Jon Markman reported statistics about Copart on Forbes that are mind blowing to the uninitiated. The reason why the salvage vehicle market is so astronomical, according to Dell Technologies, is because more distracted drivers are driving greater distances. The article cites that in 2016, there were thirteen million (you read that right – 13 million) crashes in the U.S.

When an insurance company does not deem a car worth the cost of repairs, it is written off. So despite cars becoming safer thanks to innovative technology, more cars are written off, and unfortunately, fatalities continue to rise.

As a result, salvage auto auctions, such as Copart, continue to thrive. Is it a bad thing?

Definitely not.

If cars are not salvaged, they would merely end up on the already overflowing landfills that are progressively encroaching on our last bit of clean environment.

auto auction

Instead, we take the “one man’s trash is another man’s fortune” approach. As such, salvaged cars:

    1. Provide parts to keep our older cars running.
    2. Provide 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. When salvaged cars are recycled, new steel can be manufactured, which 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:

  • Copart has more than 750,000 members from 170+ countries.
  • Copart operates in 200+ locations in 11 countries.
  • Copart offers 125,000 cars on auction daily.
  • Copart sold more than 2 million cars in 2017.

copart auto auctions

How Does Copart 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 From Copart

The main benefit of buying a car from an auto auction, such as Copart, is that the inventory sometimes includes repossessed cars or vehicles that were stolen and recovered after the insurance paid out the claim. These cars tend to be in great condition, and often from solid brands, such as Honda, Toyota or Lexus. You can buy one of these cars at a steal (so to speak!).

If you have experience in repairing cars – or at least passion and an experienced mechanic at your service – you can buy a somewhat damaged car at a laughable price and repair it at a fraction of the cost of buying a second-hand car in decent condition. Salvaged cars can often be re-branded from a salvaged title to another category that allows you to drive it on public roads.

Since you don’t get to take a salvage title from the Copart yard for a test-drive, you have to trust your gut and by it “as is”. Unless you know what you’re doing and how to truly eye up the extent of the damage (most salvage cars are extensively damaged), you can run into some unanticipated, expensive repairs. [How to assess a second-hand car]

You must know that there are different reasons why insurance companies write cars off. The main reason is due to the fact that accident or water damaged cars often are beyond repair, in which 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.

Those are some useful benefits, but you should be aware of the drawbacks too. There have been many cases in which people were unaware of just how badly the vehicle was affected . It could include serious issues, such as an electrical malfunction or a bent frame – issues that may be expensive and complicated to repair.

Even after the vehicle has been repaired, the salvage brand remains on the title, even after you have returned it to running and working condition. So once you have repaired it, you need to have it inspected by the DMV in order to be allowed to legally operate it on the roads. If it passes the inspection, the salvage title will be changed to rebuilt.

Next, you will need to get insurance for your formerly salvage title car. Many insurers will not cover a rebuilt, salvage titled vehicle. The reason for this is that if there’s an accident, it will be a hassle for the insurer to assess whether the damage is from the previous accident, or the latest one. Likewise, a salvaged car was once considered too damaged to drive on the road, so the chances of it breaking down is higher than that of a brand new, unsalvaged car.

However, it is still possible to get comprehensive or collision insurance. Shopping around may well 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 from a Copart Auction

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. Then 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 licences.

      2. Search for vehicles, and add them to your watch list.

      3. Join auctions and place bids.

      4. Pay for your purchases and arrange 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, but individuals should contact their nearest location to find out the times of their viewings. It is free for Copart members to view, but 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. This pre-bid will be represented at the live auction. If nobody else submits a higher bid, you could well win the bid. If there is a tie between the live bid and pre-bid, 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. When the dynamic countdown timer stops, the bid is awarded to the highest bidder.

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

Now that you know how to take your salvaged car from decision to dream car, you’re probably raring to attend your first Copart auto auction. Some cars bought from Insurance Copart run and steer, but not all of them.

Before you attend the auction, decide how you will bring the car home.

Once you have paid Copart for your vehicle(s) it can be shipped to you or you can tow it. It is important to verify the ownership and title of the vehicle with an auction export representative before arranging shipping.

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

Buyers could also arrange their own vehicle shipping inside our outside of the USA. Once an auction export representative has verified that your vehicle is ready for shipping, a truck mandated by Nationwide Auto Transportation can collect it from the warehouse and bring it to your home anywhere in the US, or to an international shipping port from where you can arrange overseas transportation. The company uses ground transportation facilitated by a flatbed truck to transport your vehicle during door to door auto transportation.

When you use a recognized auto shipping company such as Nationwide Auto Transportation, you can rely on the expertise of qualified, experienced drivers that 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 until the documentation is available. This delay can be avoided by checking whether the documentation is available before you purchase the car from Copart.

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



4 responses to “COPART Salvage Car Auctions

  1. 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.

  2. I flip cars for a living and have attended several Copart and police auctions. If you know what to look for, you can get some great deals. Don’t let people’s negative comments put you off, but do your research. Know what to look for, and if you have a mechanic buddy, take him or her with you to the auction.

  3. I’ve read many posts about auction vehicles and I feel it is irresponsible to encourage that. People may not understand what to look for and then they end up buying ‘lemons’. But your post is balanced. Well done.

  4. I’m definitely going to follow the advice in this post. Seems like a great way to get a second hand car for cheap.

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