How to Determine the Value of a Salvaged Car

Three Methods:Determining Retail and Trade-In ValuesCalculating the Current Market ValueDetermining the Salvage Value

Although there is not one set calculation for determining the value of a salvaged car, there are basic methods you can use to determine the approximate salvage value. The value of a salvaged car relies heavily on the amount of damage it has sustained, and also on the exact mathematical formula used by the insurance company. First, you must determine the current retail and trade-in values for the car based on its year, make, and model, which are used to calculate the car's market value. You must then contact your insurance company to obtain the percentage rate they use against the market value in determining the final salvage value. Continue reading this article to learn of the steps you must take to determine the approximate value of a salvaged car.

Method 1
Determining Retail and Trade-In Values

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    Use blue book tools to evaluate the car's values. Both the retail value and trade-in value (also known as wholesale value) for your car will be found in a blue book.
    • Consult with the Kelley Blue Book, NADA Guide, or Edmunds websites to determine both the retail and trade-in values of your car.

Method 2
Calculating the Current Market Value

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    Use the retail and trade-in values to determine the car's market value. The market value will be an average of the retail and trade-in values.
    • Add the retail and trade-in values, then divide the sum by 2 to obtain the current market value. For example, if a car has a retail value of 7,000 dollars (5,502 euros), and a trade-in value of 5,000 dollars (3,930 euros), the sum is 12,000 dollars (9,432 euros). 12,000 divided by 2 is 6,000, so the market value of the car will be 6,000 dollars (4,716 euros).

Method 3
Determining the Salvage Value

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    Contact your insurance company to obtain the percentage used for the salvage value calculation. Every insurance company uses a different percentage based on their policies and procedures in assessing the damage of the salvaged car. In most cases, the percentage used by insurance companies is between 75 and 80 percent.
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    Calculate the value of the salvaged vehicle. The salvage value calculation will require you to use the market value and the percentage given to you by your insurance company.
    • Multiply the market value by the percentage provided to you by the insurance company. For example, if the market value of your car is 6,000 dollars (4,716 euros), and the insurance company calculates the salvaged value using 80 percent, the salvaged value of the car is 4,800 dollars (3,772 euros).


  • Have your car appraised by an automobile appraiser or by a junk yard to gain their opinions of how much your salvaged car is worth. An average of their quote and the true salvage value can help you set a sale price for your salvaged car if you plan on selling it.
  • You can also determine the approximate salvaged value of a car by multiplying the retail value by between 40 and 50 percent; however, the most accurate salvage value will be provided by the insurance company and can vary based on the amount of damage on the car.

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Categories: Car Maintenance and Repair