How to Purchase Salvaged or Wrecked Motorcycles From Insurance Companies


Some auto insurance and specialty insurance companies provide comprehensive and collision coverage for motorcycles. These coverages pay for the repair or replacement of motorcycles that are involved in accidents, damaged by weather or fire, vandalized or stolen. If the cost of repairing a motorcycle is more than its value, or if it is stolen and cannot be recovered in a reasonable time frame, the insurance company may consider it a total loss and pay the policyholder the motorcycle's market value. When this happens, insurance companies typically sell the damaged motorcycles, as well as stolen motorcycles that are recovered after the company has paid the policyholder.

Contact insurance companies with offices in your area to inquire about purchasing salvage or wrecked motorcycles. If the company sells directly to buyers, a loss recovery representative will work with you to negotiate a price for its salvage inventory. However, most insurance companies sell salvage and wrecked motorcycles at auctions instead of selling them directly to buyers.

Check the classified ad section of area newspapers for insurance auctions. The ads provide the date and time of the auction, and may also list the motorcycles for sale.

Attend the insurance auction at the specified date and time. Bring a NADA pricing guide, or bring a smartphone so you can access NADA's website to determine motorcycle values. If possible, inspect the motorcycles for sale before the auction begins to assess damage, particularly if you plan to drive or resell the motorcycles.

Register at the auction. The company conducting the auction may require evidence that you can pay for any motorcycles you purchase. Evidence may include bank statements or a statement of your available credit card limit.

Bid on motorcycles that interest you. Determine a top price before you begin bidding, so you don't get caught up in the excitement of a bidding war and end up paying too much for salvage or wrecked motorcycles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Factor in sales tax when determining a maximum bid for a salvage or wrecked motorcycle. Most states require payment of sales tax on vehicle purchases.
  • Avoid online auction sites unless you only plan to use salvage or wrecked motorcycles for parts. It is typically not possible to adequately inspect motorcycles before purchasing them through online auctions.

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