Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • Online car auctions have plenty of functioning and non-functioning vehicles for sale with coherent descriptions and details about the car’s state
  • Most online car auctions have the option to purchase and view a car’s accident history before bids are closed
  • Although liability coverage may be easy to acquire for a salvage title, comprehensive coverage will be more expensive

Finding a car from online auctions can have many prospective car owners scratching their heads in confusion and stress. Car shoppers without experience with online car auctions for either salvage or clean titles may be overwhelmed with the options on the market. Some prospective buyers may buy salvage cars directly from insurance companies, but insurance companies will not sell salvage cars. Several reputable and reliable online car auctions are available to assist buyers and browsers.

Among these auctions are free-to-browse sites like eBay Motors and Copart. Other auctions may include an inexpensive annual membership to offset administrative and shipping costs.

Regardless of which option you choose, we’ve compiled a list of the best online car auction sites for salvage cars and clean titles alike. Additionally, these car auctions are online, making them more accessible for the public and offering a broader supply of diverse vehicles that are not limited to one specific region.

What car types are available at online car auctions?

Online car auctions are rife with different types of cars. The two kinds of vehicles you are most likely to find when browsing online car auctions are those with salvage titles and clean titles. You may also see plenty of listings from dealership rental companies looking to get rid of cars with too much wear and tear.

What are salvage vehicles?

Also referred to as a salvage title, these vehicles have been in auto accidents or need so much repair that they are considered a total loss by the insurance company that covered them. Many people buy salvage titles intending to fix them up and sell them in a functioning state or fix them for fun. The downside to salvage titles is that a salvage title makes auto insurance more expensive.

What are clean titles?

A clean title means that the car in question has never been declared a total loss by the insurance company. This clean title does not mean that the car is functioning or will not require significant repairs. A clean title only indicates that a vehicle has not achieved a poor enough state to declare it a total loss or a salvage title.

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eBay Motors

eBay Motors is the most notorious and reliable of the many free online car auction websites. Not only does eBay Motors list salvage cars for sale, but they also have a diverse supply of used and undamaged vehicles.

The car listings include several vehicle features and specifications, such as the vehicle identification number, mileage, make, model, and transmission type. Sellers on eBay Motors have ample space to fill in the necessary information that buyers want to know, along with a sliding gallery for interior and exterior photos. Additionally, you can filter your search to look for clean titles or refurbished and rebuilt titles.

eBay Motors alleviates the stress of vehicle buying by providing seller reviews and contact information. eBay Motors also offers a vehicle report in their descriptions, making it easy to see if the car you are viewing has ever been in a collision, needed significant repairs, or has an accurate odometer.

eBay Motors has competitive pricing and plenty of vehicles for those looking to splurge on a sportscar or save on an everyday commuter.

Copart

Another ideal online car auction is Copart, an online platform for finding vehicles and bidding on them. Copart boasts three million units sold and has a positive reputation for its dedication to providing excellent service to bidders.

Copart has a massive inventory of cars, trucks, and SUVs available to browse. Copart has some of the best varieties of all online car auctions. Copart lists their best in their CopartSelect auction, which offers cars with clean titles, late models, and low mileage. This inventory also has vehicles that meet stringent requirements to qualify and have little or no cosmetic damage. Many cars, trucks, and SUVs may only require minor fixes and are perfect daily drivers.

CopartSelect is an auction held online every Thursday.

Salvagebid

Salvagebid differs from other auctions because most of its inventory consists of salvage titles or impounded vehicles. While Salvagebid used to be a privately-accessible platform only for dealers, the company has since opened its wares to the public. Despite its name, Salvagebid has big-name brands in their inventory like BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz. This platform is reliable and trusted by many in the salvage title community. Whether you’re looking for a car for family adventures or a sportscar, Salvagebid has everything.

While the platform is free-to-use, Salvagebid does require a refundable security deposit when making an account. This deposit will determine how much money you can bid on cars at one time. After thirty days, the deposit is returned.

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A Better Bid

While this online car auction is a separate entity, it works with Copart. This collaboration makes A Better Bid one of the most reputable online car auctions. A Better Bid has a diverse set of wares, with specific sections for classic cars, donated vehicles, electric cars, hybrid cars, and muscle cars. In addition, A Better Bid offers salvage cars, clean titles, and dozens of different makes and models. They don’t specialize in any one set of vehicles. However, they have something for every prospective car buyer.

A Better Bid holds live online auctions nearly every day. They are accessible when you register through the website. While A Better Bid is a free online car auction, there are fees for transactions and documentation.

Insurance Auto Auctions

Unlike other platforms, Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) offer mostly salvage cars and damaged cars. Much of the inventory with IAA is slightly damaged and needs repairs. IAA’s selection is free to view and incredibly diverse. This online car auction agency accepts wire transfers, making it even easier to procure a car from them.

IAA sells cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, buses, trailers, and RVs. IAA is also a unique platform because of its inventory available for purchase. These vehicles do not require a bid and can be purchased without waiting, fuss, or bidding wars. IAA also has a separate section to list their rental cars, which helps buyers concerned with the mileage of a vehicle. These rental cars are late models, inexpensive compared to newer models, and have minor damage.

Online Car Auctions Have Listings for Everyone

Online car auction sites may have some buyers feeling nervous to purchase a car without taking an in-person look. However, the risk is minimal since these online car auctions are available publicly. Alongside reliability, helpful customer support, and detailed vehicle descriptions, these auctions stand apart from the rest.

There are many things to consider when buying a vehicle from an online car auction. One of these considerations can be insurance. It may be hard to know which car insurance company has the best rate and fit for you. Car auctions may sell salvage cars, making finding the right insurance coverage difficult. Car insurance rates for comprehensive coverage may increase with the procurement of a salvage title.

Plug your ZIP code into our free car insurance comparison tool to see the best estimates on the market and pick one that is right for you.