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Salvage Title: What does it Mean?

Véhicule VGA comment savoir

Salvage title: what does it mean? 

Salvage title definition

VGA c'est quoi

The Salvaged title stands for a vehicle that had a serious accident. It’s the provincial governments who determine this title (ICBC in British-Columbia, SAAQ in Quebec, MTO in Ontario, etc).

You could sometimes see “VGA”, the French meaning in Québec (Véhicule Gravement Accidenté).

If we take as an example Québec province, the SAAQ (Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec) determines after an accident whether a car qualifies as a “Salvaged Vehicle” or not.
A vehicle may be labeled as a Salvaged Vehicle even if, following repairs, it has no mechanical issues. Once repaired, the car is given the designation of “rebuilt.” However, having this designation doesn’t guarantee that the vehicle doesn’t hide more serious flaws, such as a twisted chassis, which could have dramatic consequences in the medium to long term.

Now we’ve seen what does salvage title mean, let’s see how you can know it.

How to determine if a vehicle is a salvaged vehicle when buying?

VGA C'est quoi

The law obliges the seller to disclose if the vehicle is a Salvaged Vehicle.

However, cars from outside the province of Quebec can sometimes slip through the cracks and “conceal” their Salvaged Vehicle status.

Same applies for all Canadian provinces. So be cautious if you buy an out-of-province vehicle.

Vehicles from the United States are particularly at risk—be cautious!

It’s worth noting that American cars are also more susceptible to having tampered odometer readings (see our article on “tampered odometer readings”).

Car values in the U.S. market are generally higher, so why buy an American-origin vehicle in Canada? Be careful; the reasons for these exports often involve hidden defects.

Is buying a salvage title vehicle (so a rebuilt vehicle) a good deal?

If you are considering buying a Salvaged Vehicle (that has to be rebuilt of course), it is highly recommended to have the car inspected at a garage or through a certified and specialized inspection service like CarInspect.

Find out about the accident and determine which auto parts were involved in the accident. This way, the garage can pay close attention to any anomalies. If you opt for a CarInspect inspection, please mention it in the form, and the inspector will research and meticulously check the involved auto parts.

We advise you to use available resources such as the CARFAX to learn more about the vehicle’s history.

How to determine the purchase price of a salvage-title or rebuilt vehicle?

Take into consideration that its value is significantly negatively impacted, and anticipate that the owner will have a harder time reselling it; it will be challenging and take longer. Therefore, you may attempt to negotiate a good deal.

How to sell your salvaged vehicle?


Our advice for selling your rebuilt vehicle is to be 100% transparent during the resale process (as always). The longer you wait, the more the rebuilt designation may deter potential buyers.

If the car was declared a Salvaged Vehicle and a rebuilt vehicle more than 5 years ago, and you have had no mechanical issues since, this can reassure the buyer. That’s why it’s essential to keep your car’s maintenance records up to date!

To further reassure potential buyers, offer to have an inspection done before the purchase. At CarInspect, we have had clients who bought Salvaged Vehicles (rebuilt ones) and requested inspections to ensure that the accident wouldn’t lead to future problems.

It is not advisable to trade in this type of car at a dealership. The dealer will offer you a trade-in at an extremely low price. Try to sell it yourself.