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After crash, where does car go?

Staff writer

It seems to happen at least once in life: Your car is in a serious crash, and the last time you see it, it’s being pulled away behind a tow truck.

Several things happen to your car after that, even if you never see it again.

James Simmons, owner of Simmons Towing and Auto Repair in Herington, is called to tow away vehicles in Marion County once or twice every two weeks.

He tows cars, vans, pickups, and trucks but not semis.

Simmons also operates a salvage yard, does auto repair, and sells autos. He’s been in business in Herington seven years.

When he tows a car that’s been in an accident, he usually meets the owner at the scene. The owner typically notifies his or her insurance company.

It’s the insurance company’s decision whether to have the car repaired or declare it totaled and pay off the owner.

If the car won’t be repaired, Simmons needs to hear from the company — or the owner, if it’s not insured — what is to be done.

“What we would have to have is a verbal consent for it to leave our facility with someone other than the owner,” Simmons said. “Occasionally there may be a repairable car, and they’re going to take it to the body shop.”

If the car will be repaired at a body shop, it is towed there.

But the insurance company could decide to send the car to an auto salvage auction.

A buyer might fix the car or salvage it for parts.

“Typically it might sit here three days to two weeks,” Simmons said. “I have had cars that sit here during investigations for as long as two years.”

Daily storage fees are not negotiable, but he sometimes works with a customer when the car is stored on his lot for a lengthy period of time.

“I’d rather have the money than the car,” he said.

If no one wants to claim a car, certified letters are sent out, and vehicle identification numbers are checked.

“Then we’ll list it for auction in the paper,” he said.

Sometimes people claim a car but don’t want it back.

“We’ll offer them something for it,” he said.

A Park City auction site is one of numerous locations in the U.S. and Canada operated by the Copart auto auction company.

Copart sells an assortment of vehicles with clean titles and salvage titles and non-repairable vehicles to be recycled.

Car dismantlers, dealers, body shops, or people looking for project cars may find a car through Copart or a similar business, Insurance Auto Auctions in Wichita.

Last modified Nov. 17, 2021

 

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