What Happens to Cars Affected by Catastrophe?

Not sure if any of you guys have seen the news but there was a massive explosion in Beirut. Tons of on-ground footage of destruction, including tons of glass damage from the shock wave (this is relevant, I promise). I saw tons of cars that had windows blown out and that had rolled. My question to LH is what happens to cars that are totaled from disasters like this. Do shock waves from blasts like this cause irreparable damage to internal parts or just exterior? Do they get refurbished and resold? Scrapped for parts?

Curious if anyone has any insight into this topic. Willing to take this down if it gets too political / off-topic

I mean, the process is largely the same whether it’s a crazy explosion in Beirut or a fender bender leaving the Costco parking lot.

If the car is damaged beyond repair, then off to the junkyard it goes. Scrapped, sold for parts, who knows. If the car isn’t totaled then it most likely gets fixed.

Of course insurance policies and the definition of what’s totalled vs. what’s fixable will vary from country to country though.

Perhaps this thread doesn’t deserve as much interaction as I’d thought, but I just remember reading articles about cars that were resold after having significant flood damage from a hurricane (I believe it was Harvey) and there were issues with some dealers not disclosing said damage. I’ve got to imagine there will be similar issues in this instance…

I’m lost (question makes sense but too abstract to answer): in the US or globally? If the latter, focus on a single country. Different import/export/recycling rules everywhere.

In the US those new cars damaged by disaster should have their titles branded. If they are owned/leased cars damaged by natural disasters and totaled, titles branded.

Some countries would allow those cars with branded titles to be imported, and some would not.

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One word (or a homologation): CoPart


Depends on the circumstances in each country too.

Mazda destroyed 4,700 brand new cars after the ship carrying it capsized.



Never underestimate the DIY YouTube mechanic either! It’s kind of interesting to watch but I’ll never understand the logic of putting hundreds of hours of time as well as thousands of dollars worth of parts into a wreck to save a couple of grand at the end of the project vs used/not wrecked.

People restore cars even when there’s no money to be made or saved.

Most hobbies don’t have an NPV

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The hobby aspect of it I totally understand, but if some of these YouTube guys are to be believed anyone can scoop up a salvage luxury/sports car and live like a king. It’s all just for click bait and view counts, the idea of buying something that needs work and doing it yourself for your own enjoyment is a good thing though.

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Insurance pays out on what can’t be salvaged or is being held for evidence id presume.

More accurately, it goes to the insurance auction

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A good number of USA salvage(repaired) vehicles make their way to Europe then Middle East and those salvage titles do not carry any meaning once over there.

In NY there are huge lots of Sandy flooded cars, sitting on racks.


This isn’t much different than those house flipper shows that people think “gee, I could do that,” then end up way over their head.

People also don’t take into consideration the money those guys are making off those channels to be able to afford to do it too.

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I think you’ve all done a good job of giving me an answer so I appreciate that. Sounds like it can be just about anything…destroyed, auctioned, repaired, sold overseas, or nothing at all.

As is the answer to every question ever, it depends

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The concept of insurance is somewhat different in middle eastern and south asian countries. Specially on such a huge magnitude, don’t be surprise if local insurance companies just close shop overnight and bounce. However, labor costs to repair a damaged vehicle are a fraction of what the costs would be in N. America or Europe. The majority of middle eastern countries has labor from South Asia etc and they do not just come with a low benefit feature… The skill level is mind blowing. What you may considered a total loss / scrap worthy vehicle, may be considered a minor job over there just because of lower labor costs and not to forget a huge secondary market of used oem parts and Asian manufactured aftermarket replacements.


Forget to add, the middle east and South Asia is also the biggest market of salvage or irreparable titled vehicles of the US.


Vaguely recall someone doing a concours restoration in South Asia

Max, there is a social media asian guy whose videos I have watched on Facebook. The guy deliberately drives Ferrari’s’ and Lambo’s through tight parking spots to drill holes or tears in the panels only to take em back to his shop and fix them back as if they never got damaged… Not for the faint-hearted :confounded:

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Please share that link if you have it…

I wish I could look it up but his posts are not in english hence haven’t been able to locate. trust me im looking right now lollll