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Two distinct types of auto auctions are available for buyers in the United States: government auctions and private auctions. Thousands of cars are sold at government auctions every year. Most of these vehicles are in perfect condition, but have been seized by a government agency due to their involvement in illegal activities. The law requires these vehicles to be sold by auction to reimburse the state for expenses accrued in their seizure and the arrest of their former owners.
In addition to seized vehicles, government auto auctions sell surplus government vehicles that are usually no more than three years old. Every two to three years, many government agencies purchase new department vehicles, and the older ones go to auction.
A great number of deals can also be found at private auto auctions. These auctions are conducted by banks, insurance companies and specialty auto auctioneers. These vehicles are primarily from individuals who could no longer maker their car loan payments. When this occurs, lenders are forced to repossess the vehicles and sell them at auction to cover the existing balance on the loan.
Other vehicles at auto auctions are damaged vehicles that may be easy to repair, but the insurance company has decided to call a total loss. In many cases, the cars can be inexpensively repaired. This is a great way to get a discounted car, especially if you or someone you know can do the work.