Police auctions and tow impound auctions are often open the public and feature vehicles for sale at very low prices relative to their retail value at a car lot. They do not typically require any special type of license in order to bid on vehicles at an auction.
These types of auctions tend to be held less frequently and have smaller inventories than the more typical type of public and dealer auto auctions. They make up for it by selling cars and trucks for great prices. They often require you to be able to remove the vehicle that you purchase from the premises immediately — even if it does not run and drive. You can also expect some delay in order for them to process the title for your purchased vehicle.
The autos for sale at police auctions tend to be: drug seized vehicles, asset forfeitures, abandoned vehicles, government surplus vehicles, and other types of impounded cars, trucks, and SUVs. Some people see “police car auctions” and think that they are auctioning off actual former police vehicles. While this is sometimes the case, it is rarely auction police cars that are being auctioned. The government vehicles that are auctioned are usually vans and trucks used in their fleets.
Keep this in mind: Police auctions and government auctions tend to move a bit faster than most public auto auctions. They are better suited for bidders that have some previous auction experience. If not, don’t worry, but be sure to ask questions along the process.
Also, do not expect to be able to test drive anything. Some auctions only allow minimal inspection prior to when the bidding starts. However, despite these caveats, the low bidding prices of the vehicles during auction are usually still worth it. Having a decent amount of mechanical knowledge, and also some experience with bodywork, will greatly help a bidder at a police auction buy a decent car for a lot less than what it is worth.
Find Police and Tow Impound Auctions Here: Police Auctions USA
Frequently Asked Questions About Police Auctions:
Do I need any special type of license to bid?
No, a dealer’s license or anything like that is not typically required as they are open to the public.
Can I test drive a car at a police auction?
No, it is highly unlikely that they will allow any sort of test driving. It’s best to have some knowledge of repairing cars and body work to help you determine the value of a car at a police auction
What form of payment is accepted?
As usual, cash is preferred. However, some auction will allow you to pay with a card for a small fee. Auctions very rarely take personal checks.
How often are the auctions held?
This varies by location, but police auctions are typically held once a month up to once every few months.