Recently purchased a 'totaled' 2011 600rr at auction. I did a fair bit of research ahead of time to include checking out about a dozen totaled bikes at the auction lot.
None of these bikes were what a normal person would consider totaled. The obvious definition is that it's damaged to the point of not worth fixing.
But what it seems to mean in most cases is that the insurance company (IC) can make money by not fixing your bike. They apparently total any bike when its value drops below $2k or 25% of book. It doesn't take much for that to happen.
In the case of my 600, avg. book is around $7k so that's what the IC owes the insuree at most, likely they'll try to pay less.
Minus the normal $1k deductible, IC is on the hook for $6k max if they total the bike. But they get $2k+ back in salvage, so $4k out of pocket. And they get to close the case, no hassles with the insuree or ugly surprises at the shop.
If they fix it the plastic alone is more than $3k for this bike, before labor. And of course the bike was pristine prior to the mishap ;) so they'd have to fix every scratch and ding on it with OEM parts and labor.
In my experience modern bikes are very robust. Engine or frame damage doesn't happen easily and requires a serious amount of blunt force that would be evident on other parts of the bike like the forks.
My point here is that salvage doesn't usually mean what you think it means. Providing your state doesn't have any onerous rules (some require inspection but in SC they don't care, you register them just like a normal title) it's a great way to save thousands of $$$$. My insurance company, Progressive, had no issues with it either.
I may buy another one