One purchases a car from an IAA-Insurance auction by paying for a membership to the IAA-Insurance auction site and placing bids on active vehicle listings, as of March 2015. Once the auction closes, the user with the highest bid wins the car for the bid price.
Bidding on an auction held by the IAA-Insurance company requires signing up for a paid bidding account directly though the site. The company offers two different types of bidding-enabled accounts, one for public buyers and one for licensed business buyers. The public buyer account comes with an annual membership fee of $200 and requires the user submit a signed application form along with a copy of a valid government-issued identification card. Users can begin the application process through the site's automated form, by downloading and mailing in a paper form or by chatting with a support agent. While the company does offer a free account, this option does not include any bidding privileges and only allows users to view the activity on current and past auctions.
Once a user has a valid bidding-enabled account, she can begin bidding on auction. Some auctions feature a pre-bid feature that allows the user to place a bid on the lot before the actual auction period begins.