A car with a salvage title will usually be less expensive than a similar car that hasn’t been seriously damaged in an accident. There are drawbacks, though, as there almost always are when you get a car for a very low price. One of the drawbacks is the difficulty of getting it insured. It can be done, but it will take extra effort.
What is a salvage title?
A car that has been totaled in an accident will be towed to a salvage yard. The insurance company that insured the driver when the car was wrecked decides whether it can be fixed or must be totaled.
If someone decides to buy the wrecked car and fix it, he or she will be given a salvage certificate on the car. After the car is repaired, it must be inspected, usually by the state Highway Patrol, to make sure it is safe to drive. If the car passes inspection, a “salvage title” is issued for it.
How to find out if a car is a salvaged car
The seller is required by law to disclose, in writing, if a car has been salvaged when it is sold. If you suspect a car has a salvage title, you can find out at the National Insurance Crime Bureau site. Simply enter the Vehicle Identification Number and they will tell you.
How to get insurance for a salvaged car
Step 1: Get a copy of the repair costs statement. The repair costs statement would most likely have been required by the state Highway Patrol in order for them to issue the salvage title.
Get a copy so your car insurance provider can see exactly what was repaired.
Step 2: Obtain a copy of any inspection documents. Check with your local DMV to find out if you can get a copy of the inspection report.
You may also need to have the car inspected by a mechanic and appraised.
Step 3: Talk to your insurance agent or broker. Check with your current agent or broker to see if a car with a salvage title can be added to your current car insurance policy.
Don’t be surprised if your agent tells you no or that you can only get liability insurance on the car.
Step 4: Shop around for the best car insurance deal. Even if your current car insurance provider says they will cover your salvaged car, do a little research to make sure you are getting the best deal.
Step 5: Search online for “salvage title” car insurance companies. Look for car insurance companies that advertise that they will provide insurance for a car with a salvage title.
There are “high-risk” insurance providers that specialize in these areas.
Step 6: Be prepared to pay more for car insurance. Prepare yourself to pay more for insurance on a car with a salvage title.
Unfortunately, no matter how well a totaled vehicle is repaired, there is often some part of the car that will never be quite right. That is just how it is with totaled cars and car insurance companies know it. If they will cover the car at all, they will probably charge extra for that coverage.
Step 7: Get only liability coverage on your salvaged car. Accept that you will only be able to get liability insurance on your car.
You will have to be prepared to pay for the repairs to your car, if you are involved in a collision. Liability coverage will only cover damages to other vehicles involved in the collision.