How to Insure a Salvage Title Vehicle in New York

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You are in the market for a new car, and you want one that's new to you, not straight-from-the-assembly-line new. What you hope to find is a halfway decent used vehicle to run chores in. You don't care if it has a few dents or dings since you intend to treat it a bit roughly anyway.

A salvage-title car is relatively cheap and might be what you're looking for. Learn what you'll need to do to get insurance on a salvaged vehicle in the state of New York.

Key Takeaways

  • A vehicle is typically labeled salvage when it has been in an accident or is damaged enough to be a total loss for insurance purposes.
  • Insurance companies will not consider covering your car until it is rebuilt, inspected, and receives a "Rebuilt Salvage: NY" title from the DMV.
  • The DMV requires a Salvage Certificate (MV-907A) that proves ownership of a car to conduct an inspection.
  • Insuring a rebuilt salvage title vehicle in New York can prove difficult; you may only be able to secure a liability policy.

Insuring a Salvage Title Vehicle in New York

If you have a vehicle damaged enough to be declared a salvage vehicle, the state DMV requires that it be marked or branded (on the title) as salvage if:

  • It is less than eight model years old, and
  • The owner indicated that there are damages adding to 75% or more of the vehicle's value at the time of damage.

If your car is more than eight models old, it may not receive a branded title.

A vehicle is typically labeled salvage when it has been in an accident or is damaged enough to be (for insurance purposes) a total loss. If a car is stolen, paid off and later recovered the insurance company can sell it as salvage.

To get your car back on the road, you'll need to rebuild the vehicle (or have it rebuilt), get it inspected and receive a "Rebuilt Salvage: NY" title from the DMV before insurance companies consider coverage.

How to Title a Salvage Vehicle in New York

As long as your vehicle is branded as salvage, you cannot legally operate it on a New York road, nor can you have it insured for operation until it passes an inspection. To make your vehicle legal for the road, you must have it inspected by the DMV.

If it is determined to be in a safe condition, the DMV will issue your new “Rebuilt Salvage: NY” title. Once you have the title, you can register the vehicle and begin your search for insurance.

You may need to provide proof of insurance before registering your rebuilt vehicle, so it might help to find a provider before attempting to register it.

The DMV requires a Salvage Certificate (MV-907A) that proves ownership of a car to conduct an inspection. They will not inspect or issue new titles or registration if you don't have one.

Additionally, the DMV won't inspect or issue a title or registration for a rebuilt vehicle with an MV-907A if it is labeled as:

  • Parts only
  • Non-rebuildable
  • Non-repairable
  • Scrapped
  • Destroyed

Finding Insurance for a Rebuilt Salvage: NY Car

Insuring a rebuilt salvage title vehicle can prove difficult. The reason is that insurance companies are uncomfortable providing comprehensive or collision coverage for a car that has been damaged beyond its fair market value.

You might be able to find a large insurance company willing to write a comprehensive or collision policy on your rebuilt vehicle. However, the premiums may be very high and the payout very low.

An insurance provider should be more than willing to write you a liability policy. For many people, that is enough to make a salvage title car worth purchasing. If you're not concerned about rebuilding the car again or replacing damaged sections after another accident, this might be the best option.

Tips for Buying a Salvage Title Vehicle

If you decide to buy a salvaged vehicle, be sure that you know what you are getting. If you are not an expert mechanic, have one take a close look at the car to get a clear understanding of any damages and what it might cost to rebuild it.

After you (or a mechanic) have rebuilt the vehicle, you may want to have a different mechanic inspect the car and the repairs. This can keep you from missing anything that might keep the vehicle from passing the DMVs inspection.

Buying and rebuilding a vehicle might be more expensive than purchasing one that is already insurable. Be sure to work through your finances and the repair costs before purchasing the car.

You might also be able to lower your premiums if you can present the insurance company with a clean bill of health from a certified mechanic. Check with your insurance provider first to see if a second inspection will make a difference.

It’s always good to get plenty of quotes, even under normal circumstances. But this is especially important if you are insuring a salvage title vehicle. Remember, the more quotes you get, the more likely you are to find a better rate.