Buying a salvage car in North Dakota with an eye towards restoring it to good shape and getting it back on the road can be a winning strategy if you’re looking to save money. This is true whether it’s your own vehicle or one that you buy at a car auction specifically to rebuild it.
However, many people think that you can’t get a salvage car insured in the state – or any state for that matter. The truth is complicated: no, you can’t insure a salvage car. You can insure a rebuilt one, though – though this takes more than a bit of work on your part. Here’s what you need to know about the entire process.
What to Do with a Salvage Car
Under North Dakota law, if your vehicle has suffered 75 percent of its retail value in damage from an accident or something similar, it has to be declared as salvage. If your vehicle fits this description, you have to bring your title to the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT), where you’ll be given a title stamped with “salvage” on it in return.
Cars with a salvage title are officially off the road – you can’t register them, and you certainly can’t insure them – but that changes if you bring the vehicle back to life by repairing it.
Once your car is repaired, you’ll need to have your vehicle inspected by a registered business. You’ll also have to apply to the NDDOT for a new title and registration, submit your car’s salvage title, and pay the requisite fees. If you’ve fulfilled all requirements, you’ll receive a new title in the mail. This one will have your vehicle’s status as a rebuilt salvage car listed prominently on it.
Getting Back on the Road Completely
Repairing the car and getting a clean title and registration is only part of the process. Now you have to deal with insuring your vehicle – and this can sometimes be difficult when you have a rebuilt salvage car. While it’s almost never a problem to get your vehicle insured for personal liability or for property damage, if you want physical damage cover such as collision or comprehensive, many car insurance providers are quite reticent to offer higher levels of coverage.
This is due to the nature of the insurance industry. Insurers function on the basis of risk – if your vehicle has several safety features that could mitigate an accident, you’re likely to be offered discounts on your insurance policy. Conversely, if your vehicle is considered inherently dangerous, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an insurance company willing to provide you with high levels of cover – or any cover at all, in some instances.
Salvage cars are often considered inherently dangerous or at least highly suspect by insurance underwriters, as these vehicles have already been damaged to the point of being written off by a previous insurer. A salvage vehicle might look pristine to the naked eye, but that could mask mechanical problems that could lead to a catastrophic failure while the car is in operation – that could mean the vehicle has a heightened risk of being involved in a crash or even causing one.
However, all is not lost when it comes to insuring your rebuilt salvage car in North Dakota. There are insurance companies that will give the owner of a rebuilt salvage car a chance to prove that their vehicle is in good enough shape to warrant higher levels of coverage.
Typically, an insurance provider will ask you to submit your vehicle to another inspection. An insurance agent for the company will be sent out to photograph your vehicle from several different angles in order to document the state of your rebuilt salvage car.
Sometimes there might even be a mechanical inspection done by a qualified auto body specialist as well. In the end, if the insurer considers that your car passes the inspection, you will be offered a policy that will have higher levels of coverage for your vehicle. Your premiums might be slightly higher than average, but that is to be expected. The important part is that your rebuilt salvage car now has a measure of protection.