Are you looking for a way to buy an inexpensive car that you can use to get to work or that your son or daughter can use as their first car to get to school? You probably aren’t too excited about spending thousands of dollars, but when you look at quality new and used cars, the prices are just ridiculous. What can you do?
Online vehicle auctions present a pretty attractive option…if you’re willing to put in some work. Basically, if you want to take advantage of the low prices you’ll find at auctions on new or used cars, you’ll have to get a dealer’s license, but that’s not true if you’re in the market for a salvage car in Kentucky. That’s right, anyone can bid on salvage cars at auctions, and there’s no need for a dealer’s license.
Of course, if you buy a salvage car, you’re not going to be able to drive it home, sign up for insurance online, and cruise by your local tag office for registration. There are a few important (and time-consuming) steps that you’ll have to take first.
The Difference Between a Used Car and a Salvage Car in Kentucky
So why can’t you just buy a salvage car in Kentucky and drive it home the same day? Even if they are technically drivable, cars with salvage titles are not legally drivable. Until you get all of the necessary repairs done and get the car re-titled as rebuilt instead of salvage, it cannot legally be insured or registered.
Why aren’t salvage cars legal to register? Basically, a car with a salvage title has been damaged to the point that an insurance company deemed it a total loss and bought it from the former owner at its fair market value. The car is then re-titled as salvage and can only be bought or sold for parts or scrap until it is judged to be roadworthy by the state.
Getting Your Salvage Car Back on the Road
Some states require you to go to a licensed rebuilder to have a salvage car repaired, but that’s not the case in Kentucky. Here, you can do all the work yourself if you have the tools, equipment and time. When you decide to buy a salvage car and restore it to good working condition, you’ll need to know that it will most likely require a significant amount of work and that an insurance company has already chosen to pay for its full value instead of pay to have those repairs done.
That said, if you are willing to put in the work yourself, or you know a mechanic who is willing to waive labor charges and/or will find you good deals on parts, you might still be getting a quality, working vehicle for less than you’d spend on a new or used car. Keep this in mind as you get started on the process to get your salvage car re-titled.
Re-Titling a Salvage Car
After you’ve rebuilt your salvage car, Kentucky law requires you to re-title it before you can legally drive it. To do this, you’ll just need to do a few things.
- Get a certified inspection performed to verify that the vehicle isn’t stolen and that all necessary repairs have been done.
- Submit your inspection form, affidavit, and all repair receipts to the Department of Transportation at 200 Mero St., Frankfort, KY 40622.
The Affidavit for Motor Vehicle Assembled from Wrecked or Salvaged Motor Vehicles has a list of detailed instructions for everything you need to do to make sure that your vehicle is ready to be re-titled. After you’ve received your rebuilt title for your salvage car, Kentucky requires you to get it insured before you can legally register it. Once you follow these last two steps, you’ll be ready to drive.
Getting Insurance Coverage for Your Salvage Car
Doing the repairs and getting the car re-titled makes up the bulk of the physical work and paperwork in getting a salvage car back on the road. However, getting insurance can still present a challenge. Why? Because most insurance companies really don’t like insuring cars that have been salvaged.
That’s not to say that all of your work will be for nothing. Basically, you need to look at the process for getting insurance just like the rest of the process of repairing and restoring a salvage car in Kentucky. Spend the time and do the research, and you’ll find an insurance company that is willing to at least provide liability coverage for your car at a reasonable rate.
Getting comprehensive or collision coverage can be a little bit tricky, but you may be able to help your case by getting an appraisal of the vehicle and showing the insurer that it’s worth covering. Then, once you have an insurance policy, the final step in the process is actually really easy. At this point, you can just go to the tag office and get your salvage car registered just like any other car in Kentucky. Then you’ll be ready to drive it anywhere you please.
Getting the Best Deal on a Salvage Car
Of course, to make all of this worthwhile, you really need to find a good deal on a salvage car in Kentucky. To do that, we highly recommend going with online vehicle auctions instead of buying a car at a salvage yard or through an in-person auction. Doing your research and bidding on the cars you’re interested online takes the pressure off. It lets you relax and choose the right car to bid on. And, instead of getting caught up in a bidding war over a car you wanted, you can more easily “walk away” when bidding goes above your ideal price.
Getting insurance for a salvage car in Kentucky isn’t as simple as it is with other used cars, but it can mean getting a much more affordable vehicle if you’re willing to put in the work.