Maine Street
By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 10/18/2015

Cars can be incredibly expensive. Even the least expensive used cars can still cost thousands of dollars, and these are rarely very reliable. So what can you do? You can go online and find a salvage car at a really low price, and then you can take the time to do the repairs and get it roadworthy again.

That’s why so many people are buying salvage cars in Maine and all over the U.S.

Buying Salvage Cars at Auction

If you’ve ever looked into vehicle auctions online before, you know that they can offer some very low prices on all kinds of cars, trucks, and vans.

If you buy salvage cars at auctions, you can get in on a great deal. But, if you want to buy a salvage car to drive (instead of for parts or scrap), you should know that there’s a bit of a process involved with getting it repaired and legal to drive on the road.

You Can’t Drive It Until You Retitle It

First of all, even if you find a salvage car that starts and runs, you cannot drive it before it is legally registered. To do that, you’re going to need to get it retitled as reconstructed or rebuilt instead of salvage, which involves doing all of the repairs and getting all of the proper documentation in order.

So, until you have your rebuilt title, you’ll need to make arrangements to have the car towed wherever you need to take it.

Rebuilding a Salvage Car

If you decide to go with a salvage car, remember that you’re going to have a significant amount of work ahead of you and that this project is really only worth it if you get good deals on your parts and any necessary labor.

So, before you buy a salvage car at auction, look into its history and what it needs (e.g., check out its Carfax report). Then you can factor in your costs for labor, towing, etc., along with the cost to re-title it, and you’ll have a good idea of whether you’ve chosen the right car or whether you should keep looking.

Getting a Reconstructed Title

Once you’ve gotten the right car and done all of the repairs, you’ll be able to move forward with getting your new title. When an insurance company totals a car, it gets retitled as salvage, and that precludes anyone from driving it legally on the road. To get your car legal to drive again with a reconstructed title, you will need to:

  •  Perform all necessary repairs.
  •  Retain receipts and documentation for all parts used in restoring the vehicle, including VINs for larger parts.
  • Apply for a reconstructed title from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

After you’ve applied for and received your new title, you can now legally insure and register it. At this point, you’ve done all of the really hard work, but you still have a little bit more homework to do before your car is ready to go.

Insurance Companies Don’t Like Salvage Cars

Because they can have hidden damage and/or decreased safety, salvage cars are not insurance companies’ favorite vehicles. In fact, some insurance companies won’t cover salvage cars in Maine at all. Others will give you coverage, but they’ll charge a higher monthly premium, even if you have a great driving record.

Fortunately, with the help of the Internet, you can research numerous insurance companies and find one that will give you a decent premium rate and good coverage. Depending on your car, though, you may not be able to get much more than liability coverage. If that’s all you want, then you won’t have any trouble registering and driving the car.

However, if you want more peace of mind if you’re in a wreck or if something happens to your car, you’ll need to do a bit more searching and negotiating. Getting a professional appraisal of the car and presenting it to your potential insurers can help, and so can signing up for minimal coverage for six months to a year and then increasing your coverage at the end of your first policy’s term.

Why Online Auctions are the Best Choice

You could save a lot of money by buying salvage cars in Maine. However, you still need to know where to buy them and how to get a great deal.

Auctions always present the best opportunities, but going to an in-person auction can be really stressful. You can feel like you absolutely have to bid right away or you’ll lose out on a great deal. Then you can get caught in a bidding war and find yourself paying more than you want for a car that really isn’t worth it.

That’s why online vehicle auctions are really the best option. You can look up the damage histories on the cars you want before you bid on them, and you’ll never feel pressured to bid, especially when the price goes to high. And you can do it all from the comfort of your home or on your phone or tablet if you’re out and about. Online car auctions are the easiest, most convenient ways to get great deals on salvage cars in Maine.

Read a more comprehensive guide to Procedures in this State, or on Rebuilt Title Laws for Other US States. Explore our Vehicle Auctions and find info on Buying With Us.