If you make the decision to buy a salvage car, then it is important that you know what to do with it in New York. You actually have to follow some rules and take some steps before you can legally drive that vehicle. As these rules vary from state to state, you need to know what’s required of you in New York specifically.
What Is a Salvage Car?
If you make the decision to purchase a salvage car, such as through an online car auction, you definitely need to know what you are getting into. New York has specific guidelines that determine if a car is considered salvage:
- The car must be no older than eight years.
- The damage to the vehicle must be at least 75% of its value at the time it was damaged.
- Damage to a vehicle in New York resulting in a salvage can come from collision, flooding, or vandalism only.
When an insurance company determines it doesn’t make economic sense to repair, they will reimburse the owner and the title on the damaged vehicle will be changed to “wrecked”. That will be stamped on the back of the title. These vehicles cannot be driven because they can’t be registered or insured. The only way that a salvage car can be drivable again is if you make the proper repairs, have it inspected, and get a rebuilt salvage title issued.
How Can You Buy a Salvage Car?
If you are looking for cheap used cars online, then a good place to look is a salvage auction. You can bid on cars just like you would with any other auction, and if they have a salvage title, then you don’t have to be a dealer. There are numerous advantages to buying a car through an online auction too.
- You will have the time to look at all of the different options you have and pick out the one you actually want.
- It is a lower stress environment than a regular auction, so you won’t feel pressured to bid when you aren’t ready to.
- When you work with a quality online auction service, then they will even arrange delivery for you. All you have to do is win an auction and then get the car delivered either to your home or to your mechanic and body shop.
When you buy from a dealership, you won’t have access to salvage cars. When you buy from individuals, you won’t know if they are disclosing everything to you or not. Insurance companies that are auctioning off cars legally are required to disclose the salvage status of a car. So, you know much more about what you are getting.
Getting a Salvage Car Ready to Drive
The state of the salvage car when you buy it does not matter. It will need some type of work before you can legally drive it. It is possible to find some cars that were salvaged due to theft or vandalism, and you won’t have to do any major repairs. However, keep in mind that most of these salvage cars were in collisions. In that case, the first thing you have to do is repair any damage.
The state of New York has very specific rules about inspecting salvaged cars. They do this because there is a big problem with theft and they have taken big steps to ensure a repaired salvage car doesn’t have any stolen parts on it. So, once you have done the repairs, you will need to go to the New York DMV for an inspection.
You can’t just go to the DMV, though. It requires an application and an appointment. Here are the steps you need to take:
- Fill out the Application for Salvage Vehicle Examination.
- Send that form along with an application fee of $200 to the Auto Theft and Salvage Department at PO Box 2105, Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12220.
- You will receive a letter telling you the date for your examination appointment, where it will take place, and directions to get to the facility.
- Of you need to change the appointment, you will need to contact the DMV directly at least two days prior to it.
This exam has nothing to do with roadworthiness of the vehicle. It is specifically done to check for stolen parts or signs of fraud.
Insuring a Salvage Vehicle
Once you have gone through the exam, the state of New York will issue a rebuilt salvage title. When you have this, you can get your car registered. That allows you to drive it legally and it will open the door to insurance coverage.
If you have never purchased and rebuilt a salvage car before, then you may be surprised that some insurance companies won’t insure one of these cars at all. Others may be picky about what they will and will not offer. For example, you will probably find it fairly easy to get liability insurance. That’s the minimum you need to legally drive the car. This may be enough coverage for you.
However, if you want more coverage, such as comprehensive, then you will probably need to spend a great deal more time checking with as many different insurance companies as possible. You may need to provide further information like details on the nature of the damage as well as information and receipts on repairs and the proof of New York examination.