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How Do I Insure a Salvage Car in New Jersey (NJ)?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 10/17/2015

Salvage Car Auction New Jersey

Most people associate salvage cars with those that have been in a collision. Even though it is true that wrecks are the most common reasons for the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (Trenton) to issue a salvage title, other types of damage can have the same result: flooding, hail, fire, and vandalism. Additionally, vehicles that have been stolen are issued salvage titles after they have been recovered despite the insurance company replacing them for the owners.

Essentially, when a vehicle is damaged, the insurance company will send an adjustor to determine the extent of the damage and the cost of repairs. If it would cost more to actually repair the car than it’s value, then the car is considered totaled and will be issued a salvage title.

Salvage cars in New Jersey are not legally drivable. The insurance companies will usually sell these cars at auction to recoup some of the cost, and people can purchase the salvage cars either for parts or for repair. This is a way you can get cheap used cars without going over budget.

Further Read

Your Guide to Buy Used Cars on an Online Auto Auction Site

Repairing and Retitling a Salvage Car

In its current state, you can’t get the car registered, and that means you won’t be able to get insurance coverage either. If you want to be able to legally drive that vehicle, you will need to get it repaired so that it is deemed safe for driving.

However, before you do this, there is one step required by the state of New Jersey. You must take extensive before pictures of the car in its salvage state. You must have clear, high quality images of all four sides of the vehicle. If, for some reason, you didn’t get pictures of the salvage car before repairs began, then you will need to provide a detailed insurance report from when the car actually sustained the damage.

After you have gotten the necessary repairs on your salvage car, then you can apply to get a repair title, stating that you can legally register the car and get it insured. To get a proper inspection, you will need to visit one of the inspection location through the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. It is important that you allot enough time since it can take about an hour. Additionally, the state of New Jersey asks that you do not bring children to the inspection site.

As far as information you will need to provide at the time of inspection, these include:

  • The before repair photographs you took of all sides of the car. (Or a detailed insurance report if you don’t have them).
  • After repair pictures of all four sides of the car. (There is no substitute for these).
  • The bill of sale showing that you purchased the salvage car.
  • Receipts for parts that were used to repair the vehicle.
  • If you used major parts you obtained from another used vehicle, you will need to provide the VIN for that source vehicle. (See information below)
  • You must fill out and bring in the Salvage Inspection Application that you can get from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website.

You will need to call the inspection site in advance and schedule an appointment.

As far as getting major components, you don’t have to provide the VIN for every single part you use. The state of New Jersey lists the following as major components and would require that you provide source VINs:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Car Frame
  • Right or Left Front Fender
  • Hood
  • Doors
  • Bumpers
  • Quarter Panels
  • Hatchback or Tailgate
  • Truck Cab
  • Car Body
  • Air Bags

If you have to replace any of these things on your salvage car and you got them used, then make absolutely sure you record the VIN from those used vehicles.

The inspection itself will involve checking to make sure the vehicle is safe and roadworthy. Additionally, they will check to ensure none of the parts on the car were stolen. Once inspection has been completed, then you can get the new rebuilt title and that will allow you to get it registered.

Getting Insurance Coverage

As far as getting insurance on your rebuilt salvage vehicle, you will likely need to provide the company with the title stating that it is rebuilt. You may also need to provide the inspection information.

Usually, most insurance companies will offer liability coverage. However, some companies will be willing to offer comprehensive coverage if that is what you want. To find that kind of coverage, though, you may need to shop around.

Buying a salvage car can certainly save you money, so it is worth checking into, but make sure you follow the necessary steps in New Jersey so that you can get proper licensing and insurance coverage.

Read more on the official Procedures in This State, or on Rebuilt Title Laws for Other US States. Explore our Car Auctions and find info on Buying With Us.

Car Auctions in New Jersey

Further Read

How You Can Get Your Next Car from a Dealers Auto Auction

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