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How Do I Insure a Salvage Car in Tennessee?

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

In Tennessee, a salvage car is not legally drivable. You can’t get it registered and you are not allowed to put plates on it. For that reason, in its current condition, a salvage car is not insurable.

That doesn’t mean it never will be, though. In Tennessee, you can get something called a rebuilt title. This means the car has been repaired and it has been inspected. It will then be registered and you can use it like normal. When you have a rebuilt title, then you can get the vehicle insured too.

You need to know the steps to take to get all of this done, however. And, as with any other state, Tennessee has its own set of rules and steps you will need to take.

What Is Considered a Salvage Car?

To begin with, you need to know what exactly makes a car salvage. State regulations can vary, but in Tennessee, if the car has sustained enough damage that repairs would cost 75% of the vehicle’s value before the damage, then insurance companies have the right to salvage it. This damage can come from a number of different sources, such as collision, hail, flood, fire, and theft.

If the car has sustained 100% damage, though, it will be listed as non-repairable. At that point, it can’t even be legally repaired or driven. Vehicles that have been listed as non-repairable can be sold for their parts or for scrap.

If you have purchased a salvage car, and you have gotten it repaired, then you can go through the process of getting it titled as rebuilt. In Tennessee, you will need to follow these steps:

  • Begin by providing the Department of Revenue Special Investigations and Anti-Theft Unit with certain documentation, including the salvage title, color photographs of the vehicle before the repair work, an Application for Motor Vehicle Identification Certification, receipts for all of the parts you had to buy for repair, and a fee of $75. You will also need to provide all of your contact information and a list of which parts are new and which were used when replaced.
  • Next, you will need to take the vehicle to a location given to you for inspection. This inspection will look for stolen parts to avoid theft or fraud.
  • You will receive all of your documents back as well as the salvage title, which will now be stamped as rebuilt and certified.
  • Take all of the documents including the stamped salvage certificate to your local county clerk, who will issue a new, rebuilt title.

As long as you keep all of the proper documentation, then you should have no problem getting through this process so that you can have your car titled as rebuilt. Once you have that new title, then you can get registration and tags for the car. Of course, that means your car is now legal to drive and you will be able to get insurance coverage.

Getting Insurance Coverage on a Rebuilt Vehicle

Once you the state issues a rebuilt title, then you can get coverage, although there is a good chance you will need to shop around.

Insurance companies aren’t required to offer you coverage, so if they feel like the rebuilt salvage car is too much of a risk, they won’t offer you a policy. Additionally, some companies may simply ask for a much higher premium. It is something that you will want to research, and you are going to want to take some time comparing your different options.

With all that said, most insurance companies will only offer liability coverage. That’s all you need to legally drive the car, though. Some people do want comprehensive policies, and you may be able to find one if you look at different companies and provide them with any documentation they need. Be willing to look around and choose a policy that offers you the coverage you want for your new vehicle.

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

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