If you live in Minnesota and your plan is buying a salvage car, then it is important that you understand everything about the laws and how they will apply to your purchase. Every state handles things differently. And that means even if you have purchased a salvage car in another state, you won’t necessarily know the process you need to go through before you can get insurance (MN insure) on the car and make it legally drivable again.
What Does Minnesota Consider a Salvage Car?
To begin with, you need to know the regulations surrounding whether or not a car in Minnesota is even considered salvage or eligible for this process.
Vehicles must be no older than six model years or they must be deemed high value (they are worth $9,000 or more without the damage that is being questioned at the time). Additionally, the gross weight of the vehicle must be over 26,000 pounds. Other regulations that must be included for a car to be salvage are:
- The insurance must have made a total loss claim, either paying for in full or replacing the vehicle after damage.
- If the vehicle is self-insured, then it must have sustained damage that would cost 80% or more of the value for repairs.
- Or, the car must have been listed with a salvage title from another state. Again, it must be a late model vehicle or a high value car.
The car title will have a red stamp that states “salvage: must be inspected”. In other words, until the car has been inspected properly it cannot be driven, registered, or insured. Its uninsured.
You can clear the salvage status from a car if you go through the proper steps.
Clearing a Car’s Salvage Status
If you want to get your car registered and insured, then you will need to clear the salvage status from the title. This includes following a series of steps:
- Make an appointment with a Driver and Vehicle Services inspection specialist. You can find out where one is available by visiting the DVS website. The purpose of this inspection is to prevent fraud. You will need to provide a copy of the title, a Declaration of Reconstruction, and a written document showing major parts that are repaired or replaced.
- Provide the Deputy Registrar with the original title on the vehicle, a Declaration of Reconstruction, and original receipts used to repair the car. You will also need to show that the car passed inspection. Finally, you will need to pay $45 for the inspection and filing fees.
After you have gone through this process, you can clear the title, but it will likely be subject to branding. In some cases, if the work needed was very minor, you may not have to deal with a branded title, but most of the times you will. Minnesota has several categories of branding:
- Prior Salvage – This means the car was salvaged, but has been cleared. It can also refer to cars that were salvaged and cleared in other states.
- Flood Damage – The title will say flood or water damage even after the car has been repaired.
- Rebuilt – If, for some reason, prior salvage brands do not apply to a vehicle, then this bran will be used if the car sustained 80% damage to value.
Just because you do not receive a clean title, that doesn’t mean your vehicle isn’t drivable or insurable. It is required by law that all salvaging be disclosed when a car is sold. The purpose of branding is to deter fraud so that people can’t sell cars as if they never sustained damage to unwitting customers.
And, remember, that if the car is not subject to branding, it is actually possible to get a completely clean Minnesota title once you have passed inspection.
Once you have either gotten the title cleared or branded as a prior salvage, you can get insurance coverage. Of course, if the state of Minnesota does give you a clean title, you will have access to any type of insurance coverage you would like to purchase. If the title is branded, you may have to spend some time shopping around for policies that won’t cost too much.
For the most part, you are going to find that insurance companies offer liability coverage of prior salvage vehicles. If you look hard enough and you are willing to pay a little more for the coverage, you may be able to find insurance companies that will be willing to offer comprehensive coverage.
Don’t expect to pay less for insurance just because you got a cheap used car. For the most part, insurance coverage will cost a little more. That’s because salvage cars are considered a bit more of a risk.
If you are interested in buying a salvage car and you don’t mind going through the steps to get it insured and legal, then one of the best options would be through an online car auction.
This way, you can shop for the type of car you would like to buy, see salvage cars all over the country, bid on them without stress, and do all of the purchasing right at home. You should even be able to arrange delivery of the vehicle. It is a quick and simple way to find used cars for cheap.
Then, once you have your salvage car, you can get started getting it legally registered in the state of Minnesota.