Like every other state in the US, Iowa has specific laws that need to be followed before you can return a vehicle that’s been declared salvage to the road. Here’s the path that you’ll have to take if you’ve got an Iowa salvage car or other repairable vehicles in Iowa, or are thinking of buying one, that you want to make street legal once again.
Iowa’s Definition of Salvage
In the state of Iowa, any vehicle under the weight of 30,000 pounds can be declared a salvage vehicle, provided it also meets at least one the following requirements:
- It’s been brought in from out of state and already has a salvage title.
- It was purchased from its owner by an insurance company after damage or theft.
- The damage to the vehicle costs at least 50 percent of its fair market value, as long as its value is at least $500, and a licensed recycler purchased the vehicle.
If a vehicle meets these requirements, it’s bound by law to have its original certificate of title replaced with one that has the word “salvage” branded on it. Salvage cars can’t be registered or driven in Iowa, much as in other states.
Repairing a Salvage Vehicle Yourself
In many instances, you can repair a salvage vehicle yourself in Iowa without any sort of requirements. However, you might need to get a recycler’s license first if you meet certain criteria. Here are the following cases in which you need such a license:
- You sell six or more rebuilt and restored salvage vehicles in one 12-month period.
- You sell used parts from six or more used vehicles over the same period.
- You dismantle six or more used vehicles over the course of 12 months.
- You keep unregistered vehicles in storage for any purpose that isn’t related to the dismantling, selling, or restoring of salvage cars.
However, in many cases you won’t need to get a recycler’s license. This is especially true if you’re just a hobbyist, if you purchase cars for scrap metal, if you have a new car dealer license, or you’re acting on behalf of or in the capacity of an educational institution of some sort.
Bringing Vehicles Out of Salvage in Iowa
Getting your car repaired is just the first step. Now, you’ve got to get it officially out of salvage, and for that you need to have it subjected to a salvage theft examination. This inspection costs $30 and ensures that the parts used to restore your salvage vehicle were obtained legally.
If your vehicle passes this exam, you can apply for a new title, one that’s branded “prior salvage”, and you’ll be eligible to both register and insure your car once more.
The Last Step
Finally, you’re ready to insure your prior salvage car and get it fully road-legal. However, it’s common in every state – not just Iowa – to discover that insurance providers are less than enthusiastic with providing you coverage.
You might be able to get minimal insurance on your car, often referred to as PLPD or personal liability and property damage coverage, but in many instances insurers will flat-out refuse to provide higher levels of insurance such a collision coverage or comprehensive insurance to anyone who comes to them with a prior salvage vehicle.
This is based on how the salvage vehicle laws work across the country, not only at your home state. There are few states in the US that require more than a theft examination before allowing a salvage car owner to register his or her vehicle once more. These inspections are often completely uninterested in how road-worthy the car is, so there are no guarantees that the salvage vehicle hadn’t been rebuilt improperly or incompletely.
Thankfully there’s a way around that. Many insurers will offer an inspection of their own in order to determine if your salvage vehicle is in good shape or not. These inspections are conducted by insurance agents, and they entail a close look at the exterior and interior of the car, complete with the taking of several dozen photographs.
The information gathered by the agent which contact with your vehicle, in conjunction with the pictures he or she takes, provides enough peace of mind for insurers to offer you comprehensive or collision insurance on your salvage vehicle. It’s the best way – and more or less the only way – to get physical damage coverage for your prior salvage vehicle in Iowa.