In Alabama, you are not allowed to drive a salvage car anywhere and that includes to a mechanic, body shop, or inspection station. You can’t even park on public areas and streets. You have to go through a process to receive a salvage title. Only then will your car be legally drivable and only then will you be able to get insurance coverage (insure Alabama). So, what do you need to do if you buy a salvage car? The state of Alabama has a specific process to follow.
Rebuilding a Salvage Car
The first thing you have to do is obtain a rebuilder’s license from the Alabama Department of Revenue. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are rebuilding the car. You can still have a mechanic or body shop do the work, and that may be advisable in many cases. What this means, though, is that the state is giving you the right to have the car rebuilt.
Only them should you begin doing the work. If you didn’t get a rebuilder’s license, then you will not be able to have the car inspected, and that means you will never be able to get it registered either.
You will need to post a $10,000 surety bond for the rebuilder’s license. This is simply stating that you will have the car rebuilt.
After all of the rebuild work is complete and your car is properly safe to drive and roadworthy, then you will need to apply to have it inspected.
In Alabama, the inspection is for the sole purpose of looking for stolen parts and salvage car fraud. It is not a safety inspection, but it is required. So, you will need to contact the Alabama Department of Revenue to set up an appointment and have the inspection scheduled. You will need to provide a certain set of documents:
- The completed Application for Inspection of a Salvage Vehicle
- A Remittance Advice Form
- The original salvage title
- The rebuilder’s license
- A fee of $90, which must be provided via a certified check
- A notarized bill of sale for the car
- Bills of sale for any major components you had to add to the car for repair
You can mail copies of all of the documents directly to the Alabama Department of Revenue at the Automobile Inspection Unit, PO Box 327641, Montgomery Alabama 36132.
Once you get an appointment and that inspection is complete, then you will be issued a rebuilt title. As long as your car is in good working condition and deemed safe to drive, and as long as it doesn’t have any stolen parts on it, then you should have no issue getting the rebuilt title.
Getting Your Rebuilt Car Insured
All that’s left is to get insurance. Getting coverage can be somewhat tricky even on a rebuilt salvage title in Alabama. You will likely need to provide documents to insurance companies showing the salvage information and what it took to rebuild the car. Depending on the damage and the insurance company, you may or may not have coverage options.
However, as you shop around, you will find insurance companies willing to cover your rebuilt salvage car. Most of the time, your option will be liability, which is required by law but only covers other vehicles you may have a collision with. If you are determined to get comprehensive coverage, then keep looking. You may find an insurance company that will offer it.
If you are interested in buying a salvage car, then the easiest way to do this is through an online auction. You can bid on cars and get them for a very low price. You can do all of this from your home and just have the car shipped to you when the auction is complete. It can save you a great deal of time and hassle.