Flash Auctions
Try out our new feature. Be fast. Save Big!

How To Restore, Rebuild and Re-Insure a Salvage Car?

Date: 10/24/2015 |Category: Car Insurance, Salvage Cars

Salvage cars represent fantastic opportunities to anyone looking to get a used car at a low price. However, these types of cars need to be restored, rebuilt, and then re-insured before they can be driven legally. Here’s what you need to know about the entire process, from getting your car home off the auction lot to getting it back on the road safely and legally.

You Need to Follow the Letter of the Law from the Very Beginning

Once a car gets totaled or written off by an insurance company, it passes into the company’s possession and gets its regular title certificate traded in for a salvage title. This is a legal document that shows the car’s status as a salvage vehicle and makes it impossible to register or insure in order to drive it legally. It doesn’t matter if it’s still mechanically sound enough to be taken on the road or not.

This means that even when you buy it from an online or in-person auction, your new salvage car needs to be transported on a trailer to your address. In some states, it’s even illegal to have the car towed home if it means its front or rear tires are in contact with the road.

Getting Your Car Inspected

Once you’ve finished your repair work and the car is in a drivable condition once more, you’re going to have to comply with all the regulations in your state’s salvage laws in order to get the car registered. For the most part, this means you’ll have to call up your state’s department of motor vehicles or stop by in person to pick up the requisite forms for a salvage vehicle inspection.

These inspections are conducted by state officials, usually state police officers or DMV employees, who check that all the parts you used in your rebuild were obtained legally. This means you can’t throw out any of the receipts or bills of sale you end up with during the rebuilding process. This also means you’ll need to present your bill of sale from the auction house and your salvage title.

If your car passes, you’ll be given a new title certificate, often referred to as a reconstructed or rebuilt title, that will let you insure and register your car.

Insurance: A Requirement and a Nuisance

Insurers are reluctant to provide coverage for these types of cars. While they offer at least state-minimum cover in the form of personal liability and property damage (PLPD) insurance, it can be very difficult to find an insurance provider willing to offer you greater coverage.

However, insurance companies are often willing to offer you physical damage coverage like collision or comprehensive insurance if you’re in turn willing to have your car inspected by a representative from the company. If the results of the inspection convince the insurance carrier that the car is in good condition, you can often negotiate higher coverage levels. 

This will mean you’ll be paying more when it comes to your insurance premiums, since a rebuilt salvage vehicle is always a risk to insure.

Find information on Rebuilt Title Laws for Each US State. Explore our Vehicle Auctions and find information on Buying With Us.

Auto Auction Specialist Used car expert The largest salvage & insurance vehicle auction marketplace online.
Bid on over 200,000 vehicles for sale right now.

Ready to get started?

Register a free user account and start bidding on your dream car right now!

Sign up for free
Request a
We will call you within 1 min
We speak your language:
English, Spanish, Portugeese and Russian
< Back
  • User Registration
    • What are the rules regarding new customers and customers not in good standing?
    • Can I just buy one car?
    • I do not have a dealer license; can I bid or buy a car?
    • What information do I need to provide to register?
    • Do I have to pay to register?
    • Do I need to register to bid?
  • Auction Process
    • Do you offer live bidding?
    • What is the difference between, “auction” car, and a “buy now” car?
    • What is a Reserve Price?
    • What does the bid amount include?
    • How does the auction process work?
  • Deposits and Pre-Bidding
    • Is the security deposit refundable?
    • How do international customers make a deposit in their account?
    • How does the security deposit process work?
    • Can I cancel a bid?
    • Can I inspect vehicles prior to auction?
    • Is automatic bidding or pre-bidding available?
    • What is the total bidding amount?
    • What is a bid in active status?
    • What is a bid in pending status?
    • What is the best way to win an auction?
    • How do I search for a car available at auction?
    • How does the auction process work?
  • Post-Auction and Payments
    • What does a customer need to do to get the title to a vehicle?
    • How do I pick up the car I purchased?
    • Are there storage fees if I cannot pick up my vehicle immediately?
    • Do you Issue Temporary Plates?
    • Can I pay in cash?
    • Are there late payment penalties?
    • What are the payment terms?
    • How do I pay for an auction?
    • What if I fail to may a payment as required?
    • When is the balance due on a purchase?
    • When will I be notified of the results of the auction?
    • Bidding has ended. Is my bid the highest?
    • Why did I receive notice after bidding ended that my bid is no longer the highest?
  • Shipping and Delivery
    • How will it be mailed to me?
    • When will I receive the title?
    • Can I have the title mailed to an address/name different from the address/name on my account?
    • I have an agent working on my behalf can this person pick up my vehicle?
    • Do you offer delivery?
    • When can I pick up a car I have won at auction?
  • Understanding Salvage Titles
    • What is NMVTIS and how is it used?
    • Understanding the salvage title/rebuilt title distinction
    • What are the different types of titles a vehicle may have?
    • I received a different type of title than the one in the description. I received an equivalent title from a different state. Why?