New York
What is Salvage title? US States Rebuilt Title Rules Car Insurance

What Are the Rules for Salvage Car Insurance in New York?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 10/16/2015

If you choose to purchase a salvage car in New York, or if you have a vehicle that has been damaged and deemed salvage title level by the insurance company, then you need to know what this means for getting it insured in New York. Each state has its own laws and regulations about these vehicles, so you cannot assume what’s in the rules for one place will apply to you in New York.

What Is a Salvage Car?

When you hear the words “salvage vehicle”, you likely assume this immediately means all of those broken and damaged cars you have seen in junkyards. While yes, technically, those vehicles will fall into that category too, many cars with a salvage title are in much better shape than this and could actually be completely drivable.

A salvage title is something assigned by an insurance company when a car has been damaged from 75% to 90%. You may have heard this referred to as totaled as well. Essentially, the insurance company decides that the repair to the car would cost more than just replacing it altogether. This damage can come from a collision, hail, floods, vandalism, and even theft.

When a car has been listed as salvage, then this will be listed on the title, making any subsequent buyer aware of the condition. In some cases, it is possible to do enough repairs on one of the cars so that it can be changed to a rebuild permit, but that isn’t always the case, such as if the frame has been twisted beyond mending.

New York State Laws About Salvage Vehicles

To begin with, the state of New York requires by law that all vehicles with a salvage title are listed in this manner, and a seller must disclose this to the buyer. Additionally, New York is one of the states that allows for a rebuild salvage title, which means the owner did enough repairs to make the vehicle insurable again. However, this is still listed on the title and must still be disclosed to the buyer, and it requires safety and emissions checks by the state DMV before clearance.

If you are purchasing a vehicle and no one has told you whether or not it is salvaged, then look for Form MV-103, which is the state’s odometer and damage disclosure statement. The seller is required by law to disclose the damage through this statement.

Once you have purchased the vehicle, you will need to fill out form MV-899. Which is the application for salvage vehicle examination. Then, you must pay a fee for a state approved inspector to look over the salvage car.

Getting Insurance on a Salvage Car in New York

Like other states, New York has strict rules about a salvage vehicle overall. You cannot license it and drive it if it is deemed inoperable after a state inspection. That’s why, one of the first things you have to do when you purchase a salvage vehicle is pay for the state DMV to inspect it. At this time, you can get better insight into what you need to do in order to get the car on the road again. It may be as simple as making one or two changes. It may mean doing nothing at all. Finally, it could mean completely refurbishing the car before it is drivable again.

If your car has a simple salvage title in New York and you have not had it inspected, then you can’t even get a tag for it, and you most definitely will not be able to get insurance coverage. In fact, it is all but impossible to insure the car until you have gone through the rebuilding process.

Essentially, after the inspection is complete, the DMV will give you a report on your car and what needs to be repaired to qualify for a rebuild title. To begin with, the state of New York has strict rules about safety equipment. Things such as built-in airbags must be replaced and in good working order. The car also has to be deemed roadworthy.

After you have made all of the repairs and you have another inspection, then you can be issued a New York rebuilt salvage title. This will be listed on the title itself. Then, you can approach insurance companies about coverage. It may still be somewhat difficult, but you will have a much better chance of purchasing a policy than you would have otherwise.

Additionally, keep in mind that you will not be able to get comprehensive insurance on the rebuilt salvage car. Instead, you will only be able to get liability coverage so that if you are in a wreck that is your fault, then you will have enough coverage to pay for the other person’s repairs.

Car Theft Salvages

On another note, New York does allow salvage titles to be issued for vehicles that have been reported stolen. The owners will have received a new car from their insurance company, but if the vehicle has been found, then a salvage title can be allowed. However, the car will need to go through inspection also. That’s because it needs to be checked for drivability, but also to ensure there are no stolen parts or items stowed away within it.

If you are trying to get a salvage title on a theft vehicle, then you will need to provide an application, a fee, and proof of ownership to the Auto Theft and Salvage division of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The state of New York has clear rules about salvage cars. No salvaged vehicle will ever get a clean title no matter how many repairs you make, so you will have a standard salvage title or a rebuilt salvage title. If you want to insure your vehicle, then you will need the latter of these two. The state will do an examination, then you will need to make repairs. Once you do this, you can approach an insurance company with the rebuilt salvage title and get some type of coverage.