Almost everyone loves salvage cars, especially when it comes to buying them cheap and restoring them into working condition. A well-rebuilt salvage car can be every inch as reliable and safe as a used car of the same make and model, especially if you spend time rebuilding the car yourself, yet for some reason insurance companies absolutely loathe any vehicle that’s been salvaged and rebuilt – and will often flat-out refuse to insure one.
Here’s why insurance companies positively hate salvage cars – and here’s how to get a rebuilt salvage car insured anyway.
It Starts Well Before the Rebuilding Process
Most salvage car owners only deal with insurers once their vehicle has been completely restored and been given a rebuilt salvage title. This makes the hostility they experience from insurers hard to swallow, especially after investing so much time and money into bringing a car back from the dead. Every salvage vehicle that gets restored into perfect working order, started its life as a car that was damaged in an accident and then written off as a total loss by another insurance company.
These written off cars are purchased by insurers all the time by paying off the owner for the value of the vehicle. It happens a lot, and it results in a huge inventory of useless vehicles that insurance companies would do absolutely anything to get rid of. This usually means they get sold at auction for a ridiculously low price, but as far as an insurer is concerned it’s just glad that the thing is out of their hands.
Now, imagine if you were approached by a car owner that wanted you to insure a car you had finally gotten rid of. Would you want it back so soon, especially since you couldn’t possibly know if it had been repaired properly or not? It could end up getting totaled again – and then you’d be right back where you started with a useless car that you need to sell at auction one more time.
Despite This, You Can Still Win Over an Insurer
It might not be fair to you as a car owner, but at least you can understand why insurers don’t like to insure rebuilt salvage cars. That being said, if you play your cards right you can actually convince an insurance provider to take you on as a policyholder – and maybe even offer you more coverage than just your state’s bare minimum mandate of personal liability and personal damage.
However, if you want to get comprehensive coverage or collision insurance, you’re going to have to prove to your insurer that your car isn’t going to break down at the earliest opportunity.
The most common way this is accomplished is by agreeing to let an agent from your insurance provider inspect your rebuilt salvage vehicle. This representative will look for signs of damage on the inside and the outside, document everything by photographing it, and then report back to his or her employer. If your insurer can’t find any glaring problems with your rebuild – and if you did a good, thorough job you won’t have any problems to speak of – they will often offer you more than just minimal PLPD coverage as a result.
However, you’re not going to get anything close to a competitive price quote on your premium, as your insurance provider probably wouldn’t mind if you went elsewhere and got coverage from a competitor so it becomes someone else’s problem and not theirs.
It can be more than a little disheartening, but at the same time there’s little you can do about it – vehicle insurance is a legal requirement if you want to get your salvage vehicle back on the road. It’s better than spending all that time and energy restoring your car and then not being able to use it, though.