These days, a salvage title on a vehicle doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Many times, the cost of repairing a vehicle for the insurance company is more than its book value. I know that a mere fender bender in a late-model Mercedes-Benz can reach this tipping point. This does not mean that some mechanic or enthusiast like myself is not able to take a side project and make the repairs at a discounted price to generate income for their labor.
How to Insure a Salvage Car in California
If you decide to purchase a salvaged vehicle, be prepared to demonstrate that it was adequately repaired. If you have done this yourself, you may want to document or record how the repairs were done and have them certified by a repair shop. The California DMV requires the cost of labor and all parts with your application for the title even if the repairs were done by you.
The more proof that you can provide to the insurance companies that your vehicle is a revived salvage vehicle that is safe to operate, the easier it will be to obtain insurance at affordable rates. In my experience, most insurance companies will only insure the vehicle for liability coverage rather than full coverage or exclude the parts that were damaged.
You will also need to prepare a statement of facts in support of the revived salvage title for the DMV. If you are able to succinctly make your case that the vehicle damage no longer affects the operation or safety of the vehicle, it will be easier to persuade insurers to stand behind your work.
It is important to focus objectively on why the vehicle was declared a total loss. Then, you need to explain why the repairs were done if they cost more than the vehicle’s book value. Finally, you need expert certifications from independent shops that the work was done up to factory specifications to persuade insurers it is safe.