If you’re in the market for a used car, it’s important to understand the various types of car titles out there. One of the most commonly misunderstood types is the salvage title. Salvage title cars are those that have been deemed a total loss by an insurance company due to damage sustained in an accident, fire, flood, or other catastrophic event. Once a car is given a salvage title, it can never be returned to its original clean title, even if it’s repaired and deemed roadworthy again.
When it comes to salvage title car laws in New York, there are a few things you should know before buying or selling one of these cars.
What is a Salvage Title?
As mentioned, a salvage title is issued to a vehicle that’s been declared a total loss by an insurer. This means that the cost to repair the car is greater than its current market value, making it uneconomical to restore to its pre-accident condition. In New York, a car must meet one of the following criteria to be considered salvage:
- The car’s repairs would cost 75% or more of its fair market value before the damage occurred.
- The insurer determines the car is a total loss and pays a settlement to the policyholder.
- The vehicle has been determined a salvage vehicle through other state or national requirements.
It’s important to note that even if a car is repaired and deemed roadworthy again, it will still carry a salvage title. This can impact the car’s value, insurability, and resale potential.
What are the Requirements for Registering a Salvage Title Car in New York?
In New York, there are specific requirements for registering a salvage title car. These include:
- A completed Application for Salvage Vehicle Examination (Form MV-83SAL)
- The original salvage title certificate
- A bill of sale and proof of ownership
- The vehicle’s original registration or renewal notice
- Proof of identity and residency
- A $10 examination fee
The Application for Salvage Vehicle Examination is an important document that must be completed and submitted to the DMV prior to registering the car. The examination is designed to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy and has been repaired to meet safety standards. Once the examination is complete, the DMV will issue a new title certificate that denotes the vehicle as a “reconstructed salvage vehicle.”
It’s worth noting that even if a car has been repaired and meets safety standards, it may still have noticeable damage or issues. As a buyer, it’s important to thoroughly inspect the car and have it evaluated by a mechanic before making a purchase.
What are the Risks of Buying a Salvage Title Car?
Buying a salvage title car can be risky. Because these vehicles have been deemed a total loss by insurers, it’s likely that they sustained significant damage. Additionally, the repairs may not have been done to the same standards as a factory repair, which could impact the car’s safety and performance.
Another risk of buying a salvage title car is its potential resale value. These cars are often sold at a steep discount compared to clean title vehicles, but they may be difficult to sell down the line when it’s time to upgrade or move on. Additionally, some insurance companies may not be willing to provide coverage for a salvage title car.
How Can You Protect Yourself When Buying a Salvage Title Car?
Despite the risks, some buyers are attracted to the low prices of salvage title cars. If you’re considering buying one of these vehicles, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself:
- Do your research. Before making a purchase, research the specific make and model of the car to determine its typical resale value and common issues.
- Get a vehicle history report. This report will provide you with information on the car’s previous accidents, damage, and ownership history. Be sure to check whether the car has been in multiple accidents or has a history of flood damage.
- Have the car inspected. Bring the car to a trusted mechanic and have them evaluate it for any potential issues or hidden damage. This is especially important if you’re not familiar with cars yourself.
- Negotiate the price. Salvage title cars are typically sold at a steep discount, but this doesn’t mean the seller won’t negotiate further. Use the information you’ve gathered from your research and inspection to haggle for a lower price.
The Bottom Line
Salvage title car laws in New York are designed to protect consumers and ensure that vehicles are roadworthy before being registered. However, buying a salvage title car can still be risky. If you’re considering purchasing one of these vehicles, it’s important to do your research, have the car inspected, and negotiate the price. With the right due diligence, buying a salvage title car could end up being a great deal.