Cars with salvage titles have been damaged so badly that insurers consider them a total loss, making them difficult to recover and more expensive to insure. If you’re restoring a salvage car to the point where it can be driven and insured, it may still be difficult to get hold of comprehensive insurance.
In this article, our Guides Auto team will break down what a salvage title is, how to secure a rebuilt title on a salvaged vehicle, and what insurance options you have for these cars. We rated those too The best car insurance to help you find the right vendor for your restored salvage vehicle.
What is a Salvage Title Car?
A car with a salvage title or certificate has been declared a total loss by an insurance company – often after a serious accident. States and insurers may have different definitions of a totaled car, but it usually means a car needs repairs that cost between 60% and 90% of its full present value.
But in some cases, salvage title cars cannot be restored. These vehicles are declared non-repairable by insurers and can only be used for spare parts. If a salvage car can be restored it may be eligible for a rebuilt title, which you will need if you want to get insurance.
Obtaining a rebuilt title for a salvaged car
There are several steps to get a rebuilt crash car title:
- Have your vehicle checked by a private mechanic. A certified mechanic’s declaration is the best way to ensure that all previous issues have been resolved and the car is in perfect condition.
- Pass a state inspection of the vehicle. Different states have different criteria about what allows a converted car to pass an inspection.
- Get the remodeled title from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Once the car has passed state inspection, your state’s DMV should improve its title status.
Insurance providers may have their own safety inspections for your vehicle, but once these are completed you can purchase coverage for the car and drive it legally.
Undertaking insurance for restored cars with salvage title
Once you’ve restored a wrecked car and secured a remodeled title for it, you can start exploring your insurance options. Some carriers do not provide coverage for cars with remodeled titles. Others offer minimums liability insurance however, does not provide comprehensive coverage or collision coverage. This is because there may still be underlying issues related to previous accidents and it can be harder to tell the difference between old and new damage.
Factors affecting insurance costs
Also, expect to pay more for the coverage you’ll find for your title vehicle remodel. The price you pay depends on a number of factors including:
- Age: Teenage drivers and men under 25 typically pay the highest car insurance rates as they are statistically more likely get into car accidents.*
- gender: Due to accident statistics, men often pay more for car insurance than women.
- Marital status: Married drivers tend to pay less for car insurance.
- location: Densely populated cities tend to be more prone to accidents, car theft and vandalism, so motorists in these areas often pay higher car insurance rates.
- credit history: A lower credit score means you’ll pay more for auto insurance in many states.
- drive recording: If your driving history is clear of at-fault accidents, traffic violations, and driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, you’ll pay less for auto insurance.
- vehicle type: On a title remodeled car, the type of damage and repairs are particularly important. An insurer may find that a converted title vehicle is vulnerable to major damage from even a minor accident.
*According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 2022
As with any clean title vehicle, it’s best Compare car insurance quotes from multiple providers to find the best auto insurance deal.
Our top picks for remodeled car insurance
Not every company offers residual value insurance. Luckily, some of our top-notch providers cover these unique cases. Because insuring a remodeled title can be expensive, it’s important to look for companies that offer you many ways to save on auto insurance, from special discounts to safe driving programs. State Farm, Geico, and Progressive all offer residual value insurance and offer several discounts.
*Ratings are determined by our editorial review team. Learn more about our scoring methodology below.
Keep in mind that you may not be able to purchase comprehensive insurance collision and comprehensive protection in any case. Call a local insurance agent to verify what types of coverage are available for formerly salvage title vehicles in your state. It’s also smart to compare offers from multiple vendors to get the best prices.
#1 State Farm: Editor’s Choice
State Farm is the most popular auto insurance provider in the United States. It is also known for affordable rates and excellent customer service. The firms Drive safe and save™ usage-based program allows customers to save up to 30% on their safe driving habits rewards.
You can also unlock savings by installing additional safety features and completing defensive driving courses. State Farm holds one Rating A+ by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a Rating A++ for financial strength of AM Best.
Continue reading: State farm insurance review
#2 Geico: Affordable for most riders
Geico consistently offers a wide range of coverage options for some of the lowest rates among national providers. In addition to offering drivers the opportunity to save through Geico’s DriveEasy usage-based insurance program, the company also offers discounts for accident-free driving, bundling policies, taking defensive driving courses and more. Geico has one too Financial strength rating A++ from AM Best and features a Rating A+ from the BBB.
Continue reading: Geico insurance review
Compare: State Farm vs. Geico
#3 Progressive: Low fares for high-risk drivers
Progressive also offers affordable plans for a wide range of coverage options. The company’s Snapshot usage-based program® helps you get discounts for safe driving. You can also save money by having multiple policies, having more than one vehicle on your policy, and having continuous coverage through Progressive or another company. AM Best specifies progressives Rating A+ for financial strength.
Continue reading: Progressive Insurance Review
Compare: Geico vs Progressive
Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we have developed a comprehensive rating system to formulate our ranking of the best auto insurance companies. We collected data on dozens of auto insurance providers to rank the companies based on a variety of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the insurers with the most points topping the list.
Here are the factors our reviews take into account:
- Cost (30% of total score): Auto insurance rate estimates and discount opportunities generated by Quadrant Information Services have been included.
- Coverage (30% of total score): Companies that offer a variety of insurance coverage choices are more likely to meet consumer needs.
- Reputation (15% of total score): Our research team considered market share, industry expert reviews, and fiscal year to assign this rating.
- Availability (10% of total score): Auto insurance companies with greater state availability and fewer licensing requirements scored highest in this category.
- Customer Experience (15% of total score): This score is based on the number of complaints reported by NAIC and customer satisfaction ratings reported by JD Power. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each insurance company’s customer service team based on our own buyer analysis.
*Data correct at time of publication.