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Is Insurance More Expensive For A Salvage Car?


You might believe you got a good deal when you pay a meager price for a salvaged car. However, such cars have probably been rebuilt after being utterly destroyed in an accident. Car insurance companies usually quote higher premium rates to insure these rebuilt vehicles. Some automobile insurance agencies will not insure a salvaged car while others offer liability coverage. Very few insurance companies provide full coverage for such cars as it is difficult to assess all damages to the vehicle.

What Does It Mean When A Car Has A Salvage Title?

A salvage title, also popularly known as a branded title, is issued to a vehicle after it has been labeled as a total loss.  This is the opposite of a clean title which is what cars that have never suffered severe damage are issued. If a vehicle suffers extreme damage and the cost of repair is more than a certain percentage of the cars cash value, a total loss has happened. Different automobile car insurers in different states use varying levels as a benchmark for the total loss, but the value ranges between 90% and 60%.

Once a car insurance company makes a total loss declaration and issues a salvage certificate, the car can no longer be registered and can no longer be driven on public roads. Insurance companies typically go on to auction salvaged cars off to salvage yards or rebuilders. If a salvaged car is rebuilt correctly and passes the necessary tests, a rebuilt certificate can be issued for it. If the vehicle was restored but still declared unfit to drive, it is given a non-repairable title instead. Such a vehicle can never be driven again and is only used for parts or dumped altogether.

Does A Salvage Title Affect The Price Of Car Insurance Premiums?

There are varied reasons why the premium rate for car insurance will increase. Typically, the elements that cause premium rates to increase depending on how high risk the policyholder is. According to car insurance companies, driving a salvaged car makes you a very high-risk client. For this reason, premium rates for salvaged vehicles tend to be much higher than average.

A car can only be issued a salvage title if it passes inspection after rebuilding. But there could be many defects hiding in covered areas, waiting to manifest at the slightest encouragement. Such errors could even lead to unfortunate accidents, and that is the biggest concern of auto insurance companies.

Another reason most insurance companies will not touch a salvaged car with a 6-foot pole is they are difficult to value. Comprehensive collision insurance might be a good deal for your salvaged car, but since your insurance provider finds it hard to value the vehicle, you should expect costly rates. Other insurance covers, including uninsured motorist and liability insurance, might not cost more than usual because the value of the car is not considered for determining premium rates.

Is It Worth It To Buy Full Coverage On A Salvage Car?

The search for an auto insurance company that will cover a salvaged car is only the beginning; getting a reasonably priced quote is another ball game. While some people prefer to have full coverage, even for salvage title cars, some wonder if it is worth it. Car insurance companies generally estimate standard cars value lower than expected. You can assume that this will be lower for salvaged vehicles. Only about 80% of the cars salvage value will get to you.

Another consideration when contemplating full coverage for salvaged cars is that your vehicle starts worthless. Insurance is usually paid out based on the value of the car involved, so get ready to be paid much less if your salvaged car is badly damaged in the future.


Cars with a salvage title are typically much cheaper than conventional vehicles. A lot of professionals advice car buyers to avoid buying salvaged cars or rebuilding total loss cars but these cars can still be driven and insured. Some car insurance companies will not provide coverage for salvaged cars, some only offer limited liability, but a few can offer full salvage title insurance coverage for vehicles with salvage titles. 

If you have done proper research and decided to buy and use a salvaged car long term, you can be covered by individual car insurance firms. You should ask your car insurance provider about their stance on insuring salvage cars. Also, inquire about additional coverage you may be able to get with their regular packages. If you can find a provider with a good deal, go ahead and make an offer. Make sure you have confirmed that there will be no severe limitations for filing a claim with a salvage title car before you go ahead. Your insurance provider might even negotiate the value of the vehicle with you to provide you with the best premium rates possible.