New York State’s salvage vehicle law requires the issuance of a salvage title on a vehicle if it fulfills specific standards – namely, if it has undergone major damage or destruction. Having a salvage title means the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) must inspect the vehicle first before issuing a new title certificate. The point of these inspections is to check for stolen parts and protect consumers.
Most salvage title vehicles have significant structural or operational problems. Vehicle owners must disclose this damage to the DMV or else face fines and penalties. A salvage vehicle must fulfill the state’s definition.
Salvage vehicles must be eight model years old or newer. If you believe your vehicle may qualify as a salvage vehicle after an incident, you must report your suspicions to the DMV.
Classifying a vehicle as salvage on its title puts certain restrictions on what the owner can and cannot do with the vehicle. If the owner rebuilds a salvaged vehicle for use on the road, the owner must get the DMV to examine the vehicle before receiving a new registration or title. The NY State Auto Theft Prevention Program requires this examination.
Under the rules of the program, all vehicles with New York Salvage Certificates, and rebuilt salvage vehicles from most other states must undergo official inspection before the owner can receive a new title. If a vehicle has a Salvage Certificate with a label that marks it as “parts only,” “non-rebuildable,” “non-repairable,” “destroyed,” or “scrapped,” the DMV will not approve it for a return to the roadway and the vehicles will not receive new titles.
Insuring a salvage vehicle can be difficult. Many insurance companies are not comfortable with providing collision or comprehensive insurance for vehicles that have sustained serious damage in the past – even after rebuilds. Expect higher insurance premiums than you would normally see with a non-salvaged vehicle.