What Does A “Salvage Title” Mean In New York?

Before a new certificate of title can be issued, the New York salvage vehicle law mandates that the Department of Motor Vehicles must inspect a severely damaged vehicle. If your vehicle was damaged in an accident, it is crucial that you comprehend the salvage title process. When purchasing a used vehicle, it is also beneficial to comprehend how the process safeguards consumers.

Qualifications for Salvage Vehicles in New York

The DMV defines a salvage vehicle as a vehicle that:

  • Has repair expenses that exceed 75% of the vehicle’s pre-damage retail value
  • Significant damage caused by water, collision, vandalism, or theft that is transferred to an insurance company through a Salvage Certificate.
  • Declared a “wreck” on the certificate of title by the previous owner at the time of sale or transfer.
  • Has a salvage title issued by another state prior to its importation into New York

Before a new registration or title is issued, a vehicle must be inspected by the DMV if any of the preceding situations apply. The examination is not an inspection for emissions, insurance, or safety.

The inspection will determine whether a reconstructed salvage vehicle contains stolen parts. The New York State Auto Theft Prevention Program mandates that all salvage vehicles be inspected.

Certain vehicles do not qualify for an inspection and a new title. If any of the following are indicated on the Salvage Certificate, the DMV will not conduct an inspection or issue a new certificate of title:

  • Only Scrapped Parts
  • Non-repairable
  • Destroyed
  • Non-rebuildable

If you receive a new certificate of title after repairing or rebuilding your vehicle, your auto insurance premiums may increase. A number of insurance companies feel uneasy insuring salvage vehicles.

How Does an Insurance Company Acquire Salvage Title to a Vehicle?

If your vehicle is damaged in a collision, you can file a property damage claim with the insurance company of the driver at fault. If the accident was your fault, collision or comprehensive insurance may provide coverage for property damage.

An adjuster from the insurance company inspects your vehicle. The adjuster establishes the extent and cost of the damage.

If the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle, it is considered a total loss. In addition, insurance companies may declare a vehicle a total loss if the cost of repairs exceeds 75% of the vehicle’s value.

When your vehicle is declared a total loss, the insurance company will offer to settle your claim by paying you the vehicle’s fair market value. The market value of your vehicle is determined by its condition prior to the collision. Other factors that affect your vehicle’s value include:

  • Model, make, and year of the automobile
  • Unique characteristics and systems
  • Mileage
  • Current market conditions for your vehicle

The majority of property damage claims are settled prior to injury and other damage claims. However, before signing a release to settle your property damage claim, you should carefully review the entire document.

If the form mentions injuries or other damages, it is best to have a car accident attorney review the form before moving forward. You do not wish to waive any of your rights to file a personal injury claim for compensation.

What Happens if My Vehicle Can be Repaired?

If your vehicle’s damage is repairable, the insurance company should pay for the repairs. However, there are a few potential complications.

When repairing your vehicle, the insurance company may authorise the repair shop to use aftermarket or used parts. These components may decrease the value of your vehicle. Before any work is performed on your vehicle, you must obtain a detailed list of all repairs and parts.

You may wish to compare at least three estimates from certified repair shops. Estimates that are itemised allow you to ensure that your vehicle receives all necessary repairs.

The collision may also decrease the value of your vehicle. An insurance company may contest a depreciation claim. However, you should include decreases in market value in your property damage claim.

Who Can Help Me With a Property Damage Claim?

If you were injured in a car accident, you may have already discussed your personal injury claim with a car accident attorney. Your attorney can also provide guidance regarding your property damage claim. If you have not retained an attorney for personal injury, some attorneys handle disputed property damage claims with or without a personal injury case.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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