Insure a salvage title car (2022)

Cars with salvage titles have been damaged enough to be considered total losses by insurers, so they are difficult to restore and more expensive to insure. If you restore a salvage title car to the point that it can be driven and insured, you may still have trouble getting Back to back insurance.

In this article, our Auto Guides team will describe what a salvage title is, how to get a rebuilt title for a salvaged vehicle, and what your insurance options are for these cars. We have also classified the best car insurance companies to help you find the right supplier for your restored salvage vehicle.

What is a salvage title car?

A car with a salvage title or salvage certificate has been deemed 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 generally means a car needs repairs that cost between 60% and 90% of its total cash value.

But in some cases, salvage title cars cannot be restored. These vehicles are declared non-repairable by the insurers and can only be used as spare parts. If a salvaged title car can be restored, it may be eligible for a rebuilt title, which you’ll need if you want to get insurance.

Obtain a rebuilt title for a salvaged car

The process of obtaining a rebuilt title for a salvage title car involves several steps:

  1. Have your vehicle checked by a private mechanic. A statement from a certified mechanic is the best way to determine that all previous issues have been resolved and the car is in full working order.
  2. Pass an inspection on the vehicle. Different states will have different criteria on what will allow a rebuilt car to pass an inspection.
  3. Obtain the rebuilt title from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Once the car passes state inspection, your state’s DMV should update its title status.

Insurance companies may have their own safety inspections for your vehicle, but once these are complete, you can purchase coverage for the car and drive it legally.

Purchase insurance for restored salvage title cars

Once you have restored a salvaged title car and obtained a rebuilt title, you can begin exploring your insurance options. Some carriers do not offer coverage for cars with rebuilt titles. Others will provide a minimum liability insurance but will not offer comprehensive coverage or collision coverage. This is because there may still be underlying issues from previous accidents and it may be more difficult to tell the difference between old and new damage.

Factors that affect insurance costs

Also expect to pay more for coverage than you find for your rebuilt title vehicle. The price you pay will depend on a range of factors, including the following:

  • Age: Teenage drivers and men under 25 generally pay the highest car insurance rates because they are statistically more likely to have car accidents.*
  • Genre: Men often pay more than women for car insurance based on accident statistics.
  • Marital status: Married drivers generally pay less for a car insurance policy.
  • Location: Densely populated cities tend to have more accidents, car thefts and vandalism, so drivers in these areas often pay higher car insurance premiums.
  • credit history: A lower credit score means you pay more for car insurance in many states.
  • Driving records: If you have a driving history free of at-fault accidents, commuting violations and driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, you will pay less for car insurance.
  • Vehicle type: In the case of a car with a rebuilt title, the types of damage and previous repairs are particularly important. An insurer may determine that a rebuilt title vehicle is susceptible to major damage, even in the event of a minor accident.

*According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 2022

As with any own vehicle, it is best to compare auto insurance quotes from multiple providers to find the best deal on auto coverage.

Our top picks for rebuilt title auto insurance

Not all companies offer salvage title insurance. Luckily, some of our top-rated providers cover these unique cases. Since insuring a rebuilt title can be expensive, it’s important to look for companies that offer you many opportunities to save on car insurance, from special discounts to safe driving programs. State Farm, Geico and Progressive all provide salvage title 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 full insurance with collision and complete protection in all cases. Call a local insurance agent to verify what types of coverage are available for formerly salvaged vehicles in your state. It’s also a good idea to compare quotes from multiple vendors to ensure the best rates.

#1 State Farm: Editor’s Choice

State Farm is the most popular car insurance provider in the United States. It is also known for its affordable rates and excellent customer service. From the company Drive safely and save™ based on usage allows customers to save up to 30% on their premiums for adopting safe driving habits.

You can also save money by installing additional safety devices and taking defensive driving courses. State Farm holds a A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB)​​and a A++ rating for AM Best’s financial strength.

keep reading: State Farm Insurance Review

#2 Geico: Affordable for most drivers

Geico consistently offers a wide range of coverage options for some of the lowest rates among national providers. In addition to giving drivers the opportunity to save through Geico’s DriveEasy usage-based insurance program, the company provides discounts for accident-free driving, bundled policies, defensive driving lessons and more. Geico also has a Financial strength rating A++ from AM Best and benefits from a A+ rating of the BBB.

keep reading: Geico Insurance Review

Compare: State farm against. Geico

#3 Progressive: Low rates for high-risk drivers

Progressive also offers affordable rates on a range of coverage options. The program based on the use of the company® helps you earn discounts for safe driving behaviors. You can also save money by having multiple policies, listing more than one vehicle on your policy, and having continuous coverage through Progressive or any other company. AM Best gives Progressive a A+ rating for financial strength.

keep reading: Progressive insurance review

Compare: Geico vs. progressive

Our Methodology

Because consumers rely on us to provide unbiased and accurate information, we’ve created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our ranking of the best car insurance companies. We’ve collected data on dozens of car insurance providers to score companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall score for each provider, with insurers who scored the most points at the top of the list.

Here are the factors taken into account by our assessments:

  • Cost (30% of total score): Auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services and discount opportunities were both taken into consideration.
  • Coverage (30% or full 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 ratings, and years in business to assign this score.
  • Availability (10% of total score): Auto insurance companies with greater state availability and fewer eligibility criteria scored higher in this category.
  • Customer experience (15% of total score): This score is based on volume of complaints reported by the 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 customer analysis.

*Data correct at time of publication.

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