Insurance is required to drive a motorcycle on public roads in 49 out of 50 states. If the bike has a salvage title, you’ll need to take steps to have it qualify for coverage.
Unlike a motorcycle without a collision history, you’ll need to take a few actions with a salvage bike to make it rideable. This guide will take you through that process.
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Table of Content
- Can You Get Insurance on a Salvage Title Motorcycle?
- What Type of Insurance Can You Get for a Rebuilt Title Motorcycle?
- Can I Remove the Rebuilt Title Designation from a Motorcycle?
- Does a Rebuilt Title Affect Motorcycle Insurance Costs?
- Which Insurance Companies Insure a Salvage Title Motorcycle?
- Final Steps to Take When Insuring a Rebuilt Motorcycle
Can You Get Insurance on a Salvage Title Motorcycle?
You cannot get insurance on a motorcycle with a salvage title. Since the bike has been declared a complete loss, it has no value.
You cannot insure something with no designated value.
Until you change the motorcycle’s status, it will continue to have no monetary value to an insurance company.
Step #1: Determine the Qualifications
Even if you can repair a motorcycle with a salvage title, it might not qualify for a status change. Each state has different rules determining whether a bike qualifies for this process.
In Washington State, the following rules apply when rebranding a salvage title.
- The motorcycle must be five years old or newer.
- If it is between six and 20 years old, it must have a pre-accident value of more than $7,880.
- The Washington State Patrol must inspect the bike if you plan to sell it.
After repairing your motorcycle, please remember to tow it to the inspection location. It is illegal to drive it there. You might need to file an inspection request as part of this process.
California follows a similar process. You’ll need proof of ownership, including a certificate or title in your name. An odometer disclosure statement is also required if it’s less than 20 years old.
Step #2: Legally Change the Title
Motorcycles with a salvage title are not insurable. Bikes with a rebuilt title can qualify for insurance coverage.
That means you’ll need to get the title legally changed from its salvage status to the rebuilt designation. The only way to achieve this outcome is to make the necessary repairs, leading to an insurance company writing off the bike as a total loss.
The repairs should be documented as they occur. Once everything is in working order, you’ll need to pay to inspect the motorcycle. This part of the step might require the State Patrol or an official from the DMV to look at the repair work.
You must provide all the paperwork that covers the repair, the initial loss declaration, and anything specific to your situation. You can apply for the rebuilt title if the bike passes the inspection.
Step #3: Get the Rebuilt Title
Once the repairs are complete, and the inspection paperwork is received, you can go to the DMV or the licensing division in your state. You’ll need to follow the registration process and pay any associated fees.
It can take four to six weeks for the rebuilt title to be mailed to you. Some states may issue a temporary registration that allows you to operate the repaired motorcycle on public roads. If not, you’ll need to wait for the official documentation.
Step #4: Obtain Insurance Coverage
Not all insurance companies provide policies for motorcycles with rebuilt titles. In Florida, where coverage is optional, you can legally obtain a certificate of financial responsibility to operate the bike in that state.
If you travel outside of FL, you will need insurance coverage to protect your finances if a collision occurs.
Research insurance providers that are willing to cover a rebuilt title for a motorcycle. The rates are often higher than for bikes without a collision history, but you can save money by taking a liability-only approach.
You’ll need the title and registration to apply for insurance coverage. Some companies might require an emissions test and an appraisal before offering a quote, depending on the state where you live.
What Type of Insurance Can You Get for a Rebuilt Title Motorcycle?
Most insurance companies that offer coverage for rebuilt title motorcycles limit your coverage options to liability-only policies. Comprehensive and collision might be available for high-value bikes that go through a restoration process that delivers significant monetary value.
Some insurance providers limit your coverage with a rebuilt title to the state minimums where you live. There might not be any protection for modified parts or physical damage.
When researching rebuilt title motorcycle insurance, you’ll want to ask about bodily injury, medical payments, and agreed value.
If you continue to repair and modify the bike, it might eventually qualify as a custom motorcycle. Although it will still have a rebuilt title, you might have more coverage options as the value increases.
Can I Remove the Rebuilt Title Designation from a Motorcycle?
Once a motorcycle receives a salvage title, it can never have a clean one. You can upgrade it to a rebuilt status, which is the highest level it will receive.
Even if you hire qualified mechanics to repair the bike, insurance companies always see an increased risk that something hidden could have been left unfixed. That’s why these motorcycles are cheaper to purchase and why finding insurance for one can be a little challenging.
Does a Rebuilt Title Affect Motorcycle Insurance Costs?
Insurance companies declare a total loss when the repairs exceed the motorcycle’s value or are close to that figure. Once you obtain a reconstructed title, there is a permanent negative effect on the bike’s value.
The industry standard typically reduces the motorcycle’s value between 20% to 40%. That’s why it can be a fantastic deal to grab a salvage title bike and repair it, especially if you don’t plan to resell it.
Even though the bike’s value is less, the insurance costs are typically higher. Fewer insurers are willing to take a risk with a rebuilt title, which means the economic law of supply and demand occurs.
If your rebuilt motorcycle is totaled again, you might not get as much from your insurance claim. Since it is a liability-only policy, it is conceivable that you might not receive anything.
Which Insurance Companies Insure a Salvage Title Motorcycle?
No insurance company provides salvage title insurance. It is illegal in all 50 states to operate a motorcycle in this state.
The only way to insure your motorcycle is to transition the title to a reconstructed or rebuilt status.
Root, General Insurance, and 21st Century also have a reputation for providing rebuilt title coverage. You’ll need to speak directly with an agent or company to determine if your motorcycle qualifies.
Final Steps to Take When Insuring a Rebuilt Motorcycle
It helps to check with your local transportation agency to understand the state laws that apply to your rebuilt motorcycle. It might be necessary to obtain a history report on the bike and to have it independently inspected to ensure it is safe to drive before pursuing a title change.
Although fewer insurers provide rebuilt policies, shopping around for the best rate is still crucial. Taking the extra time to compare coverage options can help you find the most affordable offer, even if you only need liability protection.
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