This can be a complicated issue. Since States get to set many of their own rules, there is no one set of rules governing this issue. What is required in one state may not be required in another and vice versa? However, there is a stigma that goes along with the label ‘salvage’.
This is a difficult question to answer as States have different rules. For example, Nevada law states that to register a vehicle with a salvage title it needs to be rebuilt and inspected before it can be registered. This may be the only way to license your salvaged vehicle or RV.
To learn more about this topic, just continue to read our article. Everything we say here will be in the ‘depends’ category as each state may have different laws governing this topic. To license a vehicle, you need to rebuild it and get a rebuilt title in most cases.
There are several definitions that go along with this label and status. One is that the car may have been stolen and damaged and not worth repairing. Another definition and a better one would be that it is proof of ownership of vehicles that cannot be safely driven on the road.
The third definition that applies to this label is that there was some sort of damage to the vehicle, natural disasters, etc., that the insurance company will not pay to fix.
It is better for them to write the RV, etc., off as salvage and pay the owner their coverage amount than fix the RV, etc. Once you get that title label, it is a very big negative that will follow the vehicle for the rest of its days.
Even if you have a rebuilt title, everyone will know it was once a salvage vehicle. This may be a shame as there are many vehicles that are declared salvaged by insurance companies that have minor damage to them.
Some auto body shop owners used to buy those vehicles, fix what was wrong and then drive them until they found a better car to rebuild. The price is right but the cost of repairs needs to be taken into account.
This is not a difficult process and the rules you have to follow will depend on the state you live in. The following steps apply to more than just one state and the first step would be to go to your local DMV and ask for an application form.
The following steps may need to be taken, depending on which state you live in:
- Declare your vehicle salvage or have it declared by your insurer.
- Fill out the corresponding salvage title application form.
- Collect the existing vehicle title and any lien release forms, if applicable.
- Arrange payment for the applicable titling fee.
- Deliver the above items in person through a DMV office or mail them to the corresponding address. (source)
Also, your process may not be the same as the process that your insurance company has to follow. But again, that is up to the individual state’s DMV office.
Because of the stigma that comes with a salvage title, sometime sit is better to just part the RV or camper out and make a little money. This works well if your RV or camper is a vintage model that is no longer made.
There are always vintage owners looking for good parts.
No. When the salvage title is given to a camper or even a drivable RV, that label is saying that those vehicles are unfit to drive on public roads. They are also illegal to drive on public roads.
When given that status you cannot drive a vehicle with a salvage title or get it licensed. The same applies to the trailers or campers. What needs to be done to get a license is to have a licensed auto body, mechanics and other specialists rebuild the camper.
Then there is a process you need to go through to show that the camper has been modified properly, is safe to use on the roads, and meets all legal standards. Once that is done, then you can get a rebuilt title and use the camper and tow it on public roads.
However, even with a rebuilt title, you may have to go to those insurance companies that offer policies on the lower end of the scale to get insurance coverage.
Expect their premiums to be high as the lower you go the higher the premiums. The process you may need to go through to get the insurance company on board is:
- A certified mechanic’s declaration: In which he declares that the vehicle has been properly fixed, verified, and tested.
- Photos/ videos of your vehicle: Take a look at your vehicle and see whether it is roadworthy.
- Your vehicle’s repair assessment: Provides all the details about the damages that occurred to your vehicle and all the modifications that it has gone through. (source)
But check with different insurance companies to see what they will require.
This will also depend on the state you live in. For example, Nevada requires that you rebuild the camper, RV, or other vehicles that have a salvage title to them before you sell them to another private buyer.
It is possible to sell campers, RVs, and vehicles with a salvage title. You won’t get a lot of money for them but it is something to consider. The key is to disclose everything about the camper, etc. when you place your ads.
You need to say it is a junked camper, has a salvage title, and so on. Having a list of what is wrong is also required as you must disclose those defects to the potential buyer.
Then there are websites that specialize in helping owners of salvage title vehicles, etc., and they will give you tips on how to market yours. Make sure it is cleaned up as clean damaged goods sell better than dirty ones.
You will have to disclose the accurate odometer reading as well. Rolling back the odometer is considered an illegal act. Make sure to have the title on hand and any records or warranties that pertain to the camper, etc.
Those include the state’s bill of sale and inspection certificates if they apply. Your target audience will be budget hunters as well as mechanics looking for a project to work on or spare parts to use.
This is not going to be very high. We checked one auction house that deals with campers and RVs that come with a salvage title and you are not going to like the prices these vehicles get.
The website is called Salvagebid and one fairly nice-looking trailer had a bid on it for $25. That was a 5th wheel trailer called a 2005 Pilgrim Open Road. A 1998 P30 Chevrolet RV has a bid of $550 and it is missing its wheels.
The auction house stated that it was rebuildable. A 1999 Coleman pop-up had a bid for $50. What this should tell you is that you are not going to get a lot of money when your camper, etc., comes with a salvage title.
Buyers will know it is a salvage title because of the color. Some states have a blue color for this status while Nevada’s is orange. You can search around for other websites to look at but the story should be the same.
We did see some offers for RVs and trailers hitting several thousand dollars but they were in much better condition. The damage is listed in the main ad and one with some rear damage had a bid for about $5000.
This is for a 2018 Grand Design Image 2600RB. There is little to no value to these campers and RVs because they can be costly to repair, insurance and get a new rebuilt title for them
This is not going to be a problem if you have the money to cover the low cost. That is just referring to the sales price. Your problems will start when you try to insure the vehicle or trailer and get permission to move it from one location to another.
Vehicles & trailers with a salvage title are not legally allowed to be driven or towed on public roads. You will have to make arrangements to get the vehicle to your property. That will incur some costs. Talk to your local state offices to get all the details on how to do this.
Here are some of the risks involved when you try to buy a camper, etc., with a salvage title:
1. higher than expected repair costs
2. very few vehicle options
3. Poor resale value- that salvage title stigma follows the camper, etc., no matter what.
4. No insurance coverage until the camper, etc., is roadworthy
5. camper, etc., may not be reliable
These are all issues you have to look at before you buy. If your insurance agent is a friend, they may try to help or they just may be totally honest with you and say insurance coverage can’t be done.
The benefit of paying next to nothing for a camper may not balance these scales enough to make it worth buying a camper with a salvage title.
There may be exceptions to the rule but generally, the answer is no you can’t. To have the trailer or RV insured, they must be roadworthy. Even if you could insure them, the payout may be a lot less than you would expect.
One aspect of this issue would be applied to the insurance company. They may not be able to determine if the cause of the damage of the accident was due to prior damage that got the salvage title in the first place or anything new you may have done to the trailer to get it roadworthy.
This is something you have to discuss with your insurance agent. They will outline all their company’s requirements before they can safely insure your salvaged trailer, etc.
Also, you will have to get a different title once the trailer, etc., is roadworthy. That will make insuring the trailer, etc., a little easier as the state would have had it inspected by a certified mechanic or approved repair shop.
Even if you do this, some insurance companies will not insure a camper, etc., if it is been deemed unsalvageable by other insurance companies. They will view it as too much of a risk.
We did not get into this in the last section but even if you could insure your camper or RV when it has a salvage title, the premiums may be too expensive. When you compare the cost of the insurance premiums, it may be cheaper to buy a used RV that has not been damaged or totaled.
Then keep in mind that you cannot register a salvage title and get a license for it. Unless some states have different rules, the only way to get that camper or RV legal for the road is to repair it, get it inspected, and then receive a rebuilt title.
So insurance is not a priority when you own an RV with a salvage title. You can’t drive so you cannot insure it for driving. These are the type of little details you need to investigate first before you make your first bid on an RV with a salvage title.
Your state may have different rules so talk to them at length to see all that is required before you take that first step.
If the seller is honest, they will obey the laws of the state they live in. Most states have or should have laws governing the sale of salvage vehicles and campers.
Those laws state that the seller must disclose all that is wrong with the vehicle or camper before they can legally sell it. They must also disclose the fact that either item has a salvage title.
Before you buy, you can do a title search if you suspect that the seller is hiding something. The search should produce the history of the vehicle and if it was in an accident and written off by the insurance company.
Oh and be careful of any seller who claims the title has been cleaned. That is illegal to say as you cannot clean a salvage label. Even if they give you a certificate that the title is clean, that is an act of fraud on the part of the seller.
The salvage stigma stays with the vehicle forever. Rebuilt titles are a different topic and that is what you will need to receive if a seller has fixed up a rebuilt trailer or RV, etc.
Be careful as some sellers will take advantage of your ignorance of the law to sell you junk at a used car price.
We have already linked to one website that sells or auctions RVs and trailers that have a salvage title. And a superficial internet search will produce many more websites that do the same thing.
Since there are millions of RVs and campers on the road, selling salvaged RVs & trailers has become big business. Just use this sub-section’s heading to get to those results.
You will have more websites to look at than you probably have time for. If you are looking for parts to sell, those websites would be a great place to look to help your business.
Or if you need parts for your current trailer or RV, these outlets are great for that as well. Plus, you may stumble across a great deal and the purchase price and repair costs are less than buying the same trailer used.
You never know what you will find at these salvage businesses. Plus, if you have a salvage vehicle, you can save on your taxes by donating it to charities that handle those types of vehicles.
While the salvage title can be a stigma, it can also be turned into something good. That is if you know your way around the salvage vehicle industry. It is not as bad as the insurance companies make it out to be.
But be wary of those sellers who say the title has been cleaned. It hasn’t and never will be. There is opportunity here for all sides of the salvage title topic. You just have to look for them and use them in the best way possible.