A salvage vehicle is a automobile that has been declared a total loss from fire, vandalism, collision, theft or flood. The Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle explains:
“When an insurance company retains the salvaged/wrecked vehicle in settlement of a “total loss” claim, the insurance company must apply for a Salvage title in their name within thirty- (30) days of the date of the insurance settlement when the vehicle requires a Georgia title. Click here to see if the vehicle requires a title. To apply for a salvage title, the insurance company should submit the following to this Department’s Salvage Unit together.”
Sometimes notwithstanding that designation, the salvage vehicle may be purchased from an insurer, repaired, and then resold. The title should bear the words salvage title. A purchaser of a vehicle with undisclosed salvage title may have legal rights.
Claims Against the Used Car Dealer
He may first have a claim for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-2. That law prohibits misrepresentation or knowing concealment of a material fact. Secondly the Uniform Commercial Code provides for an implied warranty that goods are reasonably fit. Unless the vehicle was sold as-is, that implied warranty may be violated. Thirdly, other federal and state disclosure laws may be impacted such as the used car lemon law, FTC disclosure rules and others.
Secondly, there are potential claim against other in the chain of title. The insurance company may have failed to properly label the vehicle.
We offer a free consultation on New Jersey and New York salvage vehicle title claims.
FREE CONSULTATION ON YOUR SALVAGE VEHICLE CLAIM CALL (973) 598-1980
Motor Vehicle Commission
SALVAGE VEHICLE INFORMATION WHAT TO DO AFTER A SALVAGE TITLE IS ISSUED
STATE OF NEW YORK OPINIONS
STATE OF NEW YORK
25 BEAVER STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10004
The Office of General Counsel has issued the following informal opinion on February 16, 2000 representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Salvage Vehicle Branding
May an insurer take possession of and title to a vehicle which it declared to be a total loss where the cost to repair was less than 75% of the vehicle’s cash value without obtaining a “REBUILT SALVAGE” branded title or does it have to forward the title to the Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) for processing and branding?
The Insurance Department’s Regulation in this area (N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, §216.7(b)(16)(1999)) does not apply to the situation described in the fact pattern. However, the insurer must forward the title to DMV for processing and branding. It was suggested that the party refer the question to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Title Services Bureau, Empire State Plaza, Albany, N.Y. 12228, which is responsible for processing and branding titles.
An insured had a 1999 Saab automobile with an actual cash value of $28,000. The vehicle received damage in a collision totaling $16,800 (60% of the vehicle’s cash value). The insurer chose to consider the vehicle a total loss. It retained the vehicle and its title and paid the insured to settle the claim.
The subject party is concerned that the insurer may sell the totaled vehicle at a higher price with a clean title after having rebuilt it.
N.Y. Comp. Codes R. Regs. tit. 11, §216.7(b)(16) concerns salvage vehicle branding and applies to losses where the cost to repair the damaged vehicle exceeds 75% of the vehicle’s actual cash value. Since in this example, the cost to repair was less (60%), Section 216.7(b)(16) does not apply. Last year, DMV promulgated an amendment to its Regulation in N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 15, §20.20 (1999), setting forth three situations in which title to a damaged vehicle must be branded “REBUILT SALVAGE”. One situation provides that title must be branded where there is a total loss. The insurer is required to notify DMV when there is a total loss and the insurer would file a salvage certificate (form MV-907A).
According to DMV’s Regulatory Impact Statement, as published on page 16 of the December 9, 1998 edition of New York State Register, the legislative objective of those N.Y. Vehicle and Traffic Law statutes and concomitant DMV regulations that concern titles of motor vehicles is that such titles must contain full and accurate information about the status and condition of the vehicle. B