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Georgia Auto Salvage Title Laws

By Butler Prather LLP on April 8, 2020

There are times when a vehicle is declared a total loss due to a car crash in Atlanta or some other incident. When this happens, it will be considered a “salvage” vehicle. A vehicle with a salvage title in Georgia cannot be driven on the roadways legally. Anybody who plans to keep or purchase a salvage vehicle in Georgia needs to understand what the process is to get that vehicle roadworthy if they wish to do so.

Georgia Auto Salvage Title Laws

What is a salvage vehicle in Georgia?

There are various ways that a vehicle gets damaged. The most obvious of these is a collision, but a vehicle can also be heavily damaged due to flooding, theft, fire, and hail. After a vehicle sustains damage, the owner will typically file an insurance claim. However, if the repair costs for the vehicle will be more than 75% of the vehicle’s actual cash value, then it will be considered a total loss. If a car is totaled, the owner will receive a replacement at the estimated value, and the insurance company will declare the vehicle salvaged.

Requirements for rebuilding a salvage vehicle in Georgia

If a vehicle is declared salvage, it is allowed to be bought and sold but cannot yet be legally driven. However, there is a way to repair a salvage vehicle and have a “rebuilt” or “restored” title issued. For this to happen, the vehicle must pass a Georgia Motor Vehicle Division Inspection and must have a new Georgia license plate issued and installed.

In order to rebuild a salvage vehicle, the owner must:

  • Obtain photographs of the vehicle in its damaged condition. These photographs will need to accompany the application for a “rebuilt” or “restored” title.
  • Retain and submit auto parts bills of sale for every part used to restore the vehicle. The bills of sale must show that you or the vehicle re-builder were the purchasers of the parts.
  • Apply for a “rebuilt” title and inspection by the state Motor Vehicle Division Inspection after the vehicle has been restored, but before the vehicle is painted.
  • Submit a check or money order for the total fees due, payable to the Department of Revenue. The title fee is $18.00, and the inspection fee is $100.

Can I insure a salvaged vehicle in Georgia?

As mentioned above, it is not legal to drive a salvage vehicle on Georgia roadways. Because you will not be able to get a tag or license plate, you cannot get insurance coverage for a salvage vehicle. However, after the vehicle passes the rebuilding inspection and a new license plate is issued, it is impossible to get insurance coverage. Insurance companies will typically want to see proof of repairs and the inspection reports.

Many insurance carriers will not offer complete coverage for a salvage vehicle. It is more likely that the insurance carriers will offer liability coverage, which will be enough to make the vehicle legally drivable in Georgia. The minimum auto insurance requirements for Georgia are as follows:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of one person in an accident you cause
  • $50,000 for total injuries or deaths of more than one person in an accident you cause
  • $25,000 for property damage resulting from an accident you cause

While it is unlikely that insurance carriers will offer collision or comprehensive coverage for repairs to your vehicle, you should still shop around to various insurance carriers to get the best deal possible.

Call our Atlanta personal injury lawyers today.

Posted in: Car Accidents

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