You can get insurance for a salvage motorcycle that you’ve restored to roadworthy status. However, you might find comprehensive or collision coverage hard to get since providers can’t pinpoint the true value of your bike. To get back on the road legally, clear your bike’s rebuild with a certified inspection and then apply for standard or rebuilt title insurance.
What is a salvage title motorcycle?
A salvage title motorcycle means that the bike is declared a total loss after an accident. Insurance companies declare motorcycles a total loss when repairs cost a high percentage of the bike’s value. Typically, providers declare this loss if repairs reach over 50% of the market value. The provider sells the motorcycle to a salvage company who then registers it with a salvage title. If a bike is declared nonrepairable, meaning you can’t legally ride it, you won’t be able to get it insured.
How to get insurance on salavge title motorcycles
Not every provider covers a motorcycle with a salvage or rebuilt title. When you find one that does, you may face these extra steps to acquire a policy:
Get a licensed technician to inspect your car. Because your bike has been declared unrideable, you’ll need to get it approved for the road by a provincially approved inspector. The inspection tests the bike’s mechanics like turning signals, brakes, frame integrity and more.
Obtain a rebuilt motorcycle title. After your bike is safety-approved, you might qualify for a rebuilt title from a local Ministry of Transportation.
Review your provider and coverage options. Consider searching for providers who specify salvage and rebuilt motorcycle coverage or calling providers to ensure that your bike qualifies.
Apply for insurance. Depending on the regulations specified by your province and insurance company, you’ll need your title and registration and possibly an appraisal or emissions test before obtaining a policy.
What kind of coverage do I need?
Some providers limit the coverage you can get to the minimum liability required by your province or territory and may steer clear of protection for physical damage or modified parts. You might find wider protection in specialized providers instead. Coverage you could consider getting include:
Bodily injury liability. Covers injuries you may cause to others in an accident.
Physical damage liability. This is the minimum required coverage for any driver to be on the road. It covers repairs to another vehicle’s damage, not your own.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist. Safeguard your wallet from underinsured drivers who can’t pay your liability expenses.
Medical payments. No matter what your bike looks like, these open-aired rides leave you at higher risk for injuries.
Collision and comprehensive. Some providers don’t allow you to get these coverage types, while others may require an appraisal first.
Agreed value. You may need to initially agree on the amount your bike is worth to receive physical damage coverage.
What should I watch out for with salvage title motorcycles?
Salvage motorcycles could be a great buy, or they may not be worth the money you paid for them. Situations to keep in mind with salvage bikes:
High premiums and low cash value. You may pay the same for insurance as other makes and models similar to your bike. However, settlement after an accident may be less than expected because of your bike’s diminished value.
Natural disasters. Providers may deny salvage bike coverage after a natural disaster. This may be because there’s a higher probability that the bike was damaged due to the natural disaster and not completely repaired afterward.
Buying a lemon. A salvage motorcycle is a risky investment if the bike turns out to have more expensive repairs than the value of undamaged models. Avoid this by doing a cost estimate before buying.
What’s the difference between salvage, rebuilt and non-repairable motorcycles?
The difference between these damaged motorcycles could mean backyard riding or riding on the open road.
Salvage bikes. A salvage motorcycle is one that has been declared a total loss and has not been restored or inspected for street-legal riding.
Rebuilt motorcycles. A rebuilt motorcycle is a bike with a previous salvage title that’s been restored for riding, passed certified safety inspections and received a rebuilt motorcycle title.
Non-repairable bikes. Sometimes insurance companies issue a non-repairable motorcycle title, which limits that bike’s use. Riders who purchase the bike may only use the motorcycle for parts.
Getting insurance on a salvage bike can get tricky because the motorcycle has been declared unfit for the road. To get it approved for the road and for insurance, you might need safety tests, inspections and a rebuilt title to prove its roadworthiness.
Frequently asked questions about salvage title motorcycles
You can confirm that a bike isn’t stolen by entering its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website or asking your local police department to run the VIN for you.
If you have a motorcycle accident that results in a total loss but would like to keep or restore your bike, you’ll need to follow several steps to get a salvage title. If your insurance company has determined your motorcycle is a total loss, you may have to coordinate with your insurer to maintain your vehicle’s title:
Review your provincial or territorial laws. Each province/territory has different laws about keeping total loss vehicles, so you’ll want to confirm that your bike meets any requirements.
Complete a salvage title application. Fill in all necessary details, including personal information, bike and accident details.
Pay your title fees. You’ll have to pay applicable title fees. Your application and fees may be processed by your local Ministry of Transportation.
Get your salvage title. Watch your mailbox to receive your bike’s official salvage title.
Yes, your provider will send you a check for the total loss minus your deductible. The provider may also deduct the amount it would have received from selling the bike to a salvage company.
Sarah George is a writer at Finder who unravels complicated topics about insurance, business and finance. She's been wordsmithing for nearly five years, after earning an English education degree. Her insurance know-how has been featured on CarInsurance.com. You can usually find Sarah sipping hot tea and talking through movie plots in her downtime.
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