Author Topic: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?  (Read 369 times)

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Offline GerryG

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Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« on: April 23, 2019, 02:18:37 pm »
Hi all

I got rear ended a month or so ago and insurance finally came through. They estimate over $3,000 to fix the bike, I think more like $300 (there's really not much damage but they quoted 2 bags at $895 each).
So I've taken the option to get the money and keep the bike and now I have to register it as salvage.

Question, has anyone done this in California? I'm wondering how long this takes.

From what I understand, I send off the forms and my license plates and they send me a salvage certificate. Then I get a test for lights and brakes and get the DMV or CHP to inspect the bike and then I apply to the DMV for a rebuilt salvage certificate to put it back on the road. In between all of this I don't think I can legally use the bike.

As this is my daily commuter, has anyone been through this and have an idea on how long it takes? If it's going to be a month or more I'll end up buying another bike, fixing this one and then selling which ever one I like less.

Thanks

Gerry

Offline GerryG

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 08:00:12 pm »
Just to update this, I got to the DMV and I get to keep my bike on the road. Everything I had read on the internet said I had to surrender my plates and then tow the bike to CHP and a brake and light test to get it inspected before I got it back on the road.

At the DMV they said no, I can keep my plates and use the bike, but I still have to do the brake and light test (at a Kawasaki dealer which is fine, I'm due an overpriced oil change anyway) and the CHP inspection (make sure the new brake light lens I bought isn't stolen). Then I bring this back to the DMV and get a Rebuilt certificate.

Cost at the DMV was $92.

I'll update again after the tests.

Offline DC Concours

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2019, 02:52:43 am »
This is very different from many other states. Once a vehicle is declared salvage by a insurance co or police it cannot be legally driven on the streets till the state police/dmv has inspected it and deemed it road worthy again. This is a lengthy inspection. Not just a brake light test. And even then it is usually re-branded as rebuilt. I don't think your bike was actually salvaged.

Plus, California and the hippies there are very strict about stuff like this.

Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2019, 04:07:44 am »
cosmetic damage to a motorcycle is not deemed a "bonifide" reason to declare a bike as in a state "requiring a salvage title", legally, and by any DMV standards, cosmetic issues are moot.. an insurance company in any state, cannot deem the bike "unrideable" unless strict and thorough examinations proves structural, and mechanical safety issues.. simply put.. broken plastic is not cause, or supportable, to issue this bike as a "wreck"... layman's terms, don't agree, or sign salvage paperwork, accept the bike, get it back, and deal with it on a lessor settlement.. hell, add in the scuffs on your helmet, and gear, and make them sweat that part out.. while you complain about the nagging back pain, you are experiencing..

the less you say to the insurance company, the better off you are.. contact an attorney, and do a reduced priced ( fixed rate) terms of discovery investigation, and compromising offset value report.  take th bags outta the report, they don't have a thing to do with the bike operating, and running, and meeting DMV approval.

I hate west coast lawyers, and west coast insurance..... just saying.

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and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline RenMannV

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2019, 05:41:55 am »
Yeah. while still in SoCal my insurance company wanted to total my bike when I high-sided and gave me an option to keep it as a salvage title.  Only mechanical or structural damage I could find was a nickel size hole in the radiator, everything else was plastics and accessories.  Still hadn't settled over a year later when I had to move to E.Tenn. and help Mum care for Pops (Alzheimers).  Accident was 10.5 yrs ago.  Things got put on the back burner and a settlement was never reached.  Still have the bike (not repaired and now up for sale) and a clean title.  :-/
RenMannV, formerly SoCal, now E-TN - formerly COG #6552, CDA #0254  94 Shadow VLX- "Lamont" (Given to me, given to a friend)  97 Concours, close to stock- "Bucephalus"  02 Concours, w/ too many farkles to list- "Rocinante" (Wounded!)

Offline bajasam

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2019, 01:22:39 pm »
Salvage titles have nothing to do with the safe condition of your vehicle and most DMV regs realize that insurer's are only totaling a vehicle for one reason only. the cost to repair exceeds the value of the vehicle.most dmv's out west are very lax and easy going on getting your salvaged vehicle back on the road for this reason. ive never delt with back east laws as their kinda odd back there..........lol

Offline DC Concours

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2019, 07:49:27 pm »
Just for sh!ts, contact the insurance company and ask them to redo the case (if you have more time now).

Yeah. while still in SoCal my insurance company wanted to total my bike when I high-sided and gave me an option to keep it as a salvage title.  Only mechanical or structural damage I could find was a nickel size hole in the radiator, everything else was plastics and accessories.  Still hadn't settled over a year later when I had to move to E.Tenn. and help Mum care for Pops (Alzheimers).  Accident was 10.5 yrs ago.  Things got put on the back burner and a settlement was never reached.  Still have the bike (not repaired and now up for sale) and a clean title.  :-/

Offline DC Concours

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2019, 07:58:24 pm »

Why?


I hate west coast lawyers, and west coast insurance..... just saying.


Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2019, 09:24:40 pm »

Why?


I hate west coast lawyers, and west coast insurance..... just saying.


I'm married to an east coast ex-lawyer..... :)) :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

30 YEARS OF KAW.....Rich R. (the other one..)  COG 5977  JUSTAMEMBAHNOW
and if you are gonna call me names... it's MR. Analdweeb if you please...

Offline GerryG

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 01:37:13 am »
It was salvage, the insurance company settled, gave me a cheque and I had 10 days to register it as salvage. They figured it was ~$3000 to fix and worth about $2800. Everything I read said that once I did this I would be unable to ride it until I got a new Rebuilt title so I was happily surprised when the guy at the DMV told me I could keep the plates and ride off.

I will still have to do the CHP test which can be lengthy as they check each replacement part to see it's not stolen. In my case I'm saying I don't need luggage so the only part for them to check is 1 tail light lens. Should be fast.

Then the Kawasaki dealer to make sure the lights work and back to the DMV and I get a rebuilt title.

For the luggage I've already ordered the rails for the side cases and can live with the minor scratches on the cases.

I was happy enough with the insurance, they got me the cheque pretty quickly and there was no damage to any other gear since I didn't fall off or drop the bike. In the end I expect to have the bike back on the road as it was but with the added extra of a top case and over $2k in my pocket. Winner.

Gerry

Offline SantaCruzRider

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2019, 02:04:37 am »
Good info and great to hear it's fairly straightforward.
Dan Breeden
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Offline Bob_C_CT

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2019, 10:48:06 am »
Sometimes you can let the adjuster know you are intending to keep the bike and fixing it (if it isn't much more then plastics).The claim comes in just under total value. Saves you from buying the totaled bike back from the insurance co. Knowing used parts are far less expensive then leaves you room to fix up the bike and not have to deal with a branded title.
97 C10,ZRX Front, Meanstreak rim

Offline GerryG

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Re: Anyone gone through getting a salvage title in California?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2019, 07:23:30 pm »
An update to all of this. (TL:DR at the end)

I've finished getting the title fixed and there's not a lot of info online so here's what happened.

It looked like I wouldn't be able to ride the bike and I had to surrender the plates. This is from all I could find online. This is not true. If your tags are current, you can ride the bike.

I went to the DMV to get thye paperwork started and they told me I could ride the bike as long as it was registered but I needed to go to the CHP for an inspection and to get a brake and lamp cert. It took 6 weeks to get a CHP appointment and when I got there the guy told me there was no need. I could have just taken the bike to the DMV and have them check it as all he was doing was looking at the chassis number and checking it matches the title. As there's nothing big involved (the number is visible in front of the tank, no need to remove anything), they can do this at the DMV.
I had to call a few places to get the brake and lamp check done for a motorcycle. I eneded up in El Smog in San Fernando. For the test he had me take the bike up to 20 mph and then stop it. Also he looked at my brake pads with a flashlight and checked headlights, low beams, brake and tail lights and all blinkers. He also put it in front of some device with a mirror / lens. I think this is to check that your headlight is at the right angle so it points far enough ahead on the road and also isn't too high to blind oncoming traffic.
This is a fixed price of ~$87.
Back to the DMV and gave them my plates and they gave me new ones there and then.


TL:DR

What I learned;

If your registration is current, ride the bike to the DMV. Don't let them send you to the CHP for an inspection, they can verify the number on the frame matches your title.
Call around and get a brake and light check for a motorcycle. Make sure all your lights work, your headlight is set at the right angle and make sure your brakes are good.


Overall it was pretty easy, much easier than everything I read online about it.
Hope this helps someone.