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Q

My car was deemed a total loss but drivable by the insurance company. Is it legal to drive a car that is a total loss? I am in Connecticut


A

According to the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles insurance companies have the authority to declare a vehicle a "total loss", but they are subject to regulation by the State of Connecticut Insurance Department.

If your insurance company has determined that your vehicle is a total loss or the word "Salvage" has been stamped on the title, it is illegal to operate this vehicle upon any road in Connecticut. Technically, the registration on this vehicle has been cancelled. You should have removed the plates from your vehicle.

The DMV is aware of the status of the vehicle, since your insurance company has sent us a copy of the title stamped "Salvage". The registration and plates on the salvaged vehicle can be transferred to another vehicle though if you need to do so.

If you rebuild the salvaged vehicle (parts only; salvages cannot be rebuilt), you must re-title the vehicle. The vehicle cannot, however, be re-titled until it passes a Salvage Inspection. So if the totaled vehicle is drivable and you decide to keep it as part of the settlement process then you will need to get it inspected and approved by the state before driving it.

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You can check out the Salvage Inspection Information Sheet (form B-256), which is available for downloading on the CT DMV site, for additional information.

Once the vehicle passes the salvage inspection, you can re-register the vehicle with the old plates or obtain new plates. You will be issued a new title (without the "Salvage" stamp on it) with the words "Rebuilt" printed on it. Once the salvage inspection is performed, the inspection slip does not expire.

If the title is branded "Salvage Parts Only" or "Salvage Unrebuildable" or "Salvage Unrepairable", the vehicle cannot be registered or re-titled under any circumstances.

If you do keep the vehicle that was declared a total loss and it receives a salvage or rebuilt title then keep in mind it may be difficult to find car insurance to cover it. Many insurance carriers do not want to insure a vehicle with these types of titles, instead preferring to insure vehicles with clean titles.


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