Salvaged And Water Damaged Car Titles

We receive a lot of calls about salvaged and water damaged vehicles, so we thought this quick primer on Kentucky law would be helpful.

Kentucky law provides that purchasers are entitled to know if the vehicle they buy has sustained prior severe damage.  The required method for doing so is a designation on the vehicle’s car title that it has previously sustained severe damage or has been rebuilt after being declared “salvaged” or “water damaged.”  Vehicle owners, including dealerships, are required to obtain a “salvage” title when a vehicle has been damaged to the extent that the total estimated or actual cost of parts and labor to rebuild or reconstruct the vehicle to its preaccident condition and for legal operation exceeds seventy-five percent (75%) of the vehicle’s retail value.  Vehicle owners and dealerships are required to obtain a “water damaged” title when a motor vehicle has been submerged at any water level above the dashboard of the vehicle, regardless of the actual dollar amount of the damage. When an out of state salvaged or water damaged vehicle is registered in Kentucky, the owner is required to obtain a salvage title.

If you buy a car that has a salvaged or water damaged title, the dealer is required to notify you.   Failure to do so may constitute a Class A misdemeanor and might subject the dealer to claims for fraud and violations of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act.  And if a dealer withholds such a title until after a car loan is satisfied, the liability may be more severe.

If you have unknowingly purchased a salvaged or water damaged vehicle, please give us a call.

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