Bill would alter rules on salvages

The Colorado Senate gave preliminary approval Monday to a bill that would do away with an exemption on when totaled vehicles can be issued salvage titles.

Sen. Nancy Todd, the Senate sponsor of HB1299, said Colorado has become a state where totaled vehicles that have been repaired are being sent for resale to unsuspecting consumers because other states would deem them salvage.

That designation, not always known by such vehicle-monitoring services as CarFax or AutoCheck, usually means a vehicle is worth less and automobile insurance is difficult, if not impossible to obtain, proponents of the measure say.

“Colorado has become a title-washing state, and consumers are purchasing vehicles that should otherwise be deemed salvage,” the Aurora Democrat said. “If a Colorado consumer purchases a salvage-qualified vehicle that is six model years or older, they will not know that the vehicle is a salvage vehicle, including a flood vehicle, because those vehicles are exempt under current law.”

While the measure has ridden through the Colorado Legislature with few obstacles in its path, some lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have opposed it for various reasons.

Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, said some motorists want to keep their totaled vehicles because the damage doesn’t mean they are unsafe to drive. It just means their insurance companies wouldn’t repair them because that cost exceeded their fair market value.

Sen. George Rivera, R-Pueblo, added that some automobile owners just can’t afford to buy new vehicles, and the bill would make them do so.

“I believe that this particular bill actually hurts the people in that low-income bracket that we don’t need to be hurting,” Rivera said. “We’re looking at folks that, because of this economy, things are tough for them. Why do we want to handicap them even more?”

He said vehicles damaged in floods don’t need the protection the bill would offer because they are covered under another measure, HB1100, that was approved by the Legislature late last month and awaits approval by the governor.


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