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Legislation to arm used car buyers with information receives bipartisan support

A solution may be at hand to the ongoing issue of salvage titles via a bill that aims to increase transparency in the used car market.

Approved 16-0 Thursday by the House Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, HF3296, as amended, would change the state’s salvage vehicle title laws to prevent older and cheaper damaged cars from going through a sale with a clean title. Dealers would be required to inform potential buyers of known past damage.

Sponsored by Rep. Cheryl Youakim (DFL-Hopkins), the bill’s next stop is the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee.

The proposal grew out of recommendations from the Salvage Title Task Force.

Along with disclosure requirements, the bill would treat in-state and out-of-state vehicles consistently, including commercial vehicles and motorcycles.

An issue with salvage vehicles is that the term applies when repair costs exceed a percentage of the vehicle’s repair costs — $6,000 cars cross the threshold more easily whether the damage is cosmetic or a safety issue.

The proposed legislation would require disclosures to help consumers as they consider buying damaged, yet roadworthy, vehicles, Youakim said.

“More importantly it ensures the agreement between auto insurers and repair shops related to high value and late model cars remains a viable definition of a salvaged vehicle while at the same time providing clarity for vehicles falling outside that measure,” she said.

Sen. John Jasinski (R-Faribault) sponsors the companion, SF3072, which awaits action by the Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee.


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