Motor Vehicles Salvage Titles

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CA Salvage Certificate

Once a total loss settlement has been agreed upon, the insurance company (or its representative Salvage Pool) or the owner of the car must apply for Salvage Certificate within 10 days.

To apply for a Salvage Certificate, submit the following to the DMV:

  • A completed Application for Salvage Certificate or Non-repairable Vehicle Certificate (Form 488C).
  • Proof of ownership with a properly endorsed:
    • Certificate of title.
    • Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (Form REG 227).
      • NOTE: If proof of ownership is unavailable, in this case, the insurance company can apply for the Salvage Certificate.
  • Any available bills of sale.
  • Odometer disclosure (if there is no room on the title certificate).
  • License plates.
    • If you don’t have them, provide an explanation of the application.
  • Vehicle verification, IF the title, is from out of state.
  • Payment for the $20 Salvage Certificate fee.

NOTE: As shown above, you will need a salvage certificate. Important to realize, the Salvage Certificate can only be assigned to the insurance company of the owner or the car. Transfer of ownership can be executed on the Salvage Certificate once received.

Exemptions to salvage

Other vehicles that are exempt from the salvage process include:

To register a salvaged car in CA, you will need:

  • A completed Application for Title or Registration (Form REG 343), signed by all owners.
    • Incorporate the cost of labor into the vehicle cost—even if the labor was performed by you.
  • Proof of vehicle ownership, to include:
    • A Salvage Certificate OR an Application for Salvage Certificate (Form REG 488C), completed and/or submitted with/within:
      • 10 days of the settlement with your insurance company.
      • A Statement of Facts (Form REG 256).
      • The $2 record collection fee.
    • The vehicle title OR an Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (Form REG 227).
  • EITHER a completed:
    • Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment (Form REG 262), IF you need to submit an odometer reading.
      • Pick this up at your DMV office.


  • Bill of Sale (Form REG 135) AND Power of Attorney (Form REG 260), if you do not.
  • A vehicle inspection performed by either:
    • The California DMV, using a Verification of Vehicle (Form REG 31).OR
    • The California Highway Patrol (CHP), using a CHP Certification of Inspection (Form CHP 97C).
  • An official Brake and Light Adjustment Certificate from a licensed repair shop. See below for more information.
  • The appropriate fees (listed below).

Non-Salvage Rebuilt Vehicles

Certificate of Inspection for Rebuilt Vehicles (Not Salvage) – (VP 064A)

Vehicles which have had certain repairs must be titled as Rebuilt even if they do not meet the definition of a salvage vehicle. This applies to any vehicle that has had one or more of the following major components replaced:

  • Cowl assembly;
  • Rear clip assembly;
  • Roof assembly;
  • Floor pan assembly;
  • Conventional frame coupled with one additional major component
  • Complete front inner structure for a unibody

These vehicles must be inspected by a licensed garage or body shop and the DMV using the Certificate of Inspection for Rebuilt Vehicles (Not Salvage). The existing title must be surrendered to the DMV, which will issue a title branded "Rebuilt".

A vehicle for which the only change is the installation of a truck cab assembly is not considered a rebuilt or salvage vehicle.

Out of state salvage titles

All out-of-state salvage vehicles, regardless of the vehicle’s year of manufacture, must pass a salvage inspection before they can be registered or titled in Massachusetts.

Inspections by authorities in other states will not be honored in Massachusetts unless a prior agreement between the other state and Massachusetts exists. All Salvaged Titles vehicles must be inspected in Massachusetts if they are to be registered in Massachusetts.

If the vehicle with an out of state salvage title is purchased by an individual, it is the responsibility of the purchaser to obtain a Salvage Title in their name prior to the Salvage Inspection process.

New York and Connecticut Salvage Certificates

If a Massachusetts resident or licensed dealer purchases a vehicle that has a New York Salvage Certificate (907A Form) or Connecticut Salvage Certificate, he/she must apply for a Massachusetts Salvage Title prior to selling the vehicle or bringing the vehicle for a salvage inspection.