Salvage Titles in Virginia

The DMV reserves Virginia salvage title designation for vehicles that have been otherwise deemed totaled by insurance companies, or have had excessive damage due to something monumental, such as flood damage. A Virginia salvage vehicle title is either a declaration by the owner or a declaration by the insurance company. Whether owner or insurance company, both parties must follow the steps to request a salvage title on the vehicle. Learn more about VA salvage titles in the sections outlined below.

What is a salvage certificate?

A salvage certificate in Virginia is given to a vehicle that costs more to repair than it is worth. Damage due to a car accident or an act of nature on a vehicle that totals more than 75 percent of its actual cash value is typically considered a salvage vehicle. Insurance companies often apply for VA salvage certificates when they claim cars are total losses due to claims filed by insured clients, or owners of the vehicles registered in Virginia.

How to Obtain a Virginia Salvage Title for Vehicle Owners

If you own a vehicle titled in Virginia, you may declare the vehicle as salvage and apply for a VA salvage title through the DMV. To apply for a Virginia salvage certificate, use the Salvage Certificate Application (Form VSA 56). A description of the damage, as well as an itemized list of estimated repair costs, must accompany the application form. You will also need to pay the appropriate fees for titling.

Furthermore, you must apply for a Virginia salvage certificate if you are a self-insured or an uninsured owner of a late model vehicle with damage estimated at more than three-quarters of the actual cash value. In this case, the DMV will note on the VA salvage title that the vehicle is “branded if rebuilt.” An independent appraisal firm or an insurance company must issue an itemized list of the estimated cost of repair on official letterhead. This salvage car title report must include the make, model and year of the vehicle, the vehicle identification number (VIN), an itemized account of parts needed to repair or rebuild – with the cost of the parts and if the parts are new or used, total cost for all parts and total costs for all labor. The representative who prepared the report must also sign the appraisal. Download our free, informative guide for more information on how to obtain a salvage title in VA.

How to Obtain a Virginia Salvage Title via Declaration by an Insurance Company

An insurance company must apply for a salvage vehicle title in Virginia if the company takes possession of a late-model vehicle or a non-late model vehicle that has sustained damage. The insurance company must also pay the lienholder or the owner the value of the vehicle. The VA Salvage Certificate Application must be filed within 15 days after the insurer pays the lienholder or owner. In addition, if an insurance company pays a claim for damages and the cost of repair totals more than three-quarters of the actual cash value on a Virginia-titled, late-model vehicle, the insurance company must file a Notification of Owner Retained Late Model Vehicle (Form VSA 58).

If applying for a Virginia salvage certificate when no title is present, the insurance company must also submit a notarized Affidavit in Lieu of Title Certificate (Form VSA 12) to indicate that the company acquired the vehicle due to a claim, and that the company, or its agents, did put forth effort to obtain the title from the previous owner, but were unsuccessful. The insurer must sign the form and attach the associated fees. The agent or company applying for the VA salvage title must mail the VSA 12, application form, related documents and fees to the DMV, as DMV Customer Service Centers do not have authorization to process salvage vehicle title applications.

How to Get a Salvage Title Removed in Virginia

If a vehicle has an active salvage vehicle certificate in Virginia, the DMV will not allow the owner to register it. Furthermore, a vehicle with a salvage title in VA cannot be driven on Virginia roads or highways. If the vehicle is rebuilt and able to pass an examination by the DMV, the owner can drive it again if properly retitled. If the vehicle is rebuilt or repaired, the owner can apply for a new title, in which the DMV changes it to “Repaired” or “Rebuilt.” This label is permanent, and will stay on the title, thereafter. A vehicle with a repaired or rebuilt title status can again be registered, bought, sold, have its title transferred and be driven on Virginia roadways.

To get a Virginia salvage title history changed to a rebuilt title, the DMV must first examine the vehicle. To get an examination, the owner must schedule an appointment. To request an appointment for examination, file an Examination of Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle (Form LES 022A) and mail it to the Department of Motor Vehicles Vehicle Branding Work Center at the same address above with the VA salvage vehicle title in the proper owner’s name and associated fees. Review more information about salvage car titles by downloading our complimentary guide.