Driving a car with a salvage certificate of title is like rescuing a car. It takes a lot of work to re-register.
First: what is a salvage title car?
There are different types of salvage vehicles defined by the California DMV:
Salvage Vehicle – Has been destroyed or damaged in such a way that it is considered too expensive to repair.
Resurrected Salvage: A salvage vehicle that has been repaired and registered.
Junk Car: A car that has been reported to the DMV as dismantled.
The official definitions are slightly different, the process for re-registering and titling a scrapped car is similar to titling and re-registering a salvaged car. The differences will be explained below.
CA Recovery Certificate
Once a total loss settlement has been agreed, the insurance company (or its Salvage Pool representative) or the car owner must request the Certificate of Recovery within 10 days.
To request a Salvage Certificate, you must send:
A completed Application for Certificate of Rescue or Certificate of Non-Repairable Vehicle (Reg Form 488C).
Proof of ownership with appropriate endorsement: Certificate of title.
Duplicate or paperless title application (REG 227 form).
Any available bill of sale.
Odometer certification (if there is no space on the certificate of title).
Plates. If you don’t have them, please provide an explanation on the application.
Vehicle verification, if the title is from out of state.
Payment of the $21 certificate of recovery fee.
Registering a salvage car in California
To register a salvaged car in CA, you will need All the following:
A completed Application for Title or Registration (Form REG 343), signed by all owners.
Incorporate the cost of labor into the cost of the vehicle, even if the labor was performed by you.
Proof of vehicle ownership, to include: A Salvage Certificate or Salvage Certificate Application (Reg Form 488C), completed and / or submitted with/within 10 days of agreement with your insurance company.
A statement of facts (form REG 256).
The $2 collection fee.
The vehicle title OR an application for the duplicate or paperless title (form REG 227).
Vehicle / Vessel Transfer and Reassignment (REG 262 form), if you need to submit an odometer reading. Pick this up at your DMV office. Or the bill of sale (form REG 135) AND the power of attorney (form REG 260), if you don’t.
A vehicle inspection performed by the California DMV, using a Vehicle Verification (Form REG 31) or the California Highway Patrol (CHP), using a CHP Inspection Certification (Form CHP 97C).
An official certificate of brake and light adjustment from an authorized repair shop. See below for more information.
The appropriate fees (listed below).
If you re-register an abandoned car, you will need an application for title or registration (REG 343 form).
Sales invoice (form REG 135).
Power of attorney (form REG 260).
An inspection of the vehicle with the DMV or CHP.
The official certificate of adjustment of brakes and lights.
The required fees.
Salvage Certificate Vehicle Inspections
Obtaining your salvage certificate vehicle inspection is a mandatory part of reactivating your vehicle for use in California.
While you’re there, be sure to bring:
Proof of vehicle ownership.
The sales receipt, if applicable.
Receipts for any repairs made to the car.
You will also need to obtain an Official Brake and Light Inspection Certificate from a state-authorized repair shop. Specific vehicles, such as motorcycles and large commercial vehicles, may require a certificate from a specialized workshop. Contact us for more information. This is all a lot of work and very confusing, we know, that’s why you can take what you need from this blog post or you can come to us, we will do it for you.
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