Applying for a Montana salvage title with the Vehicle Services Bureau (VSB) of the state Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is an important step for motorists whose vehicles have recently sustained heavy damages. Note that the VSB car salvage certificate is only available for motor vehicles that meet the definition of salvage vehicles. Insurers and vehicles owners often brand their vehicles as salvage when the costs to repair them exceed their actual value before the damages.

After buying a salvage title car owners can choose to either sell the vehicle or rebuild it to operable status. If the motor vehicle is restored properly, the owner can then apply for a rebuilt title and relicense it for standard road operations. In such cases, however, the vehicle will have to pass the corresponding inspection procedure through an approved inspection station. Learn more about the state salvage and rebuilt titles in the following sections.

What is a Montana salvage title?

The Montana car salvage title is a special type of title certificate issued for purposes of cataloging all motor vehicles that cannot be legally or safely operated on public roads due to the damages they have sustained. Note that both the vehicle owner and his or her auto insurance company can certify that repairing the vehicle is uneconomical.

The brand applied to your MT salvage vehicle title, however, may vary depending on factors, such as the source of the damage and whether or not the vehicle is repairable. For example, if the vehicle was disposed of due to extensive damages, the title certificate may be branded as crushed or junk, which will disqualify it from obtaining a new car registration certificate. If your vehicle was recently stolen but recovered, on the other hand, it will receive a recovered theft title.

Montana Salvage Title Eligibility Requirements

The state VSB will issue a salvage certificate in Montana only for motor vehicles that meet the requirements to be branded salvage vehicles. To be eligible for a salvage title, the vehicle must have been damaged by flood, fire, collision, accident or other occurrences to the point that the damages it has sustained make it uneconomical to repair it. Note that the bureau will issue such a title only if the motor vehicle is newer than 15 model years. While the determination that the vehicle is salvage is often made by the insurer when settling the damages with the vehicle owner, the owner can also make the same certification if he or she is self-insured.

How to Get a Salvage Title in Montana

If you would like to know how to get a salvage title in Montana, note that the application process may vary to a certain degree depending on several factors, such as the vehicle age and whether or not you are the original vehicle owner. To complete the standard application process for a salvage title, complete the following steps:

  1. Have your insurer fill out the Notice of Total-Loss Payoff “Owner-Retained Salvage Vehicle” (Form MV205) and mail it to the state VSB.
  2. Visit the county treasurer’s office in your county of residence.
  3. Complete the Application for Salvage Certificate of a Vehicle (Form MV206).
  4. Submit the existing title, if the motor vehicle is newer than five years.
  5. Provide a lien release form and/or an odometer statement, if applicable.
  6. Pay the applicable titling fee.

Once the bureau processes your MT vehicle salvage title request, it will produce and issue your salvage certificate. If your insurance company acquires possession of your vehicle, on the other hand, it will be responsible for getting a salvage car title. Note that if an insurer fails to obtain a salvage certificate before selling a salvage vehicle, it will have to fill out the VSB Salvage Receipt (Form MV203) and deliver it to the vehicle purchaser.

Salvage Car Inspections in Montana

Submitting your motor vehicle to a salvage vehicle inspection in Montana is not a mandatory step when applying for a salvage title. However, if you plan on obtaining a rebuilt salvage title after restoring your vehicle, you will have to deliver your motor vehicle to an approved inspection station as part of the application process. Before applying for a salvage car inspection, you can also utilize the option to obtain a temporary registration permit, which will allow you to legally operate your motor vehicle until you title and register it.

Depending on the vehicle age, you will be required to complete either a Stage II or a Stage III vehicle identification number inspection. You can schedule both Stage II and Stage III inspection. The scheduling methods are available via the division’s website. To finalize the inspection procedure when getting a rebuilt title in MT, you will have to provide your salvage certificate and the bills of sale and receipts of all parts used to rebuild the motor vehicle.

Once your vehicle passes scrutiny, you can take the Vehicle Identification Number Inspection Certificate (Form MV20) along with the above paperwork to your county treasurer to apply for new vehicle documents.

Montana Salvage Title Fees

To successfully obtain a Montana salvage certificate or a restored vehicle title, you will have to pay several types of fees. The standard cost of a salvage certificate of title is currently set at $5. However, if you are applying for a salvage title after obtaining the vehicle from an insurer, you will have to pay a fee of $5.15 for the Salvage Receipt.

If you later restore the vehicle to operable status and choose to apply for a rebuilt title in MT, you will have to pay additional fees, including an $18.50 for the vehicle inspection, a $10 standard title fee and the applicable registration costs.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.