The Virginia salvage title is an important type of certificate that must be obtained by owners of motor vehicles that were declared salvage. Note that the car salvage title will be issued to private citizens, auto insurance companies and other legal entities as long as they and their motor vehicles meet all of the state requirements. On the other hand, if the vehicle is considered “nonrepairable,” it will only qualify for a “nonrepairable” title certificate, which will permanently disqualify it from receiving a new title.

Consequently, obtaining a VA rebuilt title is only possible in the case of vehicles that were restored to operable status after undergoing the necessary repairs. In such situations, the car will have to be examined through an inspection station approved by the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). After these salvage title cars pass the inspection and are deemed roadworthy, they can receive a new car registration and title from the DMV. To learn more about salvage and rebuilt certificates in Virginia, read the sections below.

What is a Virginia salvage title?

Before learning how to get a salvage title in Virginia, you are encouraged to understand the definition of a salvage certificate, as well as its purpose. In general, a salvage car title is a unique type of titling document issued for purposes of monitoring vehicles that cannot be safely operated within the state due to the heavy damages that they have sustained. Therefore, once your motor vehicle is declared salvage, you are prohibited from driving it until the proper repairs are conducted.

In addition to VA salvage titles, the state DMV also issues “non-repairable” certificates for vehicles that have sustained damages to the point of having a very low resale value. Consequently, such cars can only be sold for scraps or parts. Thus, if your motor vehicle is declared non-repairable, you will have to surrender its title certificate to the state DMV. Then, you will have to notify the department if you wish to demolish your non-repairable vehicle.

Virginia Salvage Title Eligibility Requirements

Residents can successfully apply for a Virginia car salvage certificate if they own a vehicle that meets the state definition to be declared salvage. In order to be eligible for a salvage vehicle title, a car must meet the criteria in one of the following situations:

  • The vehicle is a late model motor vehicle that has been obtained by an auto insurance company through a total loss claim.
  • The car is a late model vehicle that has sustained damages as a result of flood, fire, accident or other occurrences.
  • The motor vehicle has been stolen, but was recovered and paid off by an auto insurance company.
  • The vehicle is repairable and was paid off by an insurer or declared salvage by the vehicle owner, regardless of its model year.

The declaration of salvage vehicle is made once a vehicle owner or an insurance company submits the VA salvage title application. It is important to note that if an insurer pays off the vehicle damages, but the owner retains the vehicle, the insurer will also have to notify the state DMV of the fact.

How to Get a Salvage Title in Virginia

The application process for a DMV salvage title in Virginia will vary to a certain degree depending on whether the vehicle is declared salvage by the original car owner or by an insurance company. If you are getting a salvage title as the vehicle owner, complete these steps:

  1. Fill out the Salvage Certificate Application (Form VSA 56).
  2. Obtain a document detailing the vehicle damages and the repair costs from your insurance company or another appraiser.
  3. Collect your existing title certificate.
  4. Arrange payment for the applicable titling costs.
  5. Mail the above items to the following address:
  • Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
    Vehicle Branding Work Center
    O. Box 27412
    Richmond, Virginia 23269-0001

Once the department receives your salvage title request, it will assess your application for completeness before manufacturing and mailing your certificate. Note that, if your vehicle only qualifies for a “nonrepairable” title due to damages that amount to 90 percent of the car’s actual value, you will have to fill out the Nonrepairable Certificate Application (Form VSA 57) instead. Overall, “nonrepairable” certificates are available for free.

Note: Auto insurance companies applying for a salvage title in VA may have to complete additional steps and submit other documents that verify their ownership rights over the vehicle.

Salvage Car Inspections in Virginia

As a general rule, passing a Virginia salvage vehicle inspection is not a mandatory step when applying for a salvage certificate. However, if you are applying for a rebuilt salvage title after conducting the necessary repairs to a damaged car, you will have to schedule a rebuilt vehicle examination with the DMV. To make an appointment for this vehicle inspection, you will be asked to submit the following items:

  • Your salvage certificate
  • A filled out Request for Examination of Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle (Form LES 022A)
  • Payment for the applicable fees

Once the department receives your request for a rebuilt vehicle inspection, an agent will call you to schedule an appointment. When you arrive at the inspection site, you will be asked to submit a copy of the LES 022A form, photographs of the wrecked vehicle and documentation for the parts used to rebuild the vehicle. You will receive your new title certificate once your vehicle passes inspection. You can then proceed with the car registration process at a DMV service center.

Virginia Salvage Title Fees

To successfully apply for a Virginia DMV salvage title, applicants will have to submit payment for the applicable fees. The standard titling cost is currently set at $15, regardless of the title brand. If you are applying for a “nonrebuildable” certificate, you will not be charged a fee. Conversely, if you plan on getting a rebuilt title, you will have to pay additional costs. For example, you will have to pay a $125 examination fee and a $10 substitute title fee.

Once you obtain your VA rebuilt title, you will also have to pay the applicable registration costs, provided that you choose to register your restored motor vehicle. Generally, the fees for registering your motor vehicle will vary based on factors such as your vehicle type and weight.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.