Applying for a salvage title in Wisconsin is a procedure that can be completed through the state Department of Transportation (DOT). However, in order to receive a car salvage certificate, the vehicle must meet the salvage definition as set under current law. Furthermore, depending on the source of the damages, the state DOT may attach different brands to these types of titles.

Once you obtain a WI salvage certificate, you have the option of repairing and retitling your motor vehicle, provided that it was not declared a junked vehicle and that you were denied a salvage credential. Conversely, in order to obtain a rebuilt title and a new car registration, your vehicle will have to pass an inspection procedure administered by an approved DOT inspector. To learn more about the state rules and regulations regarding salvage and rebuilt titles, read the sections below.

What is a Wisconsin salvage title?

A Wisconsin salvage car title is a branded certificate that indicates that a motor vehicle has sustained heavy damages that deem it inoperable. Generally, the state DOT issues salvage certificates in order to keep track of the cars that cannot be safely or legally operated within the state until they are repaired.

In addition to the salvage title brand, the department may assign additional classifications that indicate the type of damage that a vehicle has sustained. For instance, if the vehicle was damaged by water, it will receive a flood-damaged brand. The laws governing over the WI salvage title cars aim to protect potential buyers from purchasing defective motor vehicles without being aware of the sustained damages. According to current statutes, car owners who sell salvage vehicles are required to disclose the title brand information.

Wisconsin Salvage Title Eligibility Requirements

In order to obtain a salvage vehicle title in Wisconsin, residents must own a car that meets the salvage definition. Under state law, vehicles will qualify for a salvage certificate if they are newer than seven model years and have repair costs greater than 69 percent of their actual retail value. If a motor vehicle has incurred damages greater than 30 percent but lesser than 70 percent, it may still be paid off by a vehicle insurance company, but will not be eligible for a salvage title.

If a vehicle was damaged to the point that repairing it would cost more than its full market value, it will not qualify for any type of salvage title certificate. Instead, it will be considered a junk vehicle. Generally, junk cars can only be used for the sale of their scrap or spare parts. On the other hand, out-of-state vehicles that were transferred on similar salvage titles will qualify for a Wisconsin salvage certificate regardless of their model year.

How to Get a Salvage Title in Wisconsin

To get a salvage title in Wisconsin, vehicle owners or auto insurance companies will have to submit the corresponding application form by mail. Note that the requirements for a salvage certificate may vary slightly depending on the identity of the applicant. If you are getting a car salvage title as the original owner, you will most likely have to complete the following steps:

  1. Fill out the Title Application Branding Notification (Form MV2849).
    1. You cannot use the MV2849 form if you are listing a lien.
  1. Complete the Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1), if applicable.
  2. Include the original title certificate.
  3. Obtain the applicable paperwork from your insurer and any additional forms.
  4. Arrange payment for the applicable titling fee in the form of a check.
  5. Mail the abovementioned items to the following address:
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 7949
Madison, WI 53707-7949

Once the DOT receives your WI salvage title application, it will manufacture and mail out a new title certificate with the corresponding brand. Note that, if you are applying as the original owner, you will have to fill out both Section A and Section B of the form. Conversely, insurers only have to complete the first section.

Salvage Car Inspections in Wisconsin

Completing a salvage vehicle inspection in Wisconsin is not a mandatory step when applying for a salvage certificate. However, if you repair a car that was issued a vehicle salvage title before, it will have to pass an examination with a DOT-approved inspector. Overall, the purpose of this car inspection is to check a vehicle’s roadworthiness and whether or not it was rebuilt with stolen parts.

In order to start the application process for a rebuilt salvage title in WI after restoring the vehicle to operable status, you will have to contact an inspecting agency and schedule an appointment. To successfully pass the salvage car inspection, you will need the following items:

  • A filled out Major Parts Statement for Repaired Salvage Vehicle or Homemade (Form MV2673)
  • The DOT Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1)
  • The vehicle salvage certificate
  • The bills of sale and/or ownership documents of the major parts used to rebuild the vehicle
  • Four photographs of the car, taken before repairing it
  • The applicable fee payment in the form of a check
  • An official form of identification
  • An envelope with a paid postage addressed to one of the following addresses:

Regular mail:

Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 7949
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7949

Express mail:

Department of Transportation
Fast Service Handling
P.O. Box 7306
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7306

If your vehicle passes the inspection procedure, the examiner will mail your rebuilt title application along with the above items and the inspection certificate to the state DOT for titling purposes.

Wisconsin Salvage Title Fees

To successfully obtain a Wisconsin salvage title or a rebuilt salvage certificate, you will have to arrange payment for the applicable fees. For instance, to get a car salvage title, you will have to pay a title fee of $69.50 and a counter fee of $5.

Conversely, if you are applying for a restored salvage title, you must pay additional costs. First, you will have to arrange payment for the $80 inspection fee. Then, you will have to arrange payment for the standard titling fees and registration costs, which will vary based on factors such as the vehicle type and weight.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.