Vehicle owners can apply for a salvage title in West Virginia by submitting the proper application form to the state Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, in order to obtain a car salvage certificate, applicants and their motor vehicles must meet certain requirements. In general, either the original owner of a vehicle or its insurance company can apply for a certificate of salvage, depending on who has kept possession of the car.

After obtaining a WV salvage certificate, car owners will be allowed to repair their vehicles and apply for a “reconstructed” certificate of title. However, note that the option to obtain a rebuilt title is only extended to vehicles that were not branded as junk or “non-repairable.” In any case, restored cars will have to pass both a state safety inspection and a reconstructed vehicle inspection in order to prove their roadworthiness and be retitled in the state. To learn more about West Virginia salvage title cars and the procedures related to obtaining these credentials, read the sections below.

What is a West Virginia salvage title?

Before applying for a West Virginia salvage car title, you are encouraged to learn more about this particular type of certificate. In general, a vehicle salvage title is a document issued to damaged cars that can no longer be operated safely or legally on state roads. Therefore, if your vehicle sustains heavy damages, you are required to surrender your current title certificate and car registration card. However, if the car damages are simply cosmetic, you will not be able to obtain a total loss certificate and your car will not be classified as salvage.

In addition to the WV car salvage title, the state DMV issues other similar certificates, which will vary depending on the type and degree of the damages sustained by a vehicle. For instance, while salvage certificates are issued to vehicles that can still be repaired, cars with extreme damages can only receive a “non-repairable” certificate. In such cases, these vehicles will never receive a new title or registration again, and can only be used for the sale of scrap or spare parts.

West Virginia Salvage Title Eligibility Requirements

You can only successfully obtain a DMV salvage title in West Virginia if you own a motor vehicle that meets the state’s salvage classification. According to current laws, cars will qualify for salvage titles under the following circumstances:

  • The vehicle has been paid off as a total loss by an auto insurance company. This may have been the result of the car having sustained damages that exceed 74 percent of its actual market value. Otherwise, it was because the vehicle was damaged by floor or fire.
  • The salvage title car is not considered a total loss. Thus, it is repairable.
  • The vehicle was transferred to West Virginia on an out-of-state title with a similar salvage brand.

If your motor vehicle is not eligible for a WV car salvage certificate, it must still be titled with a different type of certificate, such as a “non-repairable” or a “cosmetic total loss” title.

How to Get a Salvage Title in West Virginia

If you would like to learn how to get a salvage title in West Virginia, note that you will have to submit several types of documents and pay for the applicable fees at a nearby DMV office. The application process will vary to a certain degree depending on whether you are applying as the original owner, an insurance agent or a legal entity that has obtained the salvage vehicle. The standard steps in the salvage title application process are outlined below:

  1. Get the existing certificate of title properly reassigned.
  2. Fill out the Salvage Certification Application (Form DMV-SV-1). If applying as an original owner who has retained the vehicle, complete the Salvage Certificate/Owner Retention (Form DMV-SV-6) document.
  3. Complete an Odometer Certification (Form DMV-TM-1) if your vehicle is newer than 11 model years.
  4. Provide your lienholder’s information, if applicable.
  5. Arrange payment for the applicable fees.

After submitting a successful DMV salvage title application in WV, car owners will receive the requested title at their recorded address, provided that the division approves their submission. It is important to note that insurance companies applying for this type of title will have to submit their requests within 10 days of the date of a total loss settlement, and may have to provide additional forms during the application process.

Salvage Car Inspections in West Virginia

The state DMV will not require a salvage vehicle inspection in West Virginia when issuing salvage certificates. On the other hand, if you repair a wrecked vehicle and choose to apply for a rebuilt salvage title, you will have to submit your car to two different types of inspections. The purpose of this two-phase inspection process is to verify that the motor vehicle meets the state safety standards and that it was not restored with stolen parts.

The first step toward obtaining a restored salvage title in WV is rebuilding the vehicle and keeping receipts for the parts and expenses used to restore it. Moreover, be mindful that you must take pictures of the car prior to any repairs. Then, you must schedule a visit to a police inspection station in order to obtain the standard safety Certificate of Inspection (Form DMV-202-TR).

The next step is submitting your motor vehicle to a reconstructed vehicle examination at a nearby DMV site. To pass this salvage car inspection, you will be asked to submit the following items:

  • Your car salvage certificate
  • Photographs of the wrecked vehicle
  • Receipts and/or proofs of ownership for the parts used to rebuild the vehicle
  • Receipts for the labor expenses
  • Proof of the passed safety inspection

Once your motor vehicle passes the inspection procedure, you will receive the Reconstructed Vehicle Examination Form (DMV-SV-3), which is a document you will need to apply for a rebuilt title in West Virginia.

Note: If you are unable to haul the vehicle to the inspection sites, you can obtain a temporary driving permit from the WV State Police.

West Virginia Salvage Title Fees

The last step when getting a West Virginia salvage title or a reconstructed certificate is paying the applicable fees. Overall, the standard salvage title fee is set at $22.50, regardless of the type of total loss brand attached to the credential. On the other hand, if you are applying for a non-repairable certificate, you will not be required to pay any fees.

Furthermore, if you are getting a reconstructed title, you will first have to pay for the inspections fees. For instance, the DMV reconstructed vehicle examination currently costs $35. Once the motor vehicle passes inspection, you will have to arrange payment for the titling fee once again and the applicable registration costs, which vary based on several factors.

Note: If you are transferring an out-of-state salvage title in West Virginia, you will only have to pay a $10 fee.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.