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Declaring a Vehicle Salvage

Declaration by Owner

The owner of any vehicle titled in the Commonwealth of Virginia may declare the vehicle to be a salvage vehicle by:

Every owner of an uninsured or self-insured late model vehicle that sustains damage and the estimated cost of repair is more than 75 percent of the actual cash value must apply to DMV for a salvage certificate. The certificate will be noted "BRANDED IF REBUILT". Owners must pay the titling fee and obtain an itemized estimate of the cost of repairs. This estimate must be on the official stationery of the insurance company or an independent appraisal firm and must include:

  • the description of the vehicle (make, year and vehicle identification number)
  • a list of all parts that will be repaired or rebuilt including the cost and whether the part is new or used
  • the total cost for labor and total cost for parts, and
  • the signature of the company representative who prepares the appraisal.

Declaration by Insurance Company

Insurance companies that take possession of a late model vehicle that has been damaged and pay the owner or lienholder for the value of the vehicle, must apply to DMV for a salvage certificate. Insurance companies may also apply for salvage certificates for vehicles not defined as late model. Insurance companies must submit the Salvage Certificate Application (VSA 56) within 15 days of paying the owner or lienholder.

Insurance companies must notify DMV by filing Notification of Owner Retained Late Model Vehicle (VSA 58) on all late model vehicles that have a paid claim for damages and an estimated cost of repair that is more than 75 percent of the actual cash value if the vehicle is titled in the Commonwealth and is to be retained by the owner.

Whenever an insurance company applies for a salvage certificate and is unable to present a certificate of title, the insurance company must submit the following:

  • A completed Salvage Certificate Application, (VSA 56).
  • A completed Affidavit in Lieu of Title Certificate, (VSA 12) indicating that the vehicle was acquired as the result of the claims process and the efforts made by the insurance company or its agent to obtain a certificate of title from the previous owner. The affidavit must be signed and notarized.
  • Appropriate fees.

An insurance company or agent applying for a salvage certificate using a VSA-12 must mail his application, documents, and fees to:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Vehicle Branding Work Center
  • P.O. Box 27412
  • Richmond, Virginia 23269-0001

DMV Customer Service Centers are not authorized to process applications for a Salvage Certificate.

Restrictions on Salvage Vehicles

A vehicle that is declared salvage cannot be operated on the highways of the Commonwealth and may not be registered as long as there is an active salvage certificate.

A salvage certificate may be used for reassignment to a licensed rebuilder if the vehicle is to be rebuilt.

Additional Information

Declaring a Vehicle Nonrepairable
Repaired/Rebuilt Vehicle Examinations
Salvage General Licensing Information
Virginia Salvage Code Sections
Contact Information
Filing a Salvage Dealer Complaint