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Salvaged Vehicles in Iowa

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When you have a salvaged car in Iowa, you have a few options for dealing with it. Even though most salvage vehicles are considered “total losses,” you don’t necessarily have to take a hit.

Read on to learn about the IA Motor Vehicle Division’s (MVD) requirements regarding salvaged vehicles in the Hawkeye State

What Is a Salvaged Car in Iowa?

The Iowa MVD states your wrecked or damaged vehicle is a salvaged car if:

  • The cost to repair the vehicle exceeds of the vehicle’s fair market value before the damage occurred.
  • AND
  • Your vehicle’s fair market value was $500 or more before it was damaged.

Your Salvage Vehicle Options in IA

When you have a salvage car on your hands, you can either assign ownership to your insurance provider OR keep the vehicle for yourself.

Release the Car to Your Insurance Company

Typically, if you sign over the vehicle to your insurance company you’re doing so as part of a total loss settlement. Each company has its own settlement policies, but generally during this type of total loss settlement, your insurance company pays you damages and keeps the salvaged car.

Your provider will walk you through all the paperwork and any other steps required on your end—such as meeting lien satisfaction requirements. After completing these requirements, the car becomes your insurance carrier’s responsibility.

Keep the Car

Sometimes keeping the salvage vehicle means you’re accepting a partial settlement in a total loss claim, but this will depend on your specific auto insurance company and policy.

If you keep the vehicle, you’ll need to apply for a salvage title, after which you can:

  • Sell the salvaged car to a rebuilder or a company in the business of junking, scrapping, or dismantling vehicles.
  • OR
  • Repair the vehicle and keep it for yourself or sell it.
    • After you repair the vehicle, it must pass inspection before you can apply for a regular vehicle title.

Make sure to consult with your car insurance company when deciding whether or not to keep the vehicle. They may be able to offer insight that could ultimately save you time and money.

Apply for an Iowa Salvaged Title

Iowa leaves the salvage title application process up to each IA county treasurer. 

Typically, you’ll complete an Application for Certificate of Title and/or Registration (Form 411007), making sure to mark the salvage title options. However, additional application steps could depend on factors specific to your situation such as:

  • Specifics of your insurance company’s total loss settlement.
  • Basic details about the vehicle, such as its age and fair market value.
  • Whether you want to sell the vehicle to a dismantler or rebuilder.
    • For example, such a situation might mean the dismantler or rebuilder must apply for the salvage title.
  • Any liens still on the vehicle.
  • The degree of damage the vehicle suffered.

Once you have a salvage title, you can think about applying for a regular vehicle title. Contact your local county treasurer’s office for details about applications and other required documents specific to your situation.

Iowa Salvage Vehicle Inspections 

Before you can convert your salvage title to a regular title, the Motor Vehicle Division requires it to pass an inspection. This is to ensure the vehicle wasn’t built with stolen parts and is up to the state’s safety standards.

When your reconstructed car is ready for inspection, you’ll need to complete an online Affidavit of Salvage Vehicle Repairs. Pay close attention to the online tutorials, which provide detailed instructions on how to properly complete the affidavit.

In general, you’ll need to provide the following information on the affidavit:

  • Details about your:
    • Personal information.
    • Vehicle, such as its:
      • Salvage title number.
      • Vehicle identification number.
      • Make and year.
      • Reasons for damage (e.g. a collision, water or flood, fire, etc.).
    • Each repair and the VIN/part number (whichever is applicable) for each part used to rebuild the vehicle.
      • You MUST BRING all receipts, invoices, and any other documentation for the repair parts to the inspection appointment.
      • If the cab or frame was changed OR the VIN was damaged or removed during repairs, contact the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection at (515) 237-3050 for appointment details.
  • The total cost of repairs.
  • Payment information for the $50 inspection fee.

After you complete the affidavit, you can print a permit to drive the car to and from the inspection location on the day of your appointment only. When you’re done with the affidavit and have printed your permit, contact a certified law enforcement agency to schedule your inspection appointment.

Once your vehicle passes inspection, you’ll receive a Salvage Theft Examination Certificate (Form 411072), which you’ll need to apply for a new Iowa title and registration.

Convert IA Salvage Title to Regular Title

Your vehicle has an IA salvaged title and passed inspection. Now, it’s time to turn that salvage title to a regular title.

Similar to the salvage application process, the process to convert a salvaged title to a regular title can vary depending on your county of residence and details specific to your situation.

In general, the process for converting your salvage title to a regular Iowa title includes submitting the following to your county treasurer’s office:

  • Your vehicle’s salvage title.
  • *The Salvage Theft Examination Certificate (Form 411072), which you receive after passing a salvage inspection.
  • Your insurance certification, dated and signed by an authorized agent from your insurance provider, that includes:
    • The insurance provider’s name and address.
    • The salvaged vehicle’s make, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • A statement certifying that vehicle repair costs were under $3,000.
  • Payment for the applicable fees.
    • Contact your treasurer’s office for specifics on what you’ll need to pay.

Once you provide all applicable documents, applications, and fees, your county treasurer will advise you on whether your application is approved and when you’ll receive your rebuilt title.

*NOTE: Your insurance certification MIGHT suffice as proof of passing the salvage inspection, meaning you don’t have to provide a Salvage Theft Examination Certificate (Form 411072)—ask your county treasurer for details.

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