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  • Salvaged Vehicles in Idaho

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    When your vehicle has been so badly damaged (from an accident or a flood, for example) that the cost of repair exceeds its dollar value, what you have on your hands is a salvage vehicle. This means either you (the owner), someone acting on your behalf, or an insurer has determined that the cost of labor and parts (minus the monetary value of the vehicle) makes a repair or a rebuild a cost-prohibitive option.

    If repairs are made using similar make and model parts to replicate a vehicle originally made by a distinctive manufacturer, the state will consider it either a "reconstructed" or "repaired vehicle." With the exception of glider kits, this goes for any salvage vehicles that require a brand, including replica (kit) vehicles.

    A branded title clearly states that the vehicle is either reconstructed or repaired in order to notify potential buyers that the vehicle has indeed endured damage that may cause additional problems in the future. The state will issue a salvage certificate if it matches the definition of such as stated in Section 49-123(m) of the Idaho Code. This also includes vehicles that the owner or an insurance company considers the result of an unrecovered theft.

    Should an insurance company declare a vehicle a salvage vehicle after doling out cash (or making an equivalent settlement as compensation for the total loss), it must issue a salvage certificate naming that vehicle either a "salvage vehicle" or a "total-loss vehicle."

    Total-Loss Vehicle

    A total-loss vehicle is one that scrapping, dismantling, or destruction has caused it to be considered cost-prohibitive to fix. The compensation for such a loss, paid either by an insurance company or an individual, must not cover medical care costs, or any such payments associated with bodily injury, car rental, or anything else other than the money paid for the vehicle's actual damage.

    Owner-retained Salvage

    This title applies when the owner hangs onto the vehicle after it has been declared a total loss.

    Salvage Pool

    This describes a licensed vehicle dealer who makes it his/her primary business to dispose of salvage vehicles, stolen vehicles that have been recovered, or both.

    Exceptions to the Rule

    Salvage and branding requirements do not apply to motorcycles, manufactured homes, all-terrain vehicles, class A or C motor homes, vessels, and trailers.

    Getting a Salvage Certificate

    Every salvage vehicle must have a salvage certificate. As the new document of legal ownership, this certificate replaces any previous title or manufacturer's certificate of origin (MCO). Such a certificate is required when:

    • The vehicle was damaged so badly that it has been declared a total loss, and an insurance company has shelled out the cash to the owner to cover the damage and, therefore, has obtained the certificate of title.
    • The vehicle was damaged so badly that it has been declared a total loss, and an insurance company has shelled out the cash to the owner to cover the damage, and the owner kept the vehicle and its title.
      • In this instance, the insurance company must give the department a heads up. The owner must also contact the Idaho Transportation Department and apply for a Salvage Certificate of Title.
    • A salvage pool obtains the salvage vehicle and must issue an Idaho Salvage Certificate of Title because ownership is not otherwise proven with a salvage certificate. It must also surrender the ownership documents and a copy of the salvage certificate to the DMV, as well as pay any salvage certificate fees.
    • An insurance company did not cough up any money for the damage, and the owner declares the vehicle a salvage vehicle. In this case, the owner must contact the Idaho Transportation Department and apply for a salvage certificate of title him/herself.

    To apply for a salvage certificate, submit the following to the Idaho Transportation Department:

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