Salvaged Vehicles in Massachusetts

If you've been in a major accident that resulted in a total loss for your vehicle, or if your vehicle was stolen and not recovered, you or your insurance company will need to apply for a salvage title.

The salvage title is an important part of your vehicle's history, especially if the vehicle is recovered or fixed and then put up for sale. Any potential buyer will then clearly see that the vehicle was once declared a total loss, which could be a critically important part of the buyer's decision-making process.

How to Apply

Who applies for the salvage title depends on who is retaining ownership of the vehicle. Often, when an insurance company declares a total loss, the company takes ownership of the vehicle as part of the claims process. In this case, the insurance company must seek a salvage title within 10 days.

If the owner retains the vehicle, the owner can apply for either a salvage title or an owner retained title. Either way, the process goes like this:

  • Complete a RMV-1 Application Form (Form RMV-1).
  • Once the application is completed, you can take it and payment for the application fee in person to the Boston RMV office or the Title Division located at 25 Newport Ave. Ext. Quincy, MA.
  • You can also mail it to the following address:
    • Title Division
      Registry of Motor Vehicles
      P.O. Box 55885
      Boston, MA 02205

The application fee is $50, which must be paid by check or money order. Allow 10 days for processing and delivery.

Massachusetts offers the following salvage titles and brands:

  • Salvage: This is the standard salvage title issued for a vehicle declared a total loss and sold for salvage. This vehicle cannot be repaired and will be sold for parts or scrap.
  • Repairable: This is the title issued to salvage vehicles that are to be repaired for further use. When it is issued, your vehicle is no longer legally driven and cannot be registered. Once repaired, the vehicle needs to undergo a salvage inspection and upon passing, can be designated as reconstructed or recovered theft.
  • Owner Retained: This is a type of salvage title issued when the vehicle owner keeps the vehicle after it was designated a total loss by the insurance company. It must be safe enough to operate on public ways and the owner must keep it actively registered. However, an insurance company may not want to cover it for collision and comprehensive.
  • Recovered Theft: This designation is required when a stolen vehicle that has been designated as salvage is recovered, repaired and retitled for use on the road.

Retitling a Salvaged Vehicle for the Road

If you have a vehicle that has been designated as salvage repairable and has been repaired and is ready for the road, you first need to have the vehicle inspected. This salvage inspection is a special process for which you must apply to the RMV and pay $50.

You will need a completed Application for Inspection of a Salvaged Motor Vehicle (Form T20541). You will also need to have the following:

  • Your current salvage title.
  • An appraisal from your insurance company.
  • Bills of sales from purchases of all major parts used to repair the vehicle. If there are used parts involved in the restoration, you also need to include the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle from which the parts were originally taken.
  • The receipt from the RMV for the $50 salvage inspection fee.

Bring all of the above to a designated RMV office for a salvage inspection. Salvage inspections are given by State Police on a walk-in basis during scheduled dates and times at specific RMV offices.

Pass a salvage inspection and your vehicle becomes eligible to be retitled as reconstructed or recovered theft, which will allow you to register the vehicle for the road.

However, the salvage designation will remain on the title, so that any future owners will understand that the car was once designated for salvage and repaired.



Application for a salvage vehicle inspection, which is required before registering salvaged cars with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Must be completed by an approved Massachusetts inspection station.


Application to title and register your vehicle with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

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