Salvaged Vehicles in Arizona

Through the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) and your insurance company, leasing company, or financial institution, there are various ways to deal with a salvaged car. Your insurance company might retain it as part of your total loss settlement or you might decide to restore it to meet inspection requirements and apply for a Restored Salvage Certificate of Title.

We'll walk you through the details below!

What Is a Salvaged Car?

Arizona defines a salvage vehicle as one so damaged by a wreck, water, or theft that it’s uneconomical to repair. In the majority of cases, an insurance company declares the car a salvage, but the car’s owner or a company financing the car can also declare the car a salvage. 

Applying for an AZ Salvage Certificate

If your car qualifies as a salvage vehicle, you’ll need to apply for an Arizona salvage certificate with the AZ MVD. First, contact the MVD to confirm any required documents you’ll need to bring.

Then, submit a completed Title and Registration Application (Form 96-0236) to your local branch office.

If the insurance company is keeping your car as part of your settlement, they will be responsible for the application. You must assign the original title over to the insurance company.

What to Do with a Salvaged Vehicle

You have a few options when it comes to your salvaged vehicle:

  • Depending on the company’s policies and the settlement itself, you might let your insurance company retain ownership of the vehicle as part of a total loss settlement.
    • Generally, this means you’ve accepted the full settlement.
    • You must provide your insurance company with proof of lien satisfaction, if applicable.
  • You can keep the vehicle (typically, only if you accept partial settlement) and either:

Restored Salvage Car Title & Registration

If you choose to keep a salvage car and apply for a title and registration, you must first rebuild it. You might be capable of rebuilding it yourself, or you might want to hire a rebuilder. Either way, the reconstructed car MUST pass an inspection before the Arizona Department of Transportation will issue a rebuilt title and register it. See below for inspection details.

After you’ve reconstructed the vehicle, it’s time to apply for a Restored Salvage Certificate of Title and register it in person at your local MVD. Typically, you can handle the inspection, titling, and registration processes at the same time.

You’ll need to hand over:

  • A completed Title and Registration Application (Form 96-0236).
  • The original salvaged title.
  • All required vehicle inspection documents.
  • The emissions compliance certificate, if applicable.
  • Payment for all applicable fees:
    • Inspection: $50.
    • Title: $4.
    • Registration: $8.
    • Vehicle license tax (VLT): 60% of the vehicle manufacturer’s base retail price reduced by 16.25% for each 1 year that has passed since the car’s initial registration.
    • Air-quality research fee: $1.50.

AZ Salvage Vehicle Inspection

Your restored salvaged car must pass a Level III vehicle inspection before you can title and register it in Arizona. You can schedule an inspection through your local MVD.

A Level III inspection is the most intense inspection and is required for salvage vehicles to reduce auto theft by verifying the vehicle’s major components such as the front- and rear-end assemblies, the transmission, and the engine. Also, the certified officer conducting the inspection will check that all equipment is in good condition and working order and meets road requirements.

Before heading to your inspection appointment, have ready to bring:

  • The title* to prove ownership.
  • The receipts, invoices, and bills of sale for all component parts used to rebuild the vehicle. These must show:
    • A description of the vehicle(s) from which the parts originally belonged, including VIN, make, model, and year.
    • The seller’s name, address, signature, and EITHER their:
      • Driver’s license number, if bought from a private party.
      • Tax identification number, if bought from a company.
    • The title number(s)*.
  • A valid driver’s license.
  • The $50 inspection fee.

*NOTE: Play it safe and contact the MVD to find out if you need to bring the original title (if you have it) or the salvage title.


Title and Registration Application
Apply for an original OR duplicate Arizona title AND/OR registration with the Motor Vehicle Division.
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