Salvaged Vehicles in Delaware

When you decide to keep your salvaged vehicle as part of a total loss insurance settlement, you must re-title and register it with the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before legally driving it. This involves applying for a Salvage Certificate, repairing the vehicle (and keeping receipts for all parts), and passing several inspections.

Theres a lot involved, so well help walk you through the process and get your car roadworthy in no time!

What Is a Salvaged Car in DE?

Generally, a salvaged vehicle—also referred to as a total loss—is one that has been so damaged during a wreck or other accident that it would cost more to repair the vehicle than the vehicle is actually worth.

Once your insurance company declares your damaged vehicle a total loss or salvage, you have several options.

What to Do with a Salvaged Car

Typically, when your car becomes this damaged, youll file a total loss claim with your insurance company. Each company has its own process, but most employ a claims adjuster to determine whether your vehicle is a total loss and, if so, the insurance company calculates the actual cash value youll receive from the settlement.

Now, its time to decide what you want to do with your vehicle. Depending on your situation, you might:

  • Accept the full settlement and let your insurance company keep the vehicle.
    • The insurance company will notify the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 30 days of the settlement and receive a salvage certificate.
  • Accept a partial settlement and keep the vehicle.

If you choose to keep the vehicle, you can:

  • Sell the vehicle to a licensed rebuilder or business dealing in scrapping or junking salvage vehicles.
    • You must sign over ownership to the business.
  • Repair the salvaged car and meet all title and registration requirements.
    • Once you complete this process you—or the buyer, should you decide to sell it—can legally operate the vehicle.

DE Salvage Car Title Requirements

You must follow several steps before you can re-title and register your salvaged car, including applying for a Salvage Certificate and bringing in your vehicle for several inspections.

Apply for a Salvage Certificate

First, you must apply for a salvage certificate. You may do this in person or by mail.

In Person

Head to your local DMV office with:

  • The vehicles title, including:
    • A completed odometer disclosure.
    • Your name under "Signature of Buyer" and "Printed Name of Buyer."
  • A letter from your insurance company including:
    • A statement that the vehicle is a total loss and an owner-retained salvage, showing your name as the owner.
    • The date of loss.
    • The vehicles make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
    • A signature from the insurance companys representative.
  • The vehicles license plate.
  • Payment for the $35 fee.

The DMV will issue the Salvage Certificate and place the license plate in retention if the vehicle still has a current registration.

By Mail

Gather the documents listed above for in-person applications, and mail everything—including a self-addressed stamped envelope—to:

Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
Title Section
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE 19903

The DMV will send your salvage certificate by mail via the self-addressed envelope.

Temporary Tags

If your vehicle passes the DMV Safety Inspection (see "Safety & Emissions Inspections" below), you can apply for a temporary tag to use until the next available inspection date with the Delaware State Police Auto Theft Unit.

If you need the temporary tag past that date, you must pay a $20 fee.

Titling & Registering a Rebuilt Salvage Car

In order to title and register your rebuilt salvage car, it will need to first pass all required inspections before you can.

Rebuilt Car Inspection

After repairs are complete on your car, bring your salvage vehicle to a Delaware State Police Auto Theft Unit for inspection. You dont need an appointment, but check the inspection schedule before showing up.

NOTE: The Auto Theft Unit does not approve salvage cars that have been repaired by a previous salvage vehicle owner.

Bring to the inspection:

  • The salvage title in your name.
  • The bill of sale or a letter from your insurance company stating the vehicle is part of a total loss insurance settlement.
  • Color photographs of the salvage car BEFORE repairs.
  • Receipts for all parts used to repair the vehicle. Receipts must include the:
    • Name, address, and ZIP code of both the purchaser and the seller.
    • Vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle to which the parts originally belonged.
    • Date.
  • Proof of identification.

NOTE: Whether youre a dealer or individual, every document must be in the same name. This includes the salvage title, all receipts, and the bill of sale and/or letter from the insurance company.

Once your salvage car passes inspection, the Auto Theft Unit will give you an Application for Title (Form MV214). You must have this to re-title and register the vehicle.

Safety & Emissions Inspections

In addition to the Delaware State Police Auto Theft Units inspection, your vehicle must pass DE DMV safety and emissions inspections. You need proof of passed inspections when you re-title and register your salvaged vehicle.

Our Smog Check guide can help you with the steps and requirements.

Applying for Title & Registration

Once your vehicle passes all inspections, head to your local CT DMV office with:

  • The Salvage Certificate.
  • The Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • The Application for Title (Form MV214).
  • Proof of insurance.
  • The $35 fee for titling.

The DMV will then process your new title and registration.

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