Salvaged Vehicles in Kentucky

What do you do when your vehicle is so damaged you can no longer legally or safely operate it? Easy! Either fix ‘er up and get back on the road or make a little money from the loss.

On this page, we’ll go over the options you have when dealing with a salvaged car, and what steps the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC) requires you to take.

What Is a Salvaged Car in Kentucky?

Kentucky law states your vehicle is a salvaged car if it’s damaged or destroyed to the point that repairing or reconstructing it to its pre-damaged state would cost more than 75% of its retail value (often referred to as its fair market value). 

Your Options with a Salvaged Vehicle in KY

So now that you have a salvaged car on your hands, what do you do with it? Your options will depend on whether you or your insurance company retain ownership of the vehicle.

Generally, the process starts when you file a total loss claim with your insurance provider. If your insurance carrier deems the vehicle a total loss, you’ll negotiate a settlement agreement with them.

Depending on your coverage policy, you might choose a:

  • FULL total loss settlement, meaning your provider keeps the vehicle and pays you damages.
    • In this case, the car becomes your insurance company’s responsibility.
    • Your agent will walk you through any additional paperwork and steps you must complete, such as presenting proof of lien satisfaction (if applicable).
  • PARTIAL total loss settlement, meaning you keep the vehicle and receive payment for any damages outlined in your insurance policy.

Take the time to speak with your auto insurance company about which option makes the most fiscal sense for your situation.

Junk the Car

If you junk your total loss car, you might sell it to a business that deals with junking, scrapping, or otherwise dismantling vehicles for parts.

As part of junking your car, you must provide your county clerk’s office with its title and license plates, which releases you from paying future property tax on the vehicle. 

If you’ve lost the title and/or license plates, submit either of the following to your local county clerk’s office:


You may be required to provide additional fees and documents; check with your local KY county clerk for the specifics on what you’ll need to submit when junking your vehicle.

Apply for a Kentucky Salvage Title       

Applying for a salvaged title with the KTC is fairly simple; start by gathering:

Once you have all the required items above, you have 15 days to submit them at your local county clerk’s office.

NOTE: You CANNOT operate any vehicle with a KY salvage title unless you are driving it to get inspected after it has been rebuilt.

KY Rebuilt Title & Car Registration

After you’ve rebuilt the car it’ll need to pass an inspection. Call your local county clerk’s office for information on where the nearest certified inspectors are located. The agent looking at your car will need to fill out the “Certified Inspector Section” of your Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration (Form TC 96-182).

Once the inspection is out of the way, you can head to your county clerk’s office and apply for a rebuilt title by submitting the following:

  • A completed and notarized:
  • The original salvaged title.
  • The original receipts for all parts you purchased when repairing/rebuilding the vehicle.
    • If you purchased the parts from an individual, include the seller’s name, address, and telephone number.
    • If any parts came from another vehicle, include the vehicle identification number (VIN) OR if there was no VIN, provide a notarized statement explaining why.
  • A notarized labor statement from the person who repaired the vehicle, describing which parts were repaired and which were replaced.
  • The car’s license plate.
  • A lien termination statement from the lien holder, if applicable.
  • A letter from your insurance company (on company letterhead) explaining all vehicle damage IF the damage did not exceed 75% of the fair market value.
  • The original receipt IF you purchased the car at an auction.
  • Payment for all applicable fees.
    • Rebuilt title (and registration) fees can vary—contact your county clerk’s office for specifics on what you’ll owe.

Your county clerk will forward everything to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet—if you’re approved, you’ll receive your KY rebuilt title and registration!

Have more questions? Contact the KTC’s Rebuilt Support Section at (502) 564-1257 for assistance.


TC 96-182
Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration
Application for an original, transferred, updated, OR replacement Kentucky vehicle title.
TC 96-5
Odometer Disclosure Statement
The KY Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing requires you to disclose the number of miles on a vehicle you're selling by using this form.
TC 96-167
Affidavit for Replacement or Non Exchange
Request replacement Kentucky license plates, decals, OR registration certificates from the Division of Motor Vehicle Licensing. Must be notarized.
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