Salvaged Vehicles in Maryland

Your wheels are important—there’s no doubt about it. So, what happens when your car becomes so damaged it’s no longer roadworthy or even worth the cost to repair? Is it really a total loss, or can you make the best of a bad situation?

The MD Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) outlines your options for dealing with a salvaged vehicle, which we’ll go over on this page—read on for more.

What Is a Salvaged Car in Maryland?

Simply put, a Maryland salvaged car—sometimes called a “total loss” car—is one that’s so damaged the cost to repair it would be more than 75% of the car’s fair market value (i.e. how much the car was worth before the damage occurred).

When this happens, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration requires whoever owns the vehicle to apply for a salvage title.

Apply for a Maryland Salvaged Title

Generally, when your insurance company declares your car a salvage, they will retain ownership of your car as part of your total loss settlement. In this case the insurance company will be responsible for obtaining a salvage certificate.

However, in some cases you may be able to retain ownership of the car even after the insurance company declares it a salvage. Your insurance company will notify the MVA of your vehicle’s salvage condition and your intent to retain ownership UNLESS the damages are 75% or less of your car’s fair market value.

When you keep a salvaged car, you need to apply for one of the following appropriate branded titles:

  • Salvage certificate if your car is unrepairable.
  • “Rebuilt salvage” if your car is repairable.
  • “Flood damage” if your car was declared a salvage because of flood damage.

You can apply for the above branded Maryland titles by submitting the following to the Motor Vehicle Administration:

  • A completed Application for a Salvage Certificate/Owner Retention (Form VR-028).
  • The vehicle’s title.
  • A lien release (if applicable).
  • A copy of your state-issued identification (e.g. driver’s license or ID card).
  • Payment for applicable fees:
    • $40 for “rebuilt salvage” and “flood damage” branded titles.
    • $20 for the salvage certificate.

Submit the above items in person or by mail to:

Salvage Unit RM 104
6601 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

In the meantime, keep an eye out for a notice from the Motor Vehicle Administration regarding a safety inspection. Your vehicle must pass a MD safety inspection within 90 days of receiving this notice, otherwise the MVA will suspend the car registration. If you can’t have your car inspected before the deadline, you can turn in your license plates to avoid registration cancellation.

We realize this process can get a bit confusing—play it safe and talk with your auto insurance provider AND give the MVA’s Salvage Unit a call at (800) 950-1682 with any questions you have.

MD Salvaged Car Inspections

If you rebuild a car that was issued a salvage certificate it will need to pass a salvage vehicle inspection AND a safety inspection.

If you retained ownership of a car that was issued a “rebuilt salvage” or “flood damage” branded title, it must pass a safety inspection.

Salvaged Vehicle Inspection

If the MVA sent you a Form VR-310 telling you your vehicle must pass a safety inspection within 90 days, you don’t need a salvage inspection. Skip down to “Vehicle Safety Inspection.”

A Maryland State Police (MSP) salvage inspector must conduct the salvage inspection to make sure the vehicle and parts aren’t stolen and the serial numbers haven’t been illegally removed. You can make an appointment online, where you’ll also pay the $25 inspection fee.

  • Before heading out to your inspection appointment comes around, make sure you have the following: The appointment confirmation, which you can print out after scheduling an inspection online.
  • Your personal identification (such as your Maryland driver’s license).
  • The car’s branded title.
  • Proof of ownership for all parts you used to repair the vehicle (such as bills of sale, receipts, etc.)

Once your vehicle passes, the inspector will stamp your salvage title as approved and you can apply to the MVA for a temporary title and registration, which is good for 30 days. This title allows you to legally drive your vehicle to the safety inspection.

NOTE: If the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the dashboard is damaged or removed, a member of the MSP’s Auto Theft Unit must inspect your car at the Glen Burnie inspection center. Make sure you call them at (410) 768-7388 for appointment times, as they are limited. 

Vehicle Safety Inspection

For your vehicle safety inspection, you will need to call an inspection station near you or schedule an appointment online. Before driving to your safety inspection, make sure you have your temporary registration with you (if you had to get a salvage inspection).

If your vehicle:

  • PASSES: You’ll get the Maryland Inspection Certificate.
    • Take the MVA copy to a branch location when you title and register your vehicle. Keep the purchaser’s copy for your records.
  • FAILS: The inspector will explain the problems, which you can repair yourself or have repaired by the inspection station (or another facility that fixes cars).
    • Bring the vehicle back for re-inspection. Fees will vary depending on the station and the parts that need re-inspection. Once your vehicle passes Maryland’s safety inspection, it’s time to apply for the final title and registration!

MD Reconstructed Car Title & Registration

Titling and registering your rebuilt vehicle is similar to the Motor Vehicle Administration’s basic titling and registering processes for cars that weren’t previously salvaged.

To title and register your reconstructed vehicle, provide the following:

  • The properly-assigned salvage title.
  • An Application for Certificate of Title (Form VR-005).
    • Alternatively, you can complete the section titled “Application for Title and Registration” on your current Maryland salvage certificate.
  • Proof of the proper auto insurance coverage.
  • Proof your vehicle passed the salvage inspection (if applicable) and safety inspection.
  • Proof of purchase price (i.e. the bill of sale) if you purchased the vehicle.
  • An odometer disclosure statement.
    • You can write the mileage on the completed salvage title or bill of sale.
  • Lien information (if applicable).
  • A power of attorney if someone other than the car’s owner is signing for the vehicle title.
  • Payment for the applicable title and registration fees and taxes.

Submit the items above for your new MD title and registration in person at your local full-service branch office or by mail to:

6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062

You’ll receive your new title and registration documents by mail; however, if you submit your application in person, you’ll get your registration card, license plates, and expiration stickers immediately.

Don’t hesitate to call the MVA at (800) 950-1682 with any questions that come up while getting your reconstructed title and registration documents together.


Application for a Salvage Certificate/Owner Retention
Submit this form to the Maryland MVA to apply for a salvage certificate OR to notify the MVA that you'll retain ownership of a total loss vehicle.
Application for Certificate of Title
Apply for a MD vehicle title through the Motor Vehicle Administration.
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