Salvaged Vehicles in Minnesota

So, your vehicle is damaged. We’re talking “it’s not safe or legal to drive this thing”-damaged. Basically, your car is a total loss. What now?

Fortunately, the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) division gives you options. Some are pretty simple, others require a bit more work, but all can help turn your total loss into some gain.

What Is a MN Salvaged Car?

Simply put, a salvaged car in Minnesota is one that has sustained enough damage where the cost of repairs exceeds 80% of the car’s value before the damage occurred.

At this point, the vehicle obtains salvage status and you have a few options for dealing with it.

Who Will Own Your Vehicle?

Below are a few of the most common ways to handle a salvaged car, all of which depend on who ends up with vehicle ownership: you OR your insurance company.

Keep in mind these are general steps and depend mostly on your insurance company’s policies (if your car is insured and registered) or the MN DVS (if your car is uninsured and not registered).

Your Insurance Company Keeps the Salvage

Letting your insurance company keep your salvaged car might be the easiest option because there are only a few steps on your part. After signing over the vehicle title to your insurance provider, they will pay you full damages and take responsibility for the car.

You might need to complete salvage-specific paperwork and/or provide certain documents (such as proof of lien satisfaction), but this depends on your provider and situation—a representative with your insurance carrier will walk you through the process.

You Keep the Salvaged Car

If you decide to keep the salvaged car and take an insurance payment for partial damages, you will be responsible for the vehicle. This means you can:

  • Sell the car for parts.
    • Generally, you’ll sell it to a business that deals with junking, scrapping, dismantling, recycling, or otherwise making use of the car parts.
  • Obtain a salvaged title from the MN DVS, after which you may decide to:

Whether you decide to keep the total loss vehicle will depend largely on your own financial situation and insurance policy. Make sure you take the time to go over your options and their implications with your insurance provider.

Minnesota Salvage Titles

The MN Driver and Vehicle Services issues Minnesota salvaged titles for the following types of vehicles:

  • Late model cars.
  • High-value cars.

The DVS will need you to provide certain paperwork when applying for a MN salvage title. Call your local DVS office or the DVS’ main line at (651) 297-2126 for specifics on what you’ll need.

You can renew the registration on your salvage-titled car once.  After that, you can’t renew it again until the MN DVS clears its salvage status.

After obtaining a salvage title, you have the option to retitle the car (by clearing its salvage status) so you can drive it once more. If this is the route you choose, keep in mind the car will need to be rebuilt/repaired AND pass an inspection before it’s legal to take it out on the road.

NOTE: If your vehicle doesn’t fit the above salvage title criteria, contact the DVS or your insurance company for alternate routes you can take when dealing with your total loss car.

Salvaged Car Inspections

When you rebuild your vehicle, keep a Declaration of Reconstruction/Special Assembly (Form PS2015A) handy. Whoever makes repairs to the car will need to fill out this form, which you’ll then need to provide when your vehicle is inspected and to clear its salvage status.

When your car is reconstructed to a safe and legal condition, it’s time for an inspection! There are a number of Driver and Vehicle Services Inspection Specialists across the state—find the inspector nearest to you on the Declaration of Reconstruction/Special Assembly (Form PS2015A).  It’s recommended that you schedule an appointment ahead of time.

Before leaving the house for your inspection appointment, make sure you have:

  • Your car’s salvage title.
  • The Declaration of Reconstruction/Special Assembly (Form PS2015A), completed by whoever made repairs to the vehicle.
  • Original bills of sale, receipts, and invoices for the parts you or the repairer used to rebuild the vehicle—each sale document must be printed on letterhead.
  • The $35 inspection fee.

Once your vehicle passes inspection, the inspector will give you an inspection report—hang onto this! You’ll need it to re-title the car. Before leaving the inspection station, remember to also ask an agent if your vehicle will need a safety inspection.

If you have additional questions about salvage vehicle inspections in Minnesota, call the DVS at (651) 282-2173 for assistance.

How to Clear a Salvage Status in MN

Now that your vehicle has passed the salvage inspection, it’s time to re-title and register it by providing the following at your local MN DVS office:

  • The vehicle’s salvage title.
  • A completed:
  • Original letterhead bills of sale, receipts, and invoices on letterhead for all the parts used to reconstruct your car.
  • Your vehicle inspection report.
  • Payment for the $11 filing fee.

Once everything checks out, the MN Driver and Vehicle Services will issue your new title and registration!


Declaration of Reconstruction/Special Assembly
Complete this form as part of titling a reconstructed OR specially assembled vehicle with MN Driver and Vehicle Services. Must be signed by the repair shop owner and employee who worked on your vehicle.
Application to Title and Register a Motor Vehicle
Title and register your vehicle with Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services.
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