Salvaged Vehicles in Missouri

Do you believe in second chances? Do you want to give your car one?

If so, you’re in luck! In Missouri, your total loss vehicle doesn’t have to go to waste. By obtaining the right salvage title, your car may find redemption following a wreck. Keep reading for more.

What Is a Salvaged Car in MO?

The Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) defines a salvaged car (also known as a total loss) as one that’s:

  • Aged fewer than 7 model years when the damage was incurred.
  • Damaged to the point where it would cost more than 80% of the car’s fair market value to repair.

Your insurance provider will need to certify the above qualifications and then you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to keep the salvage vehicle. 

Filing a Total Loss Claim

When believe you have a salvage vehicle on your hands, you’ll file total loss claim with your insurance carrier. If your car is determined to meet the total loss criteria at the end of the claim process, you can accept:

  • A partial settlement where you keep the vehicle and receive payment for partial damages from your provider. OR
  • A full settlement in which your insurance provider takes ownership of the vehicle and reimburses you for the vehicle.

Make sure to speak with your insurance company about the finer implications of the settlements above. The best choice for you will depend on your financial situation and type of insurance policy you have.

Salvaged Car Titles in Missouri

If you keep your totaled car as part of a partial settlement, you’ll need to apply for the appropriate Missouri title. The Department of Revenue’s requirements for obtaining a title for a total loss car will depend on whether the vehicle is operable OR non-operable.  

If the vehicle is operable, you can apply for a prior salvage title.

If your insurance company determines your totaled vehicle is non-operable, apply for a MO salvage title by submitting the following at your local DOR agency

  • A completed:
  • The car’s original certificate of title.
  • A notarized lien release, if applicable.
  • Payment for the:
    • Title fee: $8.50 (quick titles are additional $5.)
    • Processing fee: $6.

    You’ll then receive your salvage title! From there, you have the option to repair the vehicle to working condition and apply for a prior salvage title. Remember, as part of applying for a prior salvage title, your car will need to pass an inspection. If that sounds like too much, you might opt to sell the car to a buyer who’s willing to fix it up. 

    MO Salvage Vehicle Inspections

    You’ll have to get your salvage car inspected in Missouri BEFORE applying for a prior salvage title, regardless of whether you had to make repairs to the vehicle.

    To start, you’ll need to purchase a Vehicle Examination Certificate* (Form DOR-551) by providing a check or money order for $25 plus $6 processing fee, payable to “Department of Revenue”: 

    • In person at your local DOR licensing office.
    • By mail (along with a written request) to:
      • Motor Vehicle Bureau
      • P.O. Box 100
      • Jefferson City, MO 65105

    Once you have the form in hand, visit one of the certified salvage examination sites in Missouri for your inspection. The Department of Revenue recommends scheduling an exam at least 4 weeks out

    The inspector will hand you a completed Vehicle Examination Certificate (Form DOR-551). Don’t lose this certificate! You’ll need it to get your prior salvage title.

    *NOTE: The state also provides a sample form for you to review before requesting one.

    Prior Salvage Titles in Missouri

    You will need a Missouri prior salvage title from the DOR if any of the following apply:

    • Your vehicle has a salvage title and you rebuilt the car to safe operating conditions after it was considered to be non-operable in a total loss claim.
    • Your insurance company considered your vehicle to be operable, without needing repairs, following a total loss claim.

    To apply for a MO prior salvage title, provide:

    • A completed:
    • The current proof of ownership, for:
      • Rebuilt salvage vehicles: Salvage title.
      • Cars deemed operable in a total loss claim: Regular certificate of title.
    • The Vehicle Examination Certificate (Form DOR-551), which must be no more than 60 days old and obtained before applying for a prior salvage title.
    • If you purchased the salvaged car, the bill of sale to indicate the purchase price.
    • Payment for:
      • Prior salvage title: $8.50.
      • Title processing fee: $6.
      • All applicable taxes on the purchase price of the vehicle and any replacement parts that don’t indicate sales tax was previously paid (if applicable)—speak with an agent at your local DOR office for specifics.
    • If the vehicle was rebuilt/repaired, the following additional items*:
      • Notarized bills of sale AND copies of the vehicle titles for all major component part replacements.
      • All invoices, receipts, and bills of sale for items used to replace essential parts.

    You can either deliver the above items in person to your local DOR office OR by mail to:

    Motor Vehicle Bureau
    Special Titling Unit
    P.O. Box 2076
    Jefferson City, MO 65105

    Applying for a prior salvage title is no easy feat! Don’t hesitate to call the MO Department of Revenue at (573) 526-3669 with any questions or difficulties you have while putting together your application.

    *The Vehicle Examination Certificate (Form DOR-551) goes over the official definitions for major component and essential vehicle parts. See the state’s sample form to get a preview.


Application for Missouri Title and License
Missouri DOR's application for an original title AND/OR registration, duplicate title, registration renewal, OR transfer of license plates.
Notice of Vehicle Titling Requirements
Submit this form to the Missouri DOR if a total loss claim payment has been made on a vehicle that still qualifies for a salvage title.
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