Salvaged Vehicles in North Dakota

One bad collision or freak accident can lead your insurance company to declare your vehicle a salvaged vehicle, or, as the North Dakota insurance business says, a “total loss.” When this happens, you have a couple of options going forward.

First Steps: Full vs. Partial Settlements

North Dakota law states a car is a salvaged vehicle if the damages exceed 75% of the car’s actual cash value. Your insurance company will determine whether the car meets the criteria for a total loss, and if it does, your provider will instruct you on filing a total loss claim.

At the end of the total loss claim, you can accept a:

  • Full settlement and let your insurance company keep the vehicle.
    • Your provider will pay you the car’s actual cash value MINUS your deductible.
    • Unless you need to provide proof of lien satisfaction, the vehicle becomes your provider’s responsibility.
  • Partial settlement and keep the car for yourself.
    • Your carrier will pay you the actual cash value MINUS the deductible AND the car’s value as a salvage.
    • By retaining ownership, you can apply for a salvaged title and then:

The best settlement for your circumstances will depend on how much time and money you can commit to the salvaged vehicle. Take the time to speak with your insurance agent about your options so you can make the smartest choice for your situation.

Apply for a Salvage Title in ND

You must return your original car title to the North Dakota Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) within 10 days of your insurance provider declaring your car a total loss. The MVD will then issue your salvaged title for a $5 fee.

Contact the ND MVD at (701) 328-2725 for specifics on applying for a salvage vehicle title. 

North Dakota Salvage Car Inspections

After you repair your salvage vehicle, it must pass inspection before you can apply for a new ND title with the Motor Vehicle Division. You can have your car inspected at most local repair shops, however, the shop you choose MUST:

  • Be registered with the North Dakota Secretary of State (SOS)—use the agency’s business records search to confirm the shop’s ND registration.
  • NOT be the same shop that repaired/reconstructed your salvage car.

The inspector will complete a Certificate of Vehicle Inspection (Form SFN 2486) to indicate whether certain parts of your rebuilt or reconstructed car are up to the state’s safety standards. The inspector might also ask to see repair-related documents such as:

  • Bills of sale for replacement major component parts.
  • Receipts for parts used to reconstruct the vehicle.
  • Invoices for the repair services performed on your vehicle.

Contact the inspection station for the exact paperwork you need to bring to your inspection. If you have questions about getting your vehicle up to North Dakota’s safety standards, give the MVD a call at (701) 328-2725.

Apply for a New ND Title

Once your vehicle passes inspection, you can apply for a regular North Dakota car title. Generally, you will need to mail the following items to the Motor Vehicle Division: 

Send the required items above to:

Motor Vehicle Division
608 E. Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58505

Before putting your application in the mail, be sure to contact the ND Motor Vehicle Division at (701) 328-2725 for details on additional paperwork and steps that may be required on your part.

Once the MVD approves your application, you’ll receive a regular North Dakota title stamped with the words “previously salvaged”. Now your total loss is totally ready for the road again!


SFN 2872
Application for Certificate of Title and Registration of a Vehicle
Apply for a new, renewal, OR duplicate ND DOT title, registration, or tabs.
SFN 2486
Certificate of Vehicle Inspection
To be filled out by a certified ND vehicle inspector. Also used to certify repairs to a salvaged or junked vehicle.
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