Salvaged Vehicles in New Hampshire

So, you have a salvage car on your hands, but is it really a total loss? Possibly not—you may be able to salvage some or even all of it. Keep reading to learn about the options the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) gives owners of totaled vehicles in the Granite State.

What Is a Salvaged Car in NH?

Your car is considered a salvaged vehicle if your insurance company deems it to be a total loss due to damage or unrecovered theft. In general, if your vehicle is a total loss because of damage, it means the costs of repairs approach or exceed the car’s fair market value (before the accident occurred).

Once a car becomes a total loss, whoever retains ownership must apply for a salvage title.

Full vs. Partial Settlements

If your insurance company decides your car is a total loss, you’ll file a total loss claim, in which you’ll choose between:

  • A full settlement, in which:
    • You sign the car title over to your provider and, besides satisfying any liens, you aren’t responsible for the vehicle anymore.
    • Your insurance company pays you full damages.
  • A partial settlement, in which:

Take some time to speak with your insurance agent about each settlement type; depending on the circumstances, the best choice for you may not be the same for somebody else.  

Apply for a NH Salvage Title

To apply for a New Hampshire salvage title, submit the following items in person OR by mail to the Title Bureau at the Concord DMV office branch within 20 days of accepting a partial settlement:

  • The original, properly endorsed car title.
  • A completed Application for Salvage Certificate (Form TDMV 24).
  • A check or money order made payable to “State of NH-DMV” for the $10 salvage title fee.

Once everything’s approved, you’ll receive your NH salvage title! Then, you can rebuild the car and retitle it after it passes inspection.  

Salvage Vehicle Inspections

Once you’ve repaired your salvaged car, it must pass a salvage inspection BEFORE you can apply for a rebuilt title.

You’ll need to take your repaired car to a state-approved salvage inspection location, either by towing it on a flatbed or driving it yourself after obtaining a temporary plate. Temporary plates are good for 20 days—contact your local NH DMV office for the requirements to obtain one. 

The salvage inspection’s purpose is to:

  • Verify the vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • Make sure you’ve repaired the damages listed on your insurance adjuster’s report.
  • Check that specific vehicle components are up to safe and legal standards.

At your salvage inspection, you’ll have to provide:

  • A proof of ownership for the vehicle.
    • Typically, this is the salvaged title, though, certain situations may call for a letter from the NH Division of Motor Vehicles instead.
  • Your insurance adjuster’s report that itemizes the damages and their projected repair costs.
  • Proof you’ve made the necessary salvage repairs.
    • This might include an invoice for work done by a mechanic or receipts for replacement car parts.
  • Any other applicable documents to prove your car was declared a total loss and you made the required repairs.
  • A check or money order payable to the “State of NH-DMV” for the $50 salvage inspection fee.

When your rebuilt vehicle passes, the inspector will give you a Salvage Vehicle Identification Number Verification Form (Form DSMV 547). Hang onto this! You’ll need it when you apply for a rebuilt title.

NOTE: Salvage inspections are NOT safety inspections—your car will need to pass a safety inspection AFTER it’s been retitled and registered. 

Rebuilt Title & Registration

Once your car passes the salvage inspection, you can apply for a rebuilt title and registration with the New Hampshire DMV!

The process of retitling and registering your salvage vehicle follows almost the same steps as titling and registering a newly acquired vehicle. The only difference is that you’ll need to include the Salvage Vehicle Identification Number Verification Form (Form DSMV 547) AND salvage title in your application.

Head over to our guides on NH title transfers and car registration for the rest of the instructions.

Once you have your rebuilt title and registration, you have 10 days to complete a safety inspection, which we’ll go over below. This is NOT the same as a salvage inspection.

Safety Inspection

The Division of Motor Vehicles requires your vehicle to pass a safety inspection within 10 days receiving NH registration.

You’ll need to go to a state-approved inspection station so an inspector can verify basic legal and safety requirements have been met with respect to certain vehicle components, including (but not limited to):

  • License plates.
  • Wheels and tires.
  • Vehicle steering.
  • Lights and reflectors.
  • Fuel system.
  • Wipers.
  • Brakes.

If your car is a model year 1996 or newer, it also must pass an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) test to check its emissions.

Before heading out for your safety inspection, make sure you’ve read over the New Hampshire DMV’s inspections and emissions guide—it could save you additional trips back to the inspection station!

When your vehicle passes, the inspector will give you a completed Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR)—keep this in your car as proof that your car is up to the DMV’s standards.

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