Salvaged Vehicles in New Jersey

When your car becomes so damaged your insurance company declares it a total loss, what are you to do? Exactly how much have you lost, and is there anything actually salvageable about your salvage vehicle?

On this page, we’ll go over your options and requirements when it comes to dealing with a salvaged car in New Jersey.

What Is a Salvaged Car in NJ?

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) defines a salvage car as a one that’s so damaged, your insurance provider decides it would be uneconomical to repair it. Generally, this means repair costs outweigh the car’s actual cash value before the damage occurred.

When you know you have a salvaged car on your hands, it’s time to decide whether or not you’d like to keep it—we’ll go into the finer details of this decision next. 

Salvage Settlements

If your car fits the criteria for a salvage vehicle, your insurance company will have you file a total loss claim. At the end of the claim, you’ll have the option of accepting a full settlement OR a partial settlement.

So, how to you choose what’s best for your situation? Let’s look further into each option. 

Full Settlement

You might decide your car isn’t worth salvaging and decide to accept a full settlement, in which:

  • You’ll sign over the car title to your insurance company.
  • Your provider:
    • Pays you in full for damages.
    • Provides you with any the necessary paperwork, including proof of lien satisfaction (if applicable) and retain ownership of the vehicle.

The salvaged car is now your insurance company’s responsibility, and you can officially move on from your total loss. 

Partial Settlement

If you decide to keep your total loss car and accept a partial settlement:

  • You still sign the car title over to your insurance company.
    • Although you’re the one applying for a salvage title, the title must be in your provider’s name and include a stamp stating New Jersey sales tax was satisfied (your insurance company knows how to handle this part).
  • Your insurance company will give you a completed Insurance Listing Sheet (Form BA-28)—hold onto this! You must have this form to apply for a salvage title.
  • A statement from your insurance company detailing how the vehicle was acquired.

Now, some common options for dealing with your salvaged car include:

When you decide to keep your salvaged vehicle, your options open up. It’ll require some time and effort on your end, but with the right resources you can get your car back on the road and maybe even turn a profit from your total loss!

Surrendering Your NJ Registration

Regardless of how you handle your salvaged car, if you don’t plan on transferring the junked or salvaged car’s registration to another vehicle, you must surrender your registration documents and license plates to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission for cancellation

Surrender your registration and plates in person at any NJ MVC location OR by mail to:

NJ Motor Vehicle Commission
P.O. Box 129
Trenton, NJ 08666

If you surrender by mail, include a self-addressed and stamped envelope so the NJ MVC can mail a receipt back to you.

How to Get a NJ Salvaged Title

*NOTE: If you need a salvage title for a vehicle that was stolen and has not been recovered, you’ll need to follow the directions for a “Stolen” stop title, outlined further down in this section.

To apply for your New Jersey salvage title on a vehicle physically in your possession, take the following items to one of the Motor Vehicle Commission’s salvage services offices:

Once you have your salvage title, you can repair your vehicle. Then, when the rebuilding is done and the car passes inspection, you can apply for a standard title, which allows you to legally drive your vehicle on public roads. 

Salvage Tile with “Stolen” Stop

If you’re applying for a salvage title because of unrecovered theft, you must take the following items to a New Jersey salvage services MVC office:

  • An Insurance Listing Sheet (Form BA-28) OR a letter from your insurance provider on company letterhead, either of which must:
    • Explain the vehicle is an unrecovered theft and the salvage title is necessary to close the total loss claim.
    • Include the type of loss (in this case, unrecovered theft), the owner’s name, and the car’s actual cash value, make, model, year, and serial number.
  • A copy of the police report.
  • The original and properly completed New Jersey car title.
  • A Power of Attorney, if applicable.

If you have questions about applying for a salvage title on an unrecovered stolen car, call the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission’s salvage title phone number: (609) 292-6500 extension 5063.

New Jersey Salvaged Car Inspection

The NJ Motor Vehicle Commission provides Salvage Vehicle Information (Form OS/SS-4), which explains everything you need to know about vehicle repairs and inspections. Take some time to CAREFULLY READ THE DOCUMENT.

Below is a quick rundown of what the MVC requires for salvage inspections; FIRST you must:

  • Take color photos of the vehicle before AND after you repair it.
    • See the examples of acceptable pictures provided on the information sheet.
  • Collect the bills of sale for all major component parts, to include the purchase date and price for each part, and the buy and seller’s name and address.
    • Refer to the information sheet for a list of all major component parts.
  • On the final page of the information sheet, list out the vehicle identification number(s) (VINs) of the car(s) from which the replacement major component parts were taken.

NEXT, you’ll need to submit the following items in person at your nearest salvage title service location OR by mail to the address on the information sheet:

  • A completed Salvage Inspection Application (Form OS/SS-3).
  • A check or money order payable to “NJMVC” for the $200 salvage vehicle inspection fee.
    • The fee is non-refundable and valid for 1 year.

After turning in the items above, you can schedule your inspection appointment at an approved inspection site. Once your appointment’s set up, fax copies of the following items to the inspection site:

FINALLY, when your appointment date arrives, take the following to the inspection site:

  • Your New Jersey salvage title.
  • The completed Salvage Inspection Application (Form OS/SS-3).
  • All bills of sale for the major component part replacements.
  • Photographs of the vehicle before AND after repairs.
    • Submit a damage report if you don’t have pictures of the vehicle before repairs were made.
  • The work order(s) for all repairs, to include the VINs for all the parts used to rebuild your car.
    • Include the VIN numbers and repair details.
  • If you have a:
    • Flood salvage vehicle: A damage report from your insurance provider.
    • Theft recovery salvage: A police report from the agency that recovered the vehicle.

Once your reconstructed car passes inspection, you can apply for a standard title! You’re just steps away from being able to take your car out on the road again.

The process of having your salvaged vehicle inspected requires a lot on your end—call the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission’s Special Title Unit number at (609) 292-6500 extension 5063 for assistance along the way.

NOTE:  Not all repaired salvaged cars need inspections; see “Older Salvage Cars” below for details. 

Apply for a Standard NJ Title

In addition to providing proof your rebuilt car passed inspection, you can convert your NJ salvage title to a standard title the same way you would handle the titling and registration of a recently-purchased vehicle. Jump over to our pages on New Jersey title transfers and car registration for instructions. 

With a standard title in hand, you’ll have taken your car from a total loss back to the Turnpike—you can legally drive your vehicle on New Jersey roadways!

If you have questions about retitling your salvage vehicle, don’t hesitate to give the MVC’s Special Title Unit number a call at (609) 292-6500 extension 5063.

Older Salvage Cars

Typically, a salvaged car that’s at least 8 years old doesn’t need an inspection to be eligible for a standard title. If your car falls into this category, apply for a NJ standard title with the Motor Vehicle Commission by providing:

  • The salvage title.
  • Color photos of the vehicle on all sides before AND after repairs were made.
  • Bills of sale, receipts, and/or invoices for the replacement major component parts.
    • These must include the vehicle’s make, model, year, and VIN.
    • See the Salvage Vehicle Information (Form OS/SS-4) for the MVC’s complete list of major component parts. 
  • All work orders for repairs done on the car.
  • A damage report from your insurance provider.
  • Payment for the $60 standard title fee.

Mail the above items to:

NJVMC Special Title Unit
P.O. Box 017
Trenton, NJ 08666

If you’d like clarification on any of the requirements for a standard title on older cars, call the MVC’s salvage office at (609) 292-6500 extension 5063.

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