Salvaged Vehicles in New Mexico

When you’re involved in an accident that severely damages your car, your insurance company may declare it a salvage OR a non-repairable vehicle. When you find yourself in this situation, you’re faced with a few choices: repair the car and get back on the road or scrap it and move on.

On this page, we’ll go into your options when it comes to dealing with a salvaged or non-repairable vehicle in New Mexico.

Salvaged vs. Non-Repairable Cars in NM

The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) defines a severely damaged vehicle as being a:

  • Salvaged car (also called a “total loss”), which means it’s so damaged it’s considered uneconomical to repair. OR
  • Non-repairable vehicle, which is a car to which any of the following apply:
    • The vehicle has no resale value except as a source of scrap metal or parts.
    • Most of the major component parts are missing as a result of theft.
    • The car is burned so badly it has no usable or repairable parts.

Typically, your auto insurance provider will determine which of the above categories your car falls into. Read over the NM Motor Vehicle Division’s complete definitions of salvage and non-repairable vehicles for a deeper understanding of how your car may be classified.

Full vs. Partial Settlements

If your insurance carrier decides your car meets the definition of a salvage or non-repairable* vehicle, you’ll file a total loss claim. By the end of the claim process, you’ll need to choose between accepting a:

  • Full settlement, where your insurance company takes ownership of the vehicle and pays you full damages for the car.
    • You may need to complete lien satisfaction paperwork before signing the title over to your provider, but after that, you don’t have to deal with the car anymore.
  • Partial settlement, in which you maintain ownership of the car and your insurance company pays partial damages.
    • You will need to stamp or write “SALVAGE” or “NON-REPAIRABLE” in letters at least a 1/2 inch tall at an angle of 45 degrees to the title text without covering the vehicle description.
    • You and your insurance company will complete and submit a Notice of Owner Retained Vehicle (Form MVD10651).

After accepting a partial settlement, you may decide to:

  • Sell the salvage or non-repairable vehicle to a junk yard, recycler, or other business that deals with dismantling total loss cars for parts or scrap.
  • Repair the salvage vehicle after applying for a salvage title.
    • If your repaired salvage vehicle passes inspection, you can then apply for a NM rebuilt title and legally drive your car again!
    • You CANNOT repair and retitle a non-repairable car; this option ONLY applies to salvaged vehicles.

*NOTE: Depending on the insurance policy and damage, certain non-repairable vehicles may not qualify for an insurance settlement—we’ll go over this possibility below.

No Insurance Settlement

 Depending on your insurance policy and vehicle damage, your non-repairable vehicle may not be included in an insurance settlement. When this is the case, you (the owner) must apply for a non-repairable certificate within 20 days of the loss.

To do this, you’ll need submit the following items to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division:

  • Properly signed car title or manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO).
  • The applicable fees.

Call the MVD at (888) 683-4636 for information about fees and where to deliver the required items above.

Apply for a New Mexico Salvaged Title

In general, to apply for a New Mexico salvaged title you’ll need to provide:

Contact your insurance provider and the NM Motor Vehicle Division at (888) 683-4636 for details on exact fees and paperwork and where to submit your salvaged title application.    

Once you have your salvaged title, you can start thinking about repairing the vehicle for inspection, and taking it on the road once more.

New Mexico Vehicle Inspections

After rebuilding your salvaged car, you will need a vehicle identification number (VIN) check from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database if there are different VINs on the factory chassis, cab, and/or engine.

VIN checks are conducted by most NM MVD agencies and certified VIN inspectors across the state. Make sure you call ahead for information regarding scheduling and the required documents and fees for your VIN inspection.

At the VIN check, the inspector will complete and give you the necessary Affidavit of VIN form(s), which you’ll need to apply for a rebuilt New Mexico vehicle title. 

Apply for a Rebuilt Title in NM

Typically, you must provide the following items to apply for a rebuilt title with the NM Motor Vehicle Division:

Keep in mind, this is a general outline of what you’ll need to bring; depending on your circumstances, you may need additional or fewer documents. Call the New Mexico MVD at (888) 683-4636 for specifics on what fees you’ll owe, where to submit your rebuilt title application, and more. 


Vehicle Equipment Affirmation
The MVD requires this form to verify the equipment used to build a specially constructed OR reconstructed car is up to NM standards for titling.
Specially Constructed or Reconstructed Vehicle Affirmation Form
Submit this form to the MVD when titling a specially constructed OR rebuilt vehicle in New Mexico.
DMV.ORG BBB Business Review