Salvaged Vehicles in Nevada

In Nevada, there are many paths a salvaged car can take.  Starting with the type of damage incurred, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) maps out your options, which could potentially lead to redemption through rebuilding your total loss vehicle. Keep reading for more.

Types of NV Salvaged Cars

Overall, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and state laws define salvage vehicles using the following categories:

  • Total loss.
    • The damage exceeds 65% of the car’s fair market value immediately before the damage occurred (excluding the cost of paint).
  • Flood damaged.
    • Water was higher than the car’s door sill and came into contact with the electrical system after entering the passenger, truck, and/or engine compartment.
    • Your insurance company declared the car a total loss due to water damage as part of a settlement.
  • Non-repairable—Any of the following may apply:
    • The vehicle is damaged to the point where it only derives value as a source for scrap metal or parts (doesn’t include abandoned vehicles).
    • You (the owner) designate the car for dismantling.
    • The car is stripped of its lights, body panels, doors, etc.
    • The vehicle is damaged beyond a repairable condition.

In addition to the salvage criteria above, the NV Department of Motor Vehicles imposes certain restrictions when it comes to classifying older and relatively less-damaged vehicles, which we’ll go over below.    

Older Cars

If your car is 10 model years old or older, it’s NOT a salvaged car if only a limited number of repairs are necessary. This means the hood, trunk lid, AND/OR UP TO 2 components below need repairing:

  • Doors.
  • Headlight assembly.
  • Taillight assembly.
  • Grill assembly.
  • Bumper assembly.

When your vehicle requires more than the “limited number of repairs”, the parameters for a total loss (described above) apply. 

Non-Salvage Rebuilt Vehicles

Even if the damage doesn’t qualify your car as a salvage (per the descriptions above), your car must pass a vehicle inspection and have a rebuilt title if you’ve replaced at least 1 major component, including the:

  • Floor pan assembly.
  • Roof assembly.
  • Cowl assembly.
  • Rear clip assembly.
  • Entire front inner structure (for unibody vehicles).
  • Conventional frame PLUS 1 major component part.

If you’re still unsure about whether your car is a salvage, call the Nevada DMV at (775) 684-4785 for assistance. 

Your Options with a Salvaged Car

In Nevada, the process for dealing with your salvage vehicle will differ depending on if you:

  • Have collision and comprehensive insurance coverage: Your insurance company will decide whether your vehicle meets the Department of Motor Vehicles’ salvaged car definitions and assist you in applying for a salvage title.
  • Do not have collision and comprehensive coverage: It’s your responsibility to determine whether your damaged car meets the DMV’s salvaged vehicle definitions; if it does, your next step depends on whether the vehicle:
    • Has a lienholder: You notify the lienholder within 10 days of the damage, after which they have 30 days to apply for a salvage title.
    • Does not have a lienholder: You have 30 days from determining the car’s salvage status to apply for a salvaged title

In either scenario, having a salvage title opens up your options for dealing with the vehicle. After obtaining a Nevada salvage title, you can:

  • Sign the car title over to your insurance company (if your policy allows for it).
  • Sell the vehicle to a DMV-licensed salvage pool, rebuilder, wrecker, car auction, junk vehicle dealer, or motor vehicle dealer.
  • Keep the car, repair it*, and apply for a rebuilt title once it passes inspection.

The right choice for your situation will depend on the amount of time and money you can devote to the salvaged vehicle. If you don’t have a lot of wiggle room, selling the car or signing it over to your insurance provider may be your best option. However, rebuilding the car to working condition means you won’t have to worry about replacing the vehicle.

*NOTE: If your car is aged 5 model years or fewer, you must FIRST go to your local DMV agency for an inspection granting you permission to rebuild the car. If you get the thumbs-up, a DMV employee will complete an Authorization for Vehicle Restoration (Form VP 209) for you—hold onto this! You’ll need it to legally repair your car and apply for your rebuilt title. 

Removing Your NV License Plates

The NV Department of Motor Vehicles requires you to remove your vehicle’s license plates once it’s determined to be a salvage. You can then:

  • Transfer them to another car within 30 days.
  • Apply for a registration refund by providing the NV DMV with:
    • The salvage title OR a letter from your insurance provider stating the vehicle is a total loss.
    • The salvaged car’s license plates.
  • Apply for a credit toward another car registration by surrendering the plates to the DMV within:
    • 60 days if they’re standard-issue plates.
    • 30 days if they’re special plates.

Visit the DMV’s guide to plate surrender for details, as well as info on applying for registration refunds and credits.

Apply for Nevada Salvage Title

First, remember that applying for a salvage title is:

  • Your insurance company’s responsibility if you have comprehensive and collision coverage and your provider declared the vehicle a total loss—your agent will walk you through the process of retaining vehicle ownership if you want to keep the car. OR
  • The lienholder’s responsibility if there’s still a lien on the vehicle.

If it’s your responsibility to apply for a salvage title with the Department of Motor Vehicles, head to your local NV DMV office with:

  • A completed Application for Salvage Title or Non-Repairable Certificate (Form VP213).
    • Pay close attention to the sections YOU must complete; some areas are for insurance companies or other businesses, when applicable.
    • You’ll need to select the salvage category your vehicle fits into.
  • The properly assigned car title.
  • Proof of lien satisfaction, if applicable.
  • A check or money order made payable to “Department of Motor Vehicles” for the applicable fee:
    • Salvage title: $10.
    • Non-repairable title: Free.

If you have questions while putting together your salvage title application, call the Nevada DMV’s Salvage Unit at (775) 684-4785.

Nevada Vehicle Safety Inspections

If your car is 5 model years or less, you must have a completed Authorization for Vehicle Restoration (Form VP 209) BEFORE you can rebuild the vehicle. An employee at your local DMV office needs to complete this form, which grants you permission to repair your salvaged car.

Once you’ve made the necessary repairs to your vehicle, it must pass a safety inspection before a rebuilt title can be issued. This inspection verifies all parts were legally acquired and are up to NV safety standards.

You can ONLY have your rebuilt vehicle inspected at a:

  • Nevada-registered garage.
  • Licensed NV body shop.
  • Rebuilder licensed in Nevada.

Bring the following items to your safety inspection:

Once your car passes the safety inspection, you’re in the home stretch! Now it’s time to apply for a rebuilt title with the NV Department of Motor Vehicles.

*NOTE: You will need to complete your portion of the inspection certificate either before a notary public OR a Nevada DMV agent when you go to apply for your rebuilt vehicle title. 

NV Rebuilt Title & Car Registration

Generally, the process of applying for your Nevada rebuilt title requires you to present the following at your local DMV office:

Again, this is general. Contact the NV Department of Motor Vehicles’ Salvage Unit, at (775) 684-4785 for specific instructions, applications, supplemental documents, and fees you’ll need to obtain a rebuilt title.


Certificate of Inspection/Affidavit of Vehicle Construction
Submit this completed inspection certificate to the DMV when applying for a rebuilt vehicle title in Nevada. Form must be completed by an authorized rebuilder AND a DMV employee.
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