Salvaged Vehicles in Oregon

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Having a salvaged car on your hands—or rather, in your driveway—doesn’t mean you have a total loss. The Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV) gives several options for dealing with a salvaged car, and we’re here to explain them.

What Is a Salvaged Car in OR?

Oregon defines a salvaged car—or “totaled car”—as one that has suffered damage that either:

  • IS covered by insurance but the insurer declares the vehicle a total loss.
    • Generally, insurance companies base this decision on the vehicle’s fair market value and how much it would cost to repair the car to working conditions.
  • IS NOT covered by insurance and the repair costs would be 80% or more of the car’s fair market value.

At the end of the day, it’ll be up to your auto insurance provider to decide whether your car qualifies as a salvage vehicle. 

Junk Vehicles

Typically, you CANNOT get a salvage (or any other) title for a junk vehicle, which is a car that can only be sold for scraps and parts.

Common “junk title” brands include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Dismantled.
  • Non-repairable.
  • Non-rebuildable.
  • Scrap.
  • Parts Only.

If you’re bringing the junk vehicle to OR from another state, you MIGHT be able to retitle it IF the state that branded the car title will work with you on removing that brand. So, if another state issued the junk (or similarly branded) title, contact that state’s motor vehicle agency for assistance.

Total Loss Claims in Oregon

Usually, the first step with a salvage vehicle in Oregon is filing a total loss claim with your insurance company.

Considering information such as the vehicle’s fair market value, how much damage the vehicle sustained, and how much it would cost to repair it to a safe operable state, your provider will determine whether the car is a total loss.

If it’s determined that you have a total loss on your hands, you’ll have the option of accepting either a:

  • Full settlement: Your insurance company pays you the full amount for damages, you sign over the car title to your provider, and the vehicle is no longer your responsibility.
    • As part of assigning vehicle ownership to your insurance carrier, you may have to provide proof of lien satisfaction (if applicable).
    OR
  • Partial settlement: Your insurance company pays partial damages and you keep the vehicle.
    • Refer to the state’s information on settlement payments for an idea of how much monetary compensation you’ll receive if you decide to keep the car.
    • You can then sell the totaled car to a scrapyard, recycler, or dismantler OR apply for a salvage title, repair the vehicle, have it inspected, and retitle it for use on public roads once more.

The best settlement for your situation will depend on how much money and time you can dedicate to the vehicle. Set aside some time to speak with your car insurance agent about what option is best for you, as they’ll have a good idea of how much work the car needs.  

Apply for an OR Salvaged Title

You need the following to apply for a salvaged title with the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division:

  • A completed Application for Salvage Title (Form 735-229).
  • The original car title or other proof of ownership, such as the manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO).
  • Proof of interest release from any former vehicle owners, such as lienholders or lessors.
  • An odometer disclosure if the vehicle is 9 years old or newer.
    • You can use the back of the car title or obtain a Secure Odometer Disclosure from your local Oregon DMV office.
  • Payment for the $27 salvage title fee.

You can deliver everything in person to your local DMV agency OR by mail to:

DMV—Salvage Titles
1905 Lana Avenue N.E.
Salem, OR 97314 

If you need help putting together your salvage title application, give the OR Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division a call at (503) 945-5122.

Once you have your Oregon salvage title, you can start rebuilding your vehicle to state safety standards for its salvaged inspection. If the car passes, you’ll then be able to retitle the car as “reconstructed,” and drive it once more!

*NOTE: Once the DMV issues your salvaged title, the car’s registration will be cancelled. You can’t renew the registration or purchase/display license plates on a vehicle with a salvaged title. When you need to transport the salvaged vehicle, you’ll need to purchase a trip permit.

Apply for an Oregon Reconstructed Title

Ready to apply for your Oregon reconstructed title and get that salvage back on the road? If so, head to your local OR DMV office with the following:

  • A completed Application for Title and Registration (Form 735-226).
  • The salvaged title.
  • An odometer disclosure, if your vehicle is under 10 years old.
    • You can use the back of your car title or a Secure Odometer Disclosure, which is available at the DMV office.
  • Original release and bills of sale:
    • For the major component parts used to rebuild the vehicle.
    • From any previous owners of the car.
  • Payment for the following fees:
    • VIN inspection*: $7.
    • Reconstructed title:  $77.
    • Registration fees: Refer to the DMV’s fee chart for the costs applicable to your vehicle.

A few of the required items for an OR reconstructed title can be complicated—call the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division at (503) 945-5000 to confirm you have everything you need for your title and inspection. 

*NOTE: The VIN inspection will be performed during your visit to apply for a reconstructed Oregon title.

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