Salvaged Vehicles in South Dakota

Serious collisions, fire, vandalism—they can all damage your car so much that repair costs would be higher than the car’s worth. When this happens, you have a salvaged vehicle—or a total loss—on your hands.

What now? Keep reading! We’ll teach you about all the options the South Dakota Motor Vehicles Division gives you for dealing with a salvaged vehicle.

What Is a Salvaged Car in SD?

Your vehicle is considered salvaged in South Dakota if it suffers so much damage from a collision, fire, vandalism, water, or weather that your insurance company determines it would cost more to repair the car than the car’s worth before the damage occurred (i.e. the vehicle’s actual cash value).

NOTE: The South Dakota Motor Vehicles Division DOES NOT include cars that are 10 model years old or older OR vehicles that weigh more than 16,000 lbs. in this definition.

Total Loss Claims in South Dakota

When your vehicle suffers a serious amount of damage, it’s time to file a total loss claim with your auto insurance company. As part of the claim process, your insurance provider will determine whether your car meets the total loss criteria.

If your vehicle is determined to be a salvage (total loss), then you will choose between accepting a:

  • Partial settlement, where you keep the vehicle and your insurance carrier pays you for part of the damages (the full reimbursement minus what your car was worth and any deductibles listed on your policy).
  • Full settlement, in which your insurance carrier keeps the car and pays you in full for the damages (minus any deductibles).
    • You’ll need to release any liens on the vehicle before signing over the title to your provider, if applicable.
    • Once you’ve completed the transfer of vehicle ownership, the car is your provider’s responsibility and you don’t have to worry about dealing with it anymore.

The settlement that’s best for you will depend on how much work and time you can put towards the salvage car. Before making a final decision, speak with your insurance agent about the specifics and implications of each option. 

Obtain a SD Salvaged Title

If you retain your car as part of a partial settlement, you will need to apply for a South Dakota salvaged title with the Motor Vehicles Division. To do so, submit the following items to your county treasurer’s office:

  • A completed Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration (Form MV-608).
    • Mark the box for a “Salvage Total Loss” brand.
  • Your car’s title.
  • Any paperwork your insurance provider gave you for your salvage title application.
  • Payment for the $10 title fee.

When you have your SD salvage title in hand, you can legally sell your total loss vehicle (e.g., for parts to a scrapyard or vehicle recycler) OR start making plans to rebuild and retitle it for the roads. If you decide you want to repair the car, it will first need to pass a rebuilt vehicle inspection, which we’ll cover next. 

SD Rebuilt Vehicle Inspections

Once you or a rebuilder repairs your vehicle to South Dakota’s safety and legal standards, your vehicle must pass a rebuilt vehicle inspection before you can retitle and register it.

To start, bring the following items to your county treasurer’s office:

Your county treasurer’s office will give you an inspection appointment in Sioux Falls, Pierre, or Rapid City (based on your location and schedule).

Once your vehicle passes, the inspector will give you a certificate of inspection—do not lose this! You’ll need the certificate to apply for a rebuilt title with the Motor Vehicles Division.

South Dakota Rebuilt Titles

Once your car passes inspection, you can obtain a rebuilt title and new registration through the SD Motor Vehicles Division by providing the following at your county treasurer’s office:

  • The certificate of inspection.
  • Payment for the applicable registration fees and taxes (you already made the necessary payment for a rebuilt title when you applied for your inspection).
    • You’ll receive a refund for any sales tax you paid on the parts used to repair the vehicle.

When everything’s approved, you’ll receive your South Dakota rebuilt title! Your once-salvaged vehicle is now ready for the road.


Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration
Title and register your vehicle with the South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles.
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