Salvaged Vehicles in Texas

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How to register a TX rebuilt salvage vehicle:

For full details, keep reading below!

When your car suffers damage so extensive that it’s uneconomical to repair, you or your insurance company might declare it a total loss, or a salvaged vehicle. How can you make the most of that loss? Follow along as we go over the different options the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) gives you for dealing with your salvaged car. 

Texas Salvaged Car Definitions

Regardless of the model year, your vehicle is considered a salvage (or total loss) if it’s so damaged and/or missing a major component part that the repair costs (excluding repainting) are greater than the vehicle’s actual cash value immediately before the damage occurred.

Sometimes the damage to a vehicle is so extensive that the car has no value except as a source for scrap metal or parts. These vehicles are considered and eventually branded as non-repairable. If you have a non-repairable car on your hands, you’ll need to apply for a non-repairable title, which follows the same steps as applying for a salvage title in Texas.

Generally, your insurance company determines whether a car meets Texas’ salvage or non-repairable criteria. However, if you self-insure your vehicle, you can voluntarily apply* for salvaged car status.

* NOTE: If you self-insure your vehicle, you must apply for a salvage title BEFORE the 31st day following the date of the damage. With a TX salvage title in hand, you can sell the car to a salvage dealer/agent or rebuild and retitle it for the road.

Salvaged Settlement Options

Generally, you’ll file a total loss claim when you believe your car is damaged enough to qualify as a salvaged vehicle. At the end of the claim you’ll have the option of choosing a:

  • Full settlement, in which:
    • You sign over the car title to your provider and are no longer responsible for the vehicle (aside from releasing any liens, if applicable).
    • Your provider pays you a full settlement, minus any deductibles on your policy.
    OR
  • Partial settlement, in which:
    • You keep the car.
    • Your insurance carrier pays a partial settlement (the full settlement minus the value of your car and any deductibles).
    • You’re responsible for applying for a salvaged title and deciding if you will:

Be sure to speak with your insurance agent about each settlement option, as they will have the best idea of how much time and work your vehicle needs.

Apply for a Texas Salvaged Title

To apply for a salvaged title in Texas, mail the following items to the Department of Motor Vehicles:

  • A completed Application for Salvage or Nonrepairable Vehicle Title (Form VTR-441).
  • The car title, properly assigned to you.
  • If applicable, any lien releases.
  • A personal check, cashier’s check, or money order for the $8 salvage title fee, made payable to “Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.”
    • Add $2 if you need a certified copy.

You can send the above items by regular OR express mail:

  • Standard mail:
    • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
    • ATTN: Title Control Systems
    • P.O. Box 26450
    • Austin, TX 78755
  • Express mail:
    • Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
    • Vehicle Titles and Registration Division
    • ATTN: Title Control Systems
    • 4000 Jackson Ave.
    • Austin, TX 78731

Allow the TX DMV at least 6 business days from receiving your application to mail your Texas salvage title back to you.

If you have additional questions about applying for a salvage title, call the TX Department of Motor Vehicles at (888) 368-4689. 

Inspections for Reconstructed Cars

During the rebuilding process, make sure you have:

  • A Rebuilt Vehicle Statement (Form VTR-61)—whoever’s repairing the vehicle will need to list any component parts used to rebuild the car on this form.
  • All the bills of sale for any component parts used for repairs.

Once you or a rebuilder finish repairing your salvaged car, you must bring it in for an anti-theft inspection. Only an inspector from an authorized Texas Department of Public Safety inspection station can inspect the car. Be sure to contact the inspection station of your choosing and ask about appointment requirements, dates and hours of operation, and inspection fees

At your TX anti-theft inspection, you’ll need to provide:

Once your vehicle passes the anti-theft inspection, the inspector will write an authorization code on your Rebuilt Vehicle Statement (Form VTR-61) as proof that your car has been inspected. You need this code to re-title your reconstructed car.

Title & Register a Rebuilt Car in TX

Now it’s time to apply for your rebuilt salvage title and car registration!

To do so, submit the following to your county tax assessor’s office:

After your application’s processed and approved, you’ll receive your Texas rebuilt vehicle title from the DMV! Your total loss is now a roadworthy vehicle and can be driven once more.

If you need help putting together your application for a rebuilt title, don’t hesitate to call the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles at (888) 368-4689. 

Additional TX Salvage Information

Above, we’ve given you a basic guideline on how to handle salvage cars, salvaged titles, and rebuilt titles. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles provides a very detailed guidebook—the Salvage/Nonrepairable Motor Vehicle Manual—which covers all possible situations. Refer to this manual or give the DMV a call at (888) 368-4689 if we didn’t cover your specific situation on this page. 

Forms

Rebuilt Vehicle Statement - VTR-61

Submit this form when applying for a title on a rebuilt salvage vehicle. Must be completed by a certified vehicle inspector. Form only available from the Texas DMV's form library.

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