Salvaged Vehicles in Utah

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The Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) provides several options for handling a salvaged car. Even though your insurance company calls it a total loss, you still might be able to get a little something out of it. Read on for more. 

What Is a Salvaged Car in UT?

In Utah, a salvaged car is one that is so damaged that the repair costs would exceed the vehicle’s fair market value (before the damage occurred) UNLESS the vehicle has a wholesale value of $2,000 or less. If your vehicle has a lower wholesale value, speak to your insurance provider or contact the UT DMV at (800) 368-8824 for more information.

A non-repairable car is one to which any of the following apply:

  • No resale value except as a source for scraps and parts.
  • Stripped of major component parts as a result of theft, AND still has a valid vehicle identification number (that could be used for illegal purposes).
  • Burned to the point where the vehicle is no longer functional.

Unless you’re self-insured, your insurance provider will determine whether your vehicle is a total loss (the industry’s term for salvaged or non-repairable cars) and work out a total loss settlement with you, which we’ll go over next. 

Total Loss Claims in Utah

When your car sustains serious damage, you’ll file a total loss claim with your insurance company. If your vehicle is determined to meet the criteria for a total loss, your insurance provider will give you the option of choosing a:

  • Full settlement, where you sign the car title over to your carrier and receive payment in full for damages (minus your deductible).
    • Aside from providing proof of lien satisfaction (if applicable), your insurance company is now fully responsible for the salvage vehicle.
    OR
  • Partial settlement, in which you maintain car ownership and your provider pays you for partial damages (full settlement minus the value of the car and any deductibles).

The best settlement for you will depend on how much time and money you can devote to the vehicle. Speak with your insurance agent about their recommendations, as they should have the best idea of how much work the total loss requires.

Self-Insured Car Owners

If you self-insure your vehicle, you’ll need to determine your car’s salvage status and apply for the correct title on your own.

The Utah Division of Motor Vehicles requires that self-insured car owners apply for a salvage title within 10 days of the damage-causing incident. With a salvage title in hand, you can sell your car for parts OR rebuild it to state standards for inspection and retitling.

Apply for a Utah Salvaged Title

As mentioned above, you must surrender your car title to the UT DMV and apply for a salvage title within 10 days of the total loss settlement (if you have car insurance) OR 10 days of the car sustaining damage (if you self-insure your vehicle).

To apply for a Utah salvaged title, head to your local DMV office with:

  • A completed Vehicle Application for Utah Title (Form TC-656).
    • Mark the appropriate brand, i.e. salvage or non-repairable.
  • The car’s current title.
  • Payment for the $6 title fee.

If you need help applying for your UT salvage title, give the Division of Motor Vehicles a call at (800) 368-8824.

UT Rebuilt Car Inspections

Once you or a rebuilder repair your salvaged car, it’s time to bring it in for a safety inspection by a state-certified vehicle inspector. Call the UT Highway Patrol at (801) 965-4889 for inspection station locations and specific safety inspection requirements. Below is a GENERAL OUTLINE of Utah’s rebuilt car inspection process.

Typically, you will need to provide the following at your UT safety inspection:

  • All bills of sale, receipts, and/or invoices for the parts you used to repair the vehicle.
    • Make sure you include the seller’s name and contact information as well as the make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car from which the parts came.
  • A vehicle damage disclosure statement (you may have to obtain this form at the safety inspection station) which should include:
  • Details about the vehicle’s damage.
  • A description of all repairs and how they were made.
  • A signature attesting the description is correct.

Once your car passes, the certified inspector will provide you with any necessary paperwork to prove you completed the safety inspection—do not lose this! You may need it to apply for a rebuilt title.

Again, please contact the Utah Highway Patrol directly at (801) 965-4889 to verify your car repairs and required documents are in order BEFORE you go in for a safety inspection.

NOTE: Your salvaged car MIGHT also need to pass a traditional smog check and safety inspection.

Apply for a Utah Rebuilt Title

After you’ve completed Utah’s required safety inspection, you can apply for a rebuilt title by providing the following items at your local DMV agency:

  • A completed Vehicle Application for Utah Title (Form TC-656).
  • The salvage title.
  • The paperwork you received from the safety inspector to prove your rebuilt car passed inspection.
  • Payment for the $6 title fee.

If everything’s up to par, the Division of Motor Vehicles will issue your Utah rebuilt title and you can drive your once-salvaged car again!

If you have additional questions about converting your salvaged title to a rebuilt title, call the UT DMV at (800) 368-8824. 

Utah Unbranded Titles

Your salvaged car MIGHT be eligible for an unbranded title (i.e. one without a “salvage” or “rebuilt” designation) IF there was major damage to 1 major component part, at most.

If there is damage to a 2nd component part, that damage MUST NOT be major—meaning it’d take fewer than 10 hours to repair.

Your reconstructed car must undergo the same vehicle safety inspection rebuilt branded cars go through. However, for an unbranded title, you must also have your car inspected BEFORE you make any repairs. Depending on your situation, inspections for unbranded titles could be mandatory DURING the rebuilding process as well.  

Contact the UT Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division (MVED) for details on obtaining an unbranded vehicle title. The MVED oversees the pre-repair inspection process for unbranded titles and can answer any further questions you have. 

NOTE: Flood-damaged vehicles DO NOT qualify for unbranded titles.

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