Salvaged Vehicles in Vermont

Sometimes, salvaged cars are total losses; however, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a few dollars out of them—or even get them back on the road. On this page, we’ll look at the different options the VT Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) gives you for handling a salvaged car.

VT Salvage vs. Rebuilt Vehicles

A Vermont salvaged car, or total loss, is one that is so damaged it would cost more to repair it to its pre-damaged state than the car is worth (also known as the actual cash value).

A rebuilt car is one with a car title previously branded salvage but has both been repaired and passed anti-theft and safety inspections, making it  eligible for a rebuilt title. In Vermont, rebuilt cars are also known as prior salvage cars.

Total Loss Claims in Vermont

If your car has been badly damaged, most often your first step is to file a total loss claim with your insurance carrier.

The exact process can vary by insurance company, but in Vermont your insurance agent is required to notify you within 10 business days of receiving your claim. If you haven’t heard anything within that time period, make sure you give your agent a call.

After notifying you, your insurance company will begin the claims process. Typically, this includes:

  • Having you complete all applicable paperwork.
  • Arranging to have a claims adjuster inspect the damage and determine repair cost estimates.

Once your insurance company receives the adjuster’s reports, they will determine whether the vehicle meets the criteria for a total loss. If your car does qualify, generally, Vermont settlement standards require that you’re offered the following settlement options:

  • Replacement for your total loss car with a comparable motor vehicle.
  • Payment of a cash settlement based on:
    • The actual cash value of the vehicle, less your policy’s deductible.
    • The cost of a comparable motor vehicle in your area and quotes from at least 2 dealers.

Again, this is a general outline. Call your insurance agent to confirm the details specific to your policy and situation.

What Happens to the Salvaged Car?

Depending on the offer you accept, you might choose to:

  • Transfer ownership of the vehicle to your insurance provider by:
    • Accepting the full cash settlement amount.
    • Signing over the car title to your insurance company.
  • Keep the car, after which you:
    • Receive a partial cash settlement (your provider will likely subtract the value of your total loss from the full cash settlement amount).
    • Can apply for a salvaged title, then:

If you transfer the car to your insurance company, it’s no longer your responsibility and you can start thinking about purchasing a replacement vehicle. Moving forward in this guide, however, we’ll assume you decide to keep the salvaged car for yourself. 

Apply for a VT Salvaged Title

When you keep the salvaged car, you must apply for a VT salvaged title* within 15 days of the total loss settlement. To do so, you must provide the:

Contact the Vermont DMV at (802) 828-2000 for details on where to submit your application and for answers to any other questions you have about applying for a salvaged title.

Once you receive your salvaged title, you can start repairing your car to state safety and legal standards with the goal of eventually getting it back on the road.

* NOTE: The VT Department of Motor Vehicles DOES NOT issue salvaged titles for vehicles older than 15 years old. Call the DMV for information on what to do if you have an older vehicle. 

VT Rebuilt Car Inspections

After you rebuild your salvaged car for highway use, you must bring it in for both an anti-theft AND a safety inspection before applying for a Vermont rebuilt title.

VIN Assignment 

IF your rebuilt vehicle doesn’t have a vehicle identification number (VIN), you’ll need to apply for one BEFORE taking the car in for an anti-theft inspection. To do so, you’ll need:

Submit the above items to:

Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles
120 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05603

The DMV will call you at the number you provide on the form with further instructions on attaching the new VIN to your rebuilt car. 

Anti-Theft Inspection

Generally, authorized representatives from the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles perform anti-theft inspections for rebuilt cars. Call the VT DMV at (802) 828-2000 for details on scheduling an anti-theft inspection, legally transporting your rebuilt vehicle to the inspection site, and the inspection fee.

During your inspection, the DMV agent will verify:

  • The vehicle identification number (VIN).
  • All bills of sale and/or titles for the major component parts used to rebuild the car.

Once your vehicle passes, the inspector will give you the necessary proof of anti-theft inspection paperwork—do not lose this! You’ll need it to apply for a rebuilt title.

Safety Inspections

Generally, when your insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss and you rebuild it, it also must pass a safety inspection—and possibly an emissions test—before you can apply for another car title.

BEFORE you can take your car in for a safety inspection, you must have proof of the proper: 

  • VT car insurance.
  • Registration.
    • Contact the Vermont DMV at (802) 828-2000 for information on obtaining a reconstructed car registration. In some cases, you might get a temporary registration; in others, you might be able to get a regular registration before obtaining your rebuilt car title.

Once you have your registration and insurance, you can schedule a safety inspection appointment with a DMV-approved inspection station.

At the inspection, you must present:

  • Proof of completed Vehicle Inspection .
  • Proof of registration and car insurance.
  • The appropriate inspection fees:
    • Inspection sticker: $6.
    • Any additional costs specific to the inspection station, such as hourly rates and service charges—call ahead for details.

Your inspector will check that the vehicle meets state safety (and again, possibly emissions) standards and complete the necessary paperwork for you. Take this paperwork (along with the VIN inspection paperwork) with you to apply for your rebuilt title.

Rebuilt Titles in Vermont

After you’ve completed the necessary inspections, you can apply for a Vermont rebuilt title by submitting:

Call the Department of Motor Vehicles at (802) 828-2000 for details on where to submit the above items or with any lingering questions you have about applying for a rebuilt title. Once everything’s said and done, you’ll have your rebuilt title and can take your car back on the road again!


Rebuilt/Salvage Title Application
Apply for a Vermont title for a rebuilt or salvaged vehicle or watercraft.
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