Salvaged Vehicles in West Virginia

Do you have a salvaged car on your hands? Keep reading for details on what you must do to satisfy West Virginia law and how you can work with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to recuperate some of your loss.

What Is a Salvaged Car in WV?

In West Virginia, a salvaged car is:

  • One so damaged it would cost 75% or more of the vehicle’s fair market value to repair.
  • A flood-damaged vehicle that had water in the passenger area and/or trunk

Typically, your auto insurance company will determine whether your car qualifies as a salvage, or, total loss.

Cosmetic Total Loss

A cosmetic total loss is similar to a regular total loss in that the cost to repair damages would approach or exceed the car’s actual cash value. However, to qualify, the damages must only be cosmetic—meaning the vehicle can continue operating safely and legally on state roads and highways (it just might not look too pretty passing by!).

To apply for a cosmetic total loss salvage title, submit the following to your local DMV office:

  • A completed Certificate of Cosmetic Total Loss (Form DMV-SV-5).
    • Your insurance provider will need to fill out a section of this form.
  • The original car title.
  • Payment for the $22.50 title fee.

Speak with your insurance agent for details on restrictions and requirements when it comes to having a cosmetic total loss salvage title.  

WV Salvaged Settlements

Generally, when your car sustains serious damage, the first step is filing a total loss claim. Your insurance company has its own process, but typically—after inspecting the damage and declaring the car a total loss—your provider will offer you the following settlement options:

  • Full settlement.
    • You take complete payout and your insurance company keeps the car.
    • Other than providing proof of lien removal (if applicable), the total loss isn’t your responsibility anymore, and you can put the settlement money towards finding a replacement vehicle.
  • Partial settlement.
    • You take partial payment from your insurance provider and keep the car.
    • You must apply for a salvage title, after which you can:
      • Sell the car to a business that deals with scrapping cars (e.g. junkyard or car recycler).
      • Repair the car, have it inspected, and apply for a reconstructed title so you can get it back on the road.

Consult with your insurance agent before making a final decision—they’ll have the best idea of how much time and money your totaled car requires to get up and running again.

Going forward, we’ll assume you accepted a partial settlement and kept the car for yourself.

Apply for a WV Salvaged Title

Applying for a salvage title in West Virginia is easy. Just provide the following items at your local DMV office:

  • A completed Salvage Certificate Application (Form DMV-SV-1).
  • The car title (assigned to you).
    • Record the odometer reading on the back of the title if your car is 20 years old or newer. You can record the mileage using an Odometer Certification (Form DMV-TM-1) if there isn’t space on the title.
  • The $22.50 salvage title fee.

Once you receive your West Virginia salvaged title, you can start reconstructing your car to its original glory. BEFORE starting repairs, take pictures of your car on all sides (front, rear, left, and right)—you’ll need to provide these photos at your reconstructed vehicle inspection.

If you have additional questions about applying for a salvaged title, call the WV Division of Motor Vehicles at (304) 558-3900.

WV Reconstructed Car Inspections

Once you’ve rebuilt the car, it must pass a safety inspection AND a reconstructed car inspection, in that order. 

Safety Inspection

First, you must take your car to a safety inspection station licensed by the West Virginia State Police (WVSP). Many auto repair shops and similar businesses can perform safety inspections, but call ahead to make sure.

You can tow or haul the car, or you can obtain a single trip permit from the WV State Police to drive to the inspection site. If you’d like to request a one-trip permit, call your local WVSP Troop for assistance. Safety inspection fees can vary, but should cost no more than $14.66.

Once your car passes, the inspector will affix a sticker to the windshield that’s valid for 24 months and complete a Certificate of Inspection (Form DMV-202-TR) for you—keep this certificate safe! If it’s lost, stolen, or damaged, you’ll need to have your car re-inspected.

Rebuilt Inspection

After the safety inspection, your car will need to pass a reconstructed vehicle inspection. The West Virginia DMV provides a list of DMV offices that perform reconstructed vehicle inspections and their respective dates and times of availability. Always call ahead to confirm the office will be open and ready for an inspection. 

You can tow or haul your car to the inspection site or request a single trip permit—call your local WVSP Troop for instructions.

When it’s time for your reconstructed vehicle inspection, bring:

  • Your reconstructed car.
  • The salvaged title.
  • Photos of the car BEFORE repairs.
  • Bills of sale, receipts, and/or invoices for all parts and labor needed to rebuild the car.
    • In addition, provide the vehicle identification number (VIN) for any replacement major component parts taken from other cars—see the DMV’s brochure on salvaged/reconstructed vehicles for qualifying major component parts.
  • Proof your car passed the safety inspection.
    • Your car will have the safety inspection decal BUT it’s a good idea to bring the completed Certificate of Inspection (Form DMV-202-TR) too.

Once your vehicle passes, the inspector will complete and give you a Reconstructed Vehicle Examination (Form DMV-SV-3). You’re only one step away from obtaining a reconstructed vehicle title!

Rebuilt Titles in West Virginia

Conveniently, you can apply for a rebuilt WV title at the same DMV office that performed your reconstructed vehicle check. right after the inspection’s complete.

Submit the following to the DMV:

  • The salvage title.
  • The original Reconstructed Vehicle Examination (Form DMV-SV-3), completed and signed by the reconstructed vehicle inspector.
  • A completed Application for Certificate of Title (Form DMV-1-TR) with the “RECONSTRUCTED” brand box marked.
  • IF you’re registering the car at the same time:
    • Proof of WV auto insurance.
    • Copies of the front and back of your old registration card (if the car is still registered) and you’re transferring the license plate.
  • Payment for the applicable fees:
    • Inspection fee: $35.
    • Titling fees: Refer to the fees chart on your title application for specifics.
    • Registration fees: See the DMV’s registration fees brochure.

Once all your paperwork’s been processed and confirmed to be correct, you’ll receive your West Virginia reconstructed vehicle title! Now you can take your previously salvaged car on the road again.

If you need help putting together your application for a reconstructed title, give the WV Division of Motor Vehicles a call at (304) 558-3900.


Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle
Apply for a West Virginia vehicle title through the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Odometer Certification
Use this form to disclose the number of miles on a vehicle you're selling in West Virginia. Must be notarized.
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