How to Sell a Salvage Car in Delaware

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The stress of selling a car can be overwhelming, and selling a salvage car can further complicate things. To help make sure you have everything you need, we created a simple guide to help you sell your salvage car in Delaware. All applications, forms, and other documentation will be submitted to your local Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles (DE DMV).

Table of Contents

How is a Salvage Car Defined in Delaware?

The DE DMV defines a salvage car, also known as a total loss vehicle, as one that has been damaged during a wreck or other accident that causes the repair costs to exceed the vehicle’s actual worth. When your auto insurance provider deems your damaged vehicle a salvage or total loss, you can choose a partial or full settlement.

Should I Choose a Full or Partial Auto Insurance Settlement?

Choosing a full or partial auto insurance settlement is your choice. Depending on what you want to do, such as keep the car or get rid of it, you will choose a full or partial settlement.

Partial Insurance Settlement

If you want to get rid of your car and have nothing else to do with it, a partial settlement is not what you’re looking for. With this settlement, your auto insurance provider will pay for partial damages, and you can keep your vehicle. You can sell your vehicle for parts or repair the car and apply for a rebuilt car title with your local DE DMV.

Full Insurance Settlement

Accepting a full insurance settlement is your ideal situation if you want to get rid of your car and not have to worry about anything regarding the car. With this settlement, you’ll sign your car’s title over to your auto insurance provider. You will be paid in full for the car’s damages. Keep in mind that you must satisfy all liens, if applicable. After completing this step, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a salvage vehicle.

Delaware Salvage Title Requirements

In Delaware, you must meet the salvage title eligibility requirements. To start the procedure for obtaining a salvage certificate of title, as the car’s owner, you must satisfy specific eligibility criteria. The Delaware DMV requires you to have a damaged vehicle that obtained damage as a result of flooding or involvement in a traffic accident.

Applying for a Salvage Title in Delaware

To start this process, you must apply for a Delaware salvage certificate. You can apply for this certificate in person or by mail.

Applying In Person

Make your way to your local DE DMV branch with the following:

  • The car title (you must also submit an odometer disclosure and sign your name under the “Signature of Buyer” and “Printed Name of Buyer.”)
  • A letter from your auto insurance provider including the following:
    • A statement that your vehicle is a total loss and an owner-retained salvage that shows you as the owner
    • The date of the loss
    • The vehicle’s model, year, make, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
    • A signature from your auto insurance provider’s representative
  • The vehicle’s license plate
  • Payment for the $35 fee

The DE DMV will issue your salvage certificate and place the license plate in retention if the vehicle’s registration is current.

Applying By Mail

Make sure you have the documents listed above and mail everything, including a self-addressed stamped envelope to the following address:

Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
Title Section
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE 19903

The DE DMV will send your salvage certificate by mail using the self-addressed envelope.

Temporary Vehicle Tags

If your car passes the DE DMV safety inspection, you are eligible to apply for a temporary tag to use until the next available inspection date with the DE State Police Auto Theft Unit. If a temporary tag is necessary past the specific date, you need to pay a $20 fee.

Will I Need to Know My Car’s Actual Cash Value?

Your car’s actual cash value will be significant if you’re interested in selling your car or scrapping it. In either situation, you need to make sure you’re getting the best deal. First, let’s talk about what an actual cash value (ACV) is.

What is Actual Cash Value?

The ACV is the car’s replacement cost minus the depreciation. You’re right! If you’re thinking your salvage car still has value, it’s true! However, your car won’t be as valuable as it was before the damage. You also need to be aware that the ACV often reflects your vehicle’s accounting value, but may not necessarily account for your vehicle’s economic value, which means your vehicle could be worth more or less than its ACV once you sell it.

How Can I Determine My Car’s Actual Cash Value?

Determining your car’s ACV involves math, but don’t worry, it’s not as bad as you may be anticipating. Here’s a simple equation you can use to determine your vehicle’s ACV:

ACV = purchase price x (expected life – current life) ÷ expected life

In general, a car’s life expectancy is approximately 11 years. Your car’s current life is the age of the car. If your car is the model year 2009, and the current year is 2023, your car’s life would be 14 years.

How Do I Sell My Salvage Car in Delaware?

To sell your salvage car in Delaware, you need to make sure you have the following required documents and items:

  • Car’s title and registration
  • Proof of identification (driver’s license, ID card)
  • Car keys
  • Your signature
  • Buyer’s signature
  • Bill of sale

You can contact your local DE DMV branch for more information about selling your salvage vehicle.

Why Am I Required to Have a Bill of Sale to Sell My Salvage Vehicle?

Yes. You must have a bill of sale to sell your salvage vehicle in Delaware. Make sure you have an original and a copy of the bill sale (1 copy for you and the other copy for the buyer). The bill of sale is the summary of the deal you and the buyer agreed to for the purchase of the vehicle.

The bill of sale includes essential information about the sale, which is important for filing taxes and obtaining legal protections once you sell the salvage vehicle. The DE DMV doesn’t have an official bill of sale document, so you will need to create one for the sale of your salvage vehicle.

Make sure your bill of sale has the following information:

  • Accurate vehicle information (model, make, year, VIN, and the current odometer reading)
  • Buyer’s information (name, address, and signature)
  • Seller’s information (your name, address, and signature)
  • Selling price and date sold

Does Delaware Have Salvaged Vehicle Restrictions?

Yes. There are salvage vehicle restrictions you need to know. Since your vehicle has sustained extensive damage, the DE DMV deems your vehicle unsafe for operation, which means you can’t legally operate your vehicle on roads or highways. The good news is you can make the necessary repairs, have your vehicle inspected, and apply for a DE rebuilt car title.

Can I Sell My Salvaged Vehicle Without the Title in Delaware?

You need the car’s title to sell your salvaged vehicle. If you’ve lost your car’s title, no need to worry. You can apply for a duplicate car title by completing an Application for a Duplicate Car Title (Form MV 213). This title must be signed by all vehicle owners.

If you and another individual own the car, you must both sign the car’s title. You will also need to provide driver’s license numbers for each owner that is listed on the form. You can go to your local DE DMV branch in person or apply for your duplicate car title by mail.

If there is another vehicle owner who can’t meet you at the DE DMV, you must have limited power of attorney. Payment for your duplicate DE car title is $50. If you have a lien on your vehicle, your lienholder must complete part of the application and pay the $55.

You will also need an odometer disclosure statement that says you have recorded an accurate odometer reading. Make sure to also include the tag number, expiration date, your driver’s license number, and the car’s VIN.

Does the DE DMV Require My Car’s Registration to Sell It?

In most scenarios, you are not required to have your car’s registration to sell it. The car’s Certificate of Title is the most important document you need when selling your salvage vehicle.

Salvage Rebuilt Car Inspections in Delaware

The rebuilt car inspection in Delaware has two parts. In addition to the DE State Police Auto Theft Unit inspection, your car must pass both the DE DMV safety and emissions inspections. You will be required to present proof of passed inspections once you re-title and register your salvaged vehicle.  Here’s what you need to know.

Delaware State Police Salvage Vehicle Inspections

As of July 1, 2018, the following documents are required by the DE State Police to perform a vehicle inspection:

  • Valdi salvage certificate
  • Bill of ale
  • Repair receipts
  • Photos of your vehicle from all angles
  • Personal photo identification (ID card or driver’s license)

The DE salvage certificate must be completed correctly and must be assigned to a DE dealer or DE resident. You will need to ensure your bill of sale includes the following information:

  • Purchase price
  • Date of purchase
  • Purchaser’s name, zip code, address, and phone number
  • Seller’s name, zip code, address, and phone number
  • A description of the purchased vehicle that includes the VIN

Your repair receipts must include the following information to be valid:

  • Item(s) purchased
  • Purchase price
  • Purchaser’s name, zip code, and address
  • Date the item(s) were purchased

If used parts were purchased from a different vehicle, the VIN from these cars must be on the receipt. Handwritten receipts are NOT accepted.

When you take photos of your salvage vehicle, make sure the photos are taken before repairs are made. These photos must be color photos that show the entire vehicle, such as the front, back, and both sides of the vehicle. You can complete these steps by taking 2 photos.

You will also be required to provide proof of identity by submitting your photo ID or your valid driver’s license.

Delaware Auto Theft Inspection Schedule

The DE DMV requires certain vehicles to be inspected by the DE State Police Auto Theft Unit. These vehicles include salvage vehicles that have been reconstructed or those missing VINs, and vehicles that can’t obtain a DE vehicle title.

Below you will find the DE Auto Theft Unit schedule:

New Castle County
(302) 265-8432
Troop 2
Contact Mark Foraker

Sussex County
(302) 752-3808
Troop 4
Contact William Groton

Kent County
(302) 698-8459
Troop 3
Contact Tom Sheehy

Inspection DatesOffice LocationOffice Hours
2nd Tuesday & 2nd Thursday of each monthDover Inspection Lane 303 Transportation Circle Dover, DE 199018:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
3rd Thursday of each monthGeorgetown Inspection Lane 23737 DuPont Blvd Georgetown, DE 199478:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
1st & 4th Thursday of each monthDelaware City Inspection Lane 2101 Mid County Drive New Castle, DE 197208:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the Auto Theft schedule or inspection, you can contact one of the following DE DMV phone numbers. When you call, make sure you are as specific as possible by disclosing the inspection lane location to be transferred to the correct location.

  • Dover Office: (302) 744-2500
  • Georgetown Office: (302) 853-1044
  • Delaware City Office: (302) 326-5000
  • Wilmington Office: (302) 434-3200

Why Are Salvage Vehicle Inspections Performed in Delaware?

The DE State Police Auto Theft Unit performs vehicle inspections to ensure the car and the parts that were used to repair the vehicle were not stolen. These inspections are also performed to ensure the car is safe to operate on roads and highways.

Delaware Vehicle Inspection Failures

If your vehicle fails the DE State Police auto inspection, you must have the item(s) repaired and return to the inspection station that originally performed the inspection within 15 days. There is no charge for a re-test.

The DE safety inspection consists of checking your car’s tires, windows, brakes, and an exhaust emissions inspection.

How Do You Register a Salvage Car in Delaware?

Salvage vehicles can’t be registered in Delaware. If you want to hit the road again in your car that was labeled “salvage”, you must pass both DE vehicle inspections and apply for a DE rebuilt car title.

Are Salvage Titles and Rebuilt Titles the Same?

Salvage titles and rebuilt titles are not the same. A salvage title is what your vehicle is given when your vehicle has sustained extensive damage, and it costs more to repair your car than your car’s actual cash value. A rebuilt car title is the title your car will have after you repair your car and it passes the required DE vehicle inspections.

These titles are not to be confused with junk titles. Once your car has a junk title, you can only junk your vehicle at a junkyard or scrap yard. It is illegal in Delaware to operate vehicles with a “junk” brand on roads and highways.

Do I Need Auto Insurance for My Salvage Car to Have It Inspected?

No. You won’t be able to obtain an auto insurance policy for any salvage vehicle, even if you have it inspected. Salvage cars can’t be driven legally, so you must arrange to have your car towed to the inspection site. Once your vehicle passes the necessary inspections, you can obtain a rebuilt car title, and then obtain auto insurance.

How Do I Apply for a Delaware Rebuilt Car Title?

After your vehicle passes the required inspections, you must visit your local DE DMV branch with the following:

  • The car’s salvage certificate
  • Vehicle inspection report
  • The Application for Title (Form MV 214)
  • Proof of auto insurance
  • Payment for the $35 titling fee and all other applicable fees

Once these steps are completed and the payment is received, the DE DMV will then process your new DE car title and registration.

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Delaware Rebuilt Car Title?

If you need your rebuilt car title immediately, you may be able to request a rush title for an additional fee. In general, it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 days to process your DE rebuilt car title and receive it in the mail.

Delaware Vehicle Title and Registration Fees

The following are the vehicle title and registration fees in Delaware. Make sure you have the correct payment and payment method to avoid possible fees and penalties.

Standard Vehicle Registration

  • Yearly renewals: $40
  • Late renewal: $20
  • Temporary Tag or Permit: $20
  • Courtesy inspection: $4

Delaware Title Fees

  • Title with lien: $55
  • Title without lien: $35
  • Duplicate: $50

How Can I Make the Most Money for My Salvage Vehicle in Delaware?

As you know, your salvage vehicle has value. Now we can discuss how to make the most money from your salvage vehicle. Keep in mind that the selling method you choose must be one that you are willing to see from beginning to end.

Selling Your Vehicle in a Private Sale

Selling your salvage vehicle in a private sale is a good selling option if you want to take your time and find someone who is interested in your car. This selling method can take time, but if you’re not in a rush, this may be the perfect option.

Selling Your Car to a Junkyard or Salvage Yard

If you’re looking for a quick sale, selling your salvage car to a junkyard or salvage yard may be your best bet. Not everyone is meant to play the waiting game, and that’s okay. Many junkyards and salvage yards will give you cash in hand the same day!

Parting Out Your Car

You can also sell your car’s parts. If you’re looking for a nice payday, parting out your car could be the solution. This selling method can be a frustrating, daunting task, but it can also be rewarding. If you don’t know your way around a vehicle, a mechanic can help you choose the car parts that are the most valuable and currently in demand.

Selling As-Is

Selling your car As-is, is the perfect solution if you don’t want the hassle that comes with paperwork and paying fees to get your vehicle registered. We get it. You don’t have the time to make the necessary repairs to get your car on the road and don’t want to go through the inspection process. Selling as-is can be a quick sale, or it can take time. It depends on the current market and which cars are in demand.

The Importance of Disclosing Your Vehicle’s Information

You are required by law to disclose the vehicle you’re selling has been branded a salvage. As the seller of the vehicle, you are liable for disclosing your car’s condition. Failure to disclose vehicle information could result in multiple fines.

Factors to Keep In Mind

When you’re selling a salvage car, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First things first. Selling a salvage car can be difficult. To make the selling process as easy as possible, you need to have the necessary paperwork. When you’re prepared, the selling process can be simple and straightforward.

As we previously stated, disclosing your car’s condition is required by law. You must make it clear to all potential buyers that the vehicle you’re selling is a salvage. It’s also good to tell buyers how the car became damaged and how the vehicle was used before the damage.

When buyers know exactly what they’re getting, the smoother the sale will go because they know what to expect. Your potential buyers will likely be mechanics or DIY gurus who are looking for a new project, which is excellent!

How Much Does Having a Rebuilt Car Title Affect My Car’s Value?

Having a rebuilt car title does affect your car’s overall value. However, a rebuilt car title matters when it comes to auto insurance matters. Although you can obtain auto insurance once you have your DE rebuilt car title, it’s likely you won’t be able to obtain full coverage because of the damage.

Who Buys Salvage Cars Near Me in Delaware?

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a scrapyard in Delaware. However, we suggest choosing one that is local. Here are a few scrapyard locations to help you get started.

Fitzgerald Salvage & Recycling
17115 Fitzgeralds Rd.
Lincoln, DE 19960
(302) 422-7584
Monday-Friday (8 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday (8 AM – 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Donovan Salvage Works
20262 Donovans Rd.
Georgetown, DE 19947
(302) 856-9501
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4:45 PM)
Saturday (8 AM – 2:45 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

C&M Short Auto Salvage & Sales
4673 S. State St.
Magnolia, DE 19962
(302) 697-2117
Monday – Friday (8:30 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday (8:30 AM – 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Dover Scrap Metal
3221 Hartly Rd.
Hartly, DE 19953
(302) 492-5091
Monday – Friday (8:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
Saturday (8:30 AM – 12:30 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

How to Avoid Salvage Title Fraud

Getting mixed up in salvage title fraud is easier than you may think. As the car’s owner, you’re responsible for many things, including informing the buyer that you’re selling a salvage car. Delaware law requires you to disclose that the car you’re selling has been labeled a salvage. Failure to provide this information to potential buyers could result in fines and other penalties.

Different terms that can mean your vehicle is a salvage can include any of the following:

  • Totaled
  • Junk
  • Non-repairable
  • Warranty returned
  • Reconditioned
  • Flood damaged
  • Reconstructed/Rebuilt
  • Damaged payback

Selling a salvage car in Delaware doesn’t need to be more complicated than it is. We’ve made sure you have the information you need to sell your salvage car without too many hassles. Happy selling!