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You have a salvage car. Now what? There are a few things you need to do before you’re in the clear to sell your salvage vehicle, but no worries! We’ll let you know all the documents, fees, and steps you need to take to sell your salvage car in Kentucky.

How Is a Salvage Car Defined in Kentucky?

The Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles (KY DMV) defines a salvage car as one that has been damaged or destroyed to the point that repairing it to its value before the damage would cost more than 75% of its fair market value.

What Do I Do With My Kentucky Salvage Car?

The agreement you make with your auto insurance company will determine what you do with your salvage car. Determining what you’ll do with your salvage car will start with your total loss claim that you will file with your auto insurance provider. If your auto insurance company determines your vehicle is a total loss, you’ll have the option of accepting a full or partial total loss settlement.

Full Total Loss Settlement

If you choose to accept a full total loss settlement, your auto insurance provider will keep your vehicle and pay you for the damages. Once you sign the required paperwork, your salvage car becomes your auto insurance company’s responsibility.

Your insurance company’s agent will let you know about any paperwork and other steps you need to take, such as providing proof of lien satisfaction, if applicable.

Partial Total Loss Settlement

If you accept a partial total loss settlement from your auto insurance provider, you will keep your salvage vehicle and receive payment for all damages that are outlined in your auto insurance policy.

In a partial total loss settlement, you can junk your vehicle for profit or apply for a Kentucky salvage car title and rebuild the vehicle to operable conditions. You can speak with your auto insurance agent to determine which option makes more fiscal sense.

Junking Your Car

If you keep the car, you remain the car’s owner. As the owner, you can choose to junk the car by selling it to a junkyard, scrap yard, or vehicle dismantling facility for parts. You’ll need to visit your county clerk’s office with the car’s title and license plates.

Junking your vehicle, scrapping it, or dismantling it releases you from paying future Kentucky property taxes on the vehicle. If you lost the car’s title or license plates, you can submit a completed and notarized Affidavit for Replacement or Non-Exchange (Form TC 96-167) if you are still in possession of the vehicle. Make sure you complete the “Non-Exchange” section of the affidavit.

If you’ve already taken your vehicle to the junkyard, you can apply for a Kentucky duplicate car title. You may be asked to pay additional fees and submit additional documents. Check with your local Kentucky county clerk for the specifics that pertain to your unique situation.

Kentucky Salvage Title Eligibility Requirements

Before you will be able to obtain a rebuilt car title, your car must meet Kentucky’s salvage car requirements. In Kentucky, your vehicle must be deemed a total loss and the damages your car sustained must be at least 75% of the vehicle’s fair market value. If your car meets this criteria, you are eligible to apply for a salvage car title.

Can You Sell a Salvage Car in Kentucky?

You can sell a salvage car in KY. However, take note that you can NOT sell a junk car in KY. Salvage vehicles can be rebuilt, but junk vehicles can NOT. If your car has a junk car title, it can’t be rebuilt, repaired, or driven on KY roads and highways.

If you choose to sell your salvage car, you are required to obtain an Affidavit or Motor Vehicle Assembled From Wrecked or Salvaged Motor Vehicles (Form TC-96-215).

Be Aware of Salvage Title Fraud

Salvage title fraud occurs more than anyone would like to think about. As the car’s owner, you’re responsible for ensuring you don’t end up committing salvage title fraud. To avoid salvage title fraud, make sure you disclose that your car has a salvage title. This may be the first piece of information you include in your car’s description.

Do You Need a Bill of Sale To Sell a Salvage Car in Kentucky?

Yes. You’ll need a bill of sale to sell your salvage car in Kentucky. As stated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the bill of sale must contain the following information:

  • Your valid KY driver’s license or ID
  • Proof of a valid auto insurance policy (issued within the last 45 days)
  • Current KY certificate of title
  • Current registration receipt (for individuals who are registering a vehicle from out of state)

What Are the Salvage Car Restrictions in Kentucky?

As a resident of Kentucky who owns a salvage car, you need to know that you can’t operate the car on roads and highways in KY until it has passed a salvage vehicle inspection, you have obtained a rebuilt car title, and have a valid auto insurance policy on the car.

Can You Sell a Salvaged Car in Kentucky Without the Title?

You can sell your salvaged car without its title if your vehicle is at least 10 years old. If you plan on junking your salvaged vehicle, you are required to provide your KY county clerk’s office with the car’s title and license plates. This step is required to release you from future property taxes. You do NOT need the car’s title to junk your car.

If you no longer have the car’s title, you can apply for a duplicate car title by submitting an Application for Kentucky Title/Registration (Form TC-96-182). You must also have the original receipts and a notarized statement for the parts that were purchased if you repaired your salvage vehicle.

How Do I Get a Salvage Car Title in Kentucky?

To obtain a Kentucky salvage car title, you must apply for one at your county’s clerk office. You need the following to obtain a salvage car title:

  • A completed Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration (Form TC 96-182)
  • The vehicle’s title
  • Proof of lien satisfaction (if applicable)
  • Payment for all applicable fees (KY salvaged title fees can vary from standard car title fees)

After you complete the above requirements, you have 15 days to submit all documents and fees at your local KY county clerk’s office. Be advised that you can NOT operate any KY salvage-titled vehicle UNLESS you are driving it to be inspected once it has been rebuilt.

Kentucky Salvage Car Inspections

If you are going to rebuild your salvage vehicle, you must have your vehicle inspected at the Sheriff’s office to ensure its roadworthiness. You will need to ensure you have the following required documents/items:

  • Your vehicle
  • Certificate of title (registration is not required)
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Valid driver’s license (cannot be an instructor’s permit)
  • Payment for the $5 inspection fee (credit/debit cards, cash, and checks are accepted. There is a $1.50 charge for using a credit or debit card.)

Your vehicle should have no breakage in the windshield and the odometer must show the car’s accurate mileage. All mirrors must be in place and the VIN must match the car’s title.

The vehicle inspector may also check your vehicle for all safety features, including but not limited to the following:

  • Lights
  • Wipers
  • Horn
  • Turn signals
  • Glass for obstructions
  • Brakes

Be advised that other safety and vehicle features may be checked to ensure the car’s roadworthiness.

When Is the Best Time to Register My Salvaged Car in Kentucky?

Registering a salvage vehicle in Kentucky and most other states is not possible. Since your vehicle maintains a salvage title at this point, you will have to rebuild the vehicle, have it pass inspection, and apply for a rebuilt car title before you can register the car.

What Are the Kentucky Vehicle Registration Fees?

The vehicle registration fees in Kentucky depend on the type of vehicle and license plate you have. The following are the most common registration and renewal fees for standard vehicles with Kentucky license plates:

  • Standard non-commercial vehicles: $25
  • Motorcycles: $18.50
  • Farm vehicles: fees vary by weight

In addition to the KY registration fee(s), you are also required to pay the $9 title fee. If you need a rush title, the fee is $25. There is a vehicle inspection fee of $5. Be advised that the fees listed above are base fees. KY vehicle registration fees can vary by county. If you have questions or concerns, contact your local KY DMV branch.

The Difference Between Salvage, Junk, and Rebuilt Car Titles

Salvage, junk, and rebuilt car titles are often misunderstood. These titles are related in a sense, but they are different. A salvage title is what your car starts with when your auto insurance company deems it a total loss unless it is declared a junk car indefinitely.

A junk car title means the car is only valuable if it is scrapped for parts. Cars that have a junk title can’t legally be operated on roads and highways, and it is illegal to sell junk cars in Kentucky unless you are selling them to a junkyard. Your only option with a car that has a junk title is to sell it at a junkyard or have it scrapped or recycled.

A rebuilt car title is the title your car will have after you repair and rebuild it, and it passes inspection. With this title, you can also obtain auto insurance.

Who Buys Salvage Cars Near Me in Kentucky?

If you’re going to sell your salvage car to a salvage yard, you have options! It’s best to choose a Kentucky salvage yard that is local to you. Here are a handful of salvage yards in Kentucky.

Tompkinsville Auto Salvage
794 Radio Station Rd.
Tompkinsville, KY 42167
(270) 487-0016
Monday-Friday (7 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Bowtie Boneyard Auto Salvage and Sales
501 Roger Cooper Rd.
Reynolds Station, KY 42368
(270) 316-7599
Monday-Friday (8 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday (8 AM – 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Lyon’s Vintage Junkyard
2605 Holy Cross Rd.
Loretto, KY 40037
(270) 865-2212
Monday-Friday (8 AM – 8 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (8 AM – 8 PM)

Hack’s Auto Sales and Salvage
8584 Love Lee Rd.
Caneyville, KY 42721
(270) 879-9274
Monday-Friday (7:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

How Long Will It Take To Get Auto Insurance for My Salvage Car?

You won’t be able to get an auto insurance policy for a car that has a salvage title. You can, however, rebuild your vehicle and have it inspected. Once your car passes inspection, you can apply for a Kentucky rebuilt car title. At this time, you’ll be able to get auto insurance on the car.

How Do I Apply for a Rebuilt Car Title in Kentucky?

Once you rebuild your vehicle and it passes the KY vehicle inspection, you can make your way to your local KY county clerk’s office and apply for a rebuilt car title. You will need to submit the following documents/items:

  • A completed and notarized:
    • Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration (Form TC 96-182)
    • Affidavit of Motor Vehicle Assembled from Wrecked or Salvage Motor Vehicles (Form TC 96-215)
    • Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form TC 96-5) This form is required if you didn’t include the odometer reading on the car’s title and registration application.
  • The car’s original salvaged title
  • The original receipts for all parts that were purchased when repairing or rebuilding the car (if you purchased the parts from an individual, you must include the seller’s name, address, and phone number. If the parts came from another vehicle, you must include the vehicle identification number (VIN). If there was no VIN, you must provide a notarized statement explaining why.)
  • A notarized labor statement from the individual who repaired the vehicle. This statement must describe which parts were repaired and which were replaced.
  • The vehicle’s license plate
  • A lien termination statement from the lien holder (if applicable)
  • A letter from your auto insurance provider explaining all vehicle damage IF the damage did NOT exceed at least 75% of the car’s fair market value. This letter must be printed on company letterhead.
  • The original receipt if you purchase the vehicle at an auction
  • Payment for all applicable fees (rebuilt car title and registration fees can vary. Contact your county’s clerk office for specifics on the fees you will owe.)

Once you submit the above documents and payment and everything is approved, your county clerk will forward everything to the KY Transportation Cabinet. At this time, you will receive your KY rebuilt car title and registration. Congratulations! If you have questions or concerns regarding the rebuilt title application process in Kentucky, contact the KTC’s Rebuilt Support Section at (502) 564-1257 for assistance.

Options for Selling a Salvage Car in Kentucky

Selling your salvage car in Kentucky doesn’t have to be a hassle. You have the following options to sell your car.

Salvage Yard or Junkyard

You can sell your salvage car to a salvage yard or junkyard if you are looking for quick cash. If you choose this option, you won’t have to repair and rebuild the car, and you won’t have to worry about completing a lot of paperwork. As long as you have the car’s title and identification, you’re good to go!

Selling for Parts

Parting out your car can be a way to get the most money for your salvage car. However, this is not a quick way to get cash. You’ll have to remove the car’s most valuable parts and sell them. If you’re not too familiar with car parts, you’ll need to hire a mechanic to help you.

Private Sale

A private sale is one of the most common ways to sell a salvage car, but it’s often not the quickest solution. Selling your salvage car in a private sale can take time, so if you’re not in a rush, this may be a good selling option for you.

Selling As-Is

Repairing and rebuilding a salvage car takes a lot of time, effort, and money. If you don’t want the hassle of repairing and rebuilding the car, then applying for a rebuilt car title, then selling your salvage vehicle as-is may be your ideal selling option. Once you transfer ownership of the car, it’s no longer your responsibility.

If you’re selling your salvage car as-is, in a private sale, or selling it for parts, make sure you let all potential buyers know you’re selling a car that has a salvage title. It’s a good idea to disclose this information at the beginning of your car’s description. Failure to disclose you’re selling a salvage car is illegal and known as salvage title fraud. To avoid penalties and fines, make sure you let buyers know you’re selling a salvage car!