Your car is essential for getting from point A to point B, so what happens when your auto insurance provider deems your vehicle a total loss? A vehicle will be deemed a total loss when the vehicle sustains at least 75% damage. In this situation, the cost to repair the car to proper operating order exceeds its fair market value. Let’s talk more about selling your salvage car in Maryland.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MD DOT) defines a salvaged car as one that has been deemed a total loss and sustained extensive damage to the point it would cost more to repair the car than the car is worth. Once your vehicle is determined to be a total loss, the MD Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) requires the vehicle’s owner to apply for a salvage car title.
If your auto insurance provider deems your vehicle a total loss, you can accept a full or partial auto insurance settlement claim.
With partial auto insurance claims, you’ll be able to keep your car, allowing you to repair the car and apply for a rebuilt car title (if the car passes inspection). Also, your auto insurance provider will pay you for partial damages to the vehicle.
Full Insurance Claim
In a full insurance auto claim, your auto insurance provider keeps the vehicle and pays you in full for the vehicle’s damage. With the full payment you receive, you can purchase a vehicle that is the same make and model as the total loss vehicle.
Before you will be eligible to receive a salvage title for your car, you must satisfy specific eligibility criteria. You must have a vehicle that has damages that exceed 70% of its fair market value. Once a vehicle’s damage exceeds 75%, but remains repairable, or has sustained flood damage, the MD MVA may see fit to brand the vehicle as a rebuilt salvage or a flood vehicle, depending on the damage the vehicle sustains.
Your car’s fair market value (FMV) is the average price that a private seller and buyer will agree to pay for your vehicle. This value is based on the price other drivers have paid for a similar vehicle, as well as other factors, including brand reputation, supply and demand, and optional features. A car’s fair market value differs from its trade-in value. Your auto insurance provider also uses your car’s fair market value to determine the payout for your vehicle in case of an accident.
While both the actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost are methods of compensating for property damage or loss, they are still different. The actual cash value of your vehicle is its market value minus depreciation. The replacement cost is the amount it would cost to purchase a new car of the same make and model. Although actual cash value policies often have lower premiums than replacement cost policies, ACV policies pay less in the event of a claim.
Yes, you can legally sell your salvaged car in Maryland. However, you need to make sure the car is properly prepared to be sold. You must have the car’s title and a bill of sale. If you no longer have the car’s title, you must apply for a rebuilt car title.
Avoiding salvage title fraud is a lot easier than you think. As the seller of a salvage vehicle, you are responsible for disclosing that the vehicle has been salvage-branded. To disclose the car’s salvage information correctly, state that your vehicle is a salvage in your vehicle’s selling description. It’s best to make this information the first sentence of the vehicle’s description. It wouldn’t hurt to put this information in capital letters so it stands out to potential buyers.
Neglecting to disclose the vehicle’s salvage information can result in different penalties and fines. Even if you choose to sell a salvage-rebuilt car (you make the necessary repairs and then sell the vehicle), the car will still have a salvage-branded title, so you need to make sure you still disclose that your car has a Maryland Salvage-rebuilt car title.
A branded vehicle title is a vehicle title that indicates a vehicle has extensive damage. This damage is so severe that it could affect the vehicle’s safety and reliability permanently. Serious vehicle damage can also affect the vehicle’s value.
Many vehicles receive a salvage-brand title when an auto insurance company deems a vehicle a “total loss”. These types of vehicle brands may note that the vehicle is to be salvaged or is a salvage, has been rebuilt from salvage, or has been flood damaged. Vehicles may also acquire a salvage brand title if they have a fraudulent odometer reading, or are considered a lemon (a vehicle that has a variety of manufacturing issues that affect its overall utility, safety, and/or value.
Be advised that the definition and qualifications for salvage title brands vary by state and can ONLY be given by a government agency, such as the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or the equivalent. Brands are noted on the car’s paper title, but they are also recorded electronically and bound to the vehicle identification number (VIN). Salvage information is also present on a car’s history report.
The most common types of salvage brands for vehicles include the following:
- Lemon title brand
- Odometer rollback title brand
- Salvage title brand
- Rebuilt title brand
- Water-damaged title brand (Flood-damaged)
- Hail-damaged title brand
Yes. You are required to have a bill of sale to sell your salvage car in Maryland. A bill of sale is a legal document that acts as a receipt for the transfer of ownership of an item, such as your vehicle, from a seller to a buyer. The bill of sale must include the following information:
- The seller and buyer’s name and address
- A description of the vehicle, including the make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
- The vehicle’s selling price
- The date and location of the sale
- License plate number
- Current odometer reading
- Signatures of the buyer and seller
Like most states, Maryland has salvage vehicle restrictions. In Maryland, you can’t legally operate a salvage-branded vehicle unless it has been repaired, passed inspection, and you’ve obtained a rebuilt car title.
The Maryland MVA allows you to sell your vehicle without its title. However, you must contact an MVA customer service representative at (410) 768 or (800) 492-4575 for TTY. Since you are the vehicle’s seller, you must write the buyer’s name and address in the “Assignment of Ownership” box on the car’s title. You need to also provide the agreed-upon vehicle price and the date.
If your vehicle is 7 years old or newer and you’re selling it for less than its book value, you must provide a Bill of Sale (Form VR-181). If your vehicle had a lien, you must provide a Notice of Security Interest Filing (Form VT-217) to prove the lien(s) has been satisfied. Be advised that there is a $20 filing fee.
Before you can apply for a Maryland salvage car title, you must meet 1 of the 6 following criteria:
- An auto insurance provider obtains a vehicle by a claim settlement and the car’s title certificate is not destroyed, defective, or lost.
- An auto insurance provider plans on selling a damaged vehicle at a public auction
- An auto insurance provider receives a report that its customer’s vehicle has been stolen
- An individual or a company purchases an abandoned vehicle at a police auction
- A vehicle dismantler, scrap processor, or recycler intends to scrap or dismantle a vehicle.
- An individual wants to keep their damaged vehicle.
If your auto insurance provider keeps your vehicle as part of a total loss settlement, your auto insurance provider is responsible for obtaining the car’s salvage title.
In a scenario where you keep the salvage vehicle, you are responsible for obtaining the car’s salvage certificate. In this instance, your auto insurance provider will notify the MD MVA that your vehicle has been declared a total loss and that you will retain ownership of the vehicle UNLESS the damages are 75% or less of the car’s fair market value.
Keeping your salvage vehicle means you are required to apply for one of the following appropriate branded titles:
- Salvage certificate
- Rebuilt salvage (if your vehicle is repairable)
- Flood damage (if your vehicle was declared a salvage because of flood damage)
You can apply for any of the above-mentioned Maryland salvage-branded titles by submitting the following the your local MD MVA branch:
- A completed Application for Salvage Certificate/Owner Retention (Form VR-028)
- The vehicle’s title
- A lien release (if applicable)
- A copy of your state-issued ID card or driver’s license
- Payment for all applicable fees:
- $40 for a rebuilt salvage title
- $20 for a salvage title certificate
You must submit the above-required documents in person at your local MD MVA branch or by mail to the following address:
Salvage Unit RM 104
6601 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
After completing this step, you’ll need to wait to receive a safety inspection notice from the MD MVA. Your vehicle must pass this inspection within 90 days of receiving the notice, or the MD MVA will suspend the car’s registration. If you are not able to have your vehicle inspected before the deadline, you can turn in your license plates to avoid registration cancellation. If you have questions or concerns regarding obtaining a salvage title or need further assistance, contact the MVA Salvage Unit at (800) 950-1682.
Once you rebuild your vehicle, the vehicle must pass an MD vehicle inspection and a safety inspection. If you’re keeping a vehicle that was issued a rebuilt salvage or flood damage branded title, these vehicles must pass only a safety inspection.
If the MD MVA sent you a Notice of Inspection (Form VR-310), your vehicle is not required to pass a salvage inspection. Instead, your vehicle must pass a vehicle safety inspection.
A Maryland State Police (MSP) salvage inspector is required to conduct the vehicle’s salvage inspection to ensure the vehicle and parts that were used to repair the vehicle weren’t stolen. The MSP will also make sure the serial numbers have not been illegally removed. You can schedule an appointment online and pay the $25 vehicle inspection fee.
Before you make your way to the inspection appointment, make sure you have the following items:
- The appointment confirmation (you can print this out once you schedule your online inspection)
- Proof of identification (driver’s license)
- The vehicle’s branded title
- Proof of ownership for all parts that were used to repair the vehicle (such as a bill of sale, receipts, etc.)
After your vehicle passes inspection, the MSP inspector will stamp your salvage car title as “Approved” and you can apply for a temporary car title and registration, which is valid for 30 days. The temporary title allows you to legally operate your vehicle to the safety inspection.
If the VIN on the car’s dashboard is damaged or removed, a member of the MSP’s Auto Theft Unit must inspect your vehicle at the Glen Burnie inspection center. Call them at (410) 768-7388 for appointment times.
At your MD vehicle safety inspection, you must call your local inspection state or schedule an appointment online. Before heading to your safety inspection appointment, make sure you have your temporary registration with you. Please note that you will only have this registration if your vehicle is required to have a salvage inspection.
If your vehicle passes inspection, you will receive the Maryland Inspection Certificate. You’ll need to take a copy of this certificate to your local MD MVA branch to title and register your vehicle. Keep the purchaser’s copy for your records.
If your vehicle fails the MD vehicle safety inspection, the inspector will explain the issues that are preventing the vehicle from passing, and you must repair the vehicle, or have it repaired by the inspection station, or at another facility that repairs vehicles. The car will need to be re-inspected. The inspection fees will vary depending on the station and the parts that require re-inspection. After your vehicle passes the MD safety inspection, you can apply for your car’s title and registration. Congratulations!
The MD MVA charges different fees for vehicle registrations based on the vehicle’s weight and age. The following are the MD registration fees based on different vehicle classes:
- Class A (passenger cars) – $135 – $187
- Class B (multi-purpose vehicles) – $180 – $252
- Class C (trucks and tractors up to 26,000 lbs. – $243 – $324
- Class D (tractors that weigh at least 26,001 lbs. – $351 – $432
- Class E (trailers up to 20,000 lbs. – $50 – $150
- Class F (trailers 20,001 lbs. or more) – $150 – $250
There are a lot of salvage yards throughout the state of Maryland. We suggest finding a salvage yard that’s local to you. Here are a handful of Maryland salvage yards.
Decker’s Salvage Company Inc.
2200 Berlin St.
Baltimore, MD 21230
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4:30 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
B&B Auto Salvage Ltd.
18911 Central Ave.
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)
Foys Auto Salvage
24985 Harrington Rd.
Greensboro, MD 21639
Monday – Friday (9 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday (9 AM – Midnight)
Deckers Salvage West Inc.
3847 Littestown Pike
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4:30 PM)
Saturday (8 AM – 12 PM)
There are different methods you can use to sell your salvage vehicle. However, whichever selling method you choose, make sure you disclose that you are selling a salvage-branded vehicle to avoid getting involved in salvage title fraud and dealing with a variety of penalties and fees.
A private sale occurs when you’re selling your car to another person and not a business, such as a salvage yard or junkyard. You’ll set your asking price for the vehicle and wait for someone to want the car. This can be a long waiting game, so if you’re in a hurry to get cash for your car, you’ll want to choose a different selling option.
If you want cash for your car in as little as 72 hours or less, you’ll want to sell your salvage car to a salvage yard or junkyard. In most scenarios, you will receive cash in hand the same day once the tow truck driver inspects your vehicle and matches the VIN. Also, most salvage yards and junkyards don’t charge a towing fee! However, check with the salvage yard or junkyard you plan to use to see if there is a fee.
If you don’t mind waiting to get the most money for your salvage vehicle, you may be interested in selling your car’s parts, also known as parting out your car. If you know your way around a vehicle, you can remove the parts, or hire a mechanic to help you.
If you don’t want the hassles and the expense of repairing your vehicle and completing numerous steps to obtain a rebuilt car title, you can sell your vehicle as is. After you sign over the car’s title, you are no longer liable for anything that deals with the car, such as titling and registration and other applicable fees or required vehicle processes.
Selling a salvage-branded vehicle will be more difficult than if you were selling a non-salvage-branded vehicle because of the different steps and processes you are required by law to complete. However, even though your vehicle has a salvage brand, there are a lot of people who want to purchase your vehicle and make the necessary repairs.
Obtaining a Maryland rebuilt car title and registration is similar to the standard vehicle titling and registering process. To title and register your rebuilt vehicle, you must provide the following:
- The properly assigned salvage title
- An Application for Certificate of Title (Form VR-005): You can complete the “Application for Title and Registration” on your current MD salvage certificate.
- Proof of a valid auto insurance policy
- Proof that your vehicle passed the salvage inspection (if applicable) and safety inspection
- Proof of purchase (bill of sale, if you are the car’s buyer)
- An odometer disclosure statement (alternatively, you can write the mileage on the completed salvage title or bill of sale)
- Lien information (if applicable)
- A power of attorney if someone other than the vehicle’s owner is signing for the vehicle title
- Payment for the applicable title and registration fees and taxes
You must submit the above-listed items for your new MD vehicle title and registration in person at your local full-service MD MVA branch or mail these documents to the following address:
6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
You will receive your new vehicle title and registration documentation by mail. However, if you submit your application in person, you will receive your registration card, license plates, and expiration stickers immediately. If you have questions or need assistance with the Maryland vehicle rebuilt application process, contact the MD MVA at (800) 950-1682.
You now know different ways to legally sell your salvage-branded vehicle in Maryland and the steps you must take to keep your vehicle. Happy selling or repairing!