How to Sell a Salvage Car in Missouri

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Need to sell your salvage car? Not a problem! We’ll tell you everything you need to know about selling your salvage car and give you access to the forms you’ll need. Everything will be processed at the Missouri Department of Revenue (MO DOR). Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What is a Salvaged Car in Missouri?

In Missouri, the MO DOR defines a salvaged car, also known as a total loss, as a vehicle that’s aged fewer than 7 model years when the damage occurred and damaged to the point where it would cost more than 80% of the car’s fair market value to repair.

Your auto insurance provider must certify the above qualifications and then you’ll be required to decide whether you’d like to keep the salvage vehicle.

Filing a Total Loss Claim in Missouri

If you’re the owner of a salvage vehicle, you must file a total loss claim with your auto insurance carrier. If your auto insurance provider determines your car meets the total loss criteria at the end of the claim process, you can accept a partial settlement or a full settlement.

Partial Settlement

In a partial settlement, you keep your vehicle and receive payment for partial damages from your provider. You can apply for the appropriate salvage or prior salvage title or sell the car for parts to a junking/scrapping company.

Full Settlement

With a full settlement, your auto insurance provider takes ownership of the vehicle and reimburses you for the vehicle. You may be required to provide proof of lien satisfaction as part of taking this option.

It’s important to speak with your auto insurance company about the fine print of the settlement you choose. Remember that the best choice for you depends on your financial situation and the type of insurance policy you have.

Missouri Salvage Title Eligibility Requirements

Before you can receive an MO salvage title, you must ensure your car meets certain eligibility criteria, such as being declared as a salvage or total loss. If you need an MO salvage title, you may be required to obtain different types of titles depending on whether your vehicle is operable or not.

Depending on the operating condition of the car, you can get a prior salvage or a regular salvage car title. In addition to the eligibility criteria, car owners may also be required to meet other requirements as part of the application procedure.

Understanding Your Car’s Actual Cash Value and How to Determine the Value

Most owners of salvage cars believe their car doesn’t have any value, but that can’t be further from the truth. Salvage cars still have value. So, let’s talk about your car’s actual cash value (ACV). The ACV is equal to your car’s replacement cost minus its depreciation.

The ACV reflects a car’s accounting value. However, that doesn’t mean it reflects the car’s economic value. With this, your car can be more or less of value than its ACV when you sell it.

How Do You Determine A Car’s Actual Cash Value?

Determining your car’s ACV isn’t as difficult as you may be thinking. Use this equation to determine your car’s ACV:

ACV= purchase price x (expected life-current life  ÷ expected life

Let’s create a scenario. The life expectancy of a car with normal wear and tear is 11 years. The current life of your car is your car’s age. Let’s say your vehicle is a year model 2022, and the current year is 2023. The current life of your car would be 1 year. Use the appropriate numbers for the equation, and you have your answer!

Is There a Difference Between the Actual Cash Value and the Replacement Cost?

That’s a good question. Yes. The actual cash value and replacement cost are not the same. Your car’s ACV is essential when you’re obtaining a Missouri auto insurance policy. Assuming you’re the primary policyholder, you make all the decisions regarding the policy. If your vehicle is damaged in an accident of some kind, you can be paid the replacement cost of the car or the car’s ACV.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but we’ll give you some information that will help. If you want the option to be able to replace your vehicle with a new car of the same type, you’ll want to be paid the replacement cost of the car. Your other option is to be paid the car’s actual cash value. If you choose this option, you probably won’t have enough money to cover the purchase of a new car of the same type once depreciation is considered.

Can You Sell a Salvage Car in Missouri?

Yes. It is legal to sell a salvage car in Missouri. However, as the car’s seller, you are responsible for providing the proper information when selling your car. To sell a car in Missouri, you will need the following:

  • A properly assigned Certificate of Title
  • Valid safety inspection certificate that is less than 60 days old
  • Valid emissions certificate that is less than 60 days old (for county residents of Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, or St. Louis city)
  • Notarized Lien Release (if applicable)
  • Odometer disclosure and date of sale
  • Notarized bill of sale (reported to the Department of Revenue within 30 days from the date of sale)

You are also required to remove your license plate (valid or expired) before the buyer can take possession of the vehicle.

Obtaining a Pre-Sale Inspection

Missouri law requires all motor vehicles to pass a safety inspection that is performed by an authorized Missouri inspection station within 60 days of the sale unless the vehicle is exempt. Individuals who are county residents of Franklin, Jefferson, St. Charles, or St. Louis City must also get a vehicle smog inspection no more than 60 days before selling the vehicle.

The following vehicles are exempt from a Missouri safety inspection:

  • Vehicles in the first 10 years of their model years with less than 150,000 miles
  • Vehicles that are registered for at least 26,000 lbs. and registered for less than 12 months
  • “Even” model-year vehicles with registrations expiring in “odd” calendar years
  • “Odd” model-year vehicles with registrations expiring in “even” calendar years
  • All types of trailers
  • Motor vehicles for interstate commerce, and registered with the Missouri Department of Transportation
  • Motor vehicles that display historic plates
  • Motor vehicles that are sold for junk, salvage, or rebuilding
  • Motor vehicles that are sold from dealer to dealer
  • Low-speed vehicles

The following vehicles are exempt from a Missouri emissions inspection:

  • Vehicles that are registered outside of the listed counties
  • New vehicles and the first retail sale during the model year and the following year with an odometer reading with less than 6,000 miles at the time of sale
  • All types of trailers
  • Motor vehicles and RVs that weigh more than 8,500 lbs.
  • Motorcycles, dirt bikes, and motor tricycles
  • Vehicles made in the 1995 model year or older, and 1996 model year or older for diesel vehicles
  • Motor vehicles for interstate commerce, and registered with the Missouri Department of Transportation
  • Vehicles for sale as junk, salvage, or rebuilding
  • Vehicles for sale at public auction and bought and sold between dealers
  • Low-speed gasoline vehicles
  • “Title Only” vehicles
  • Vehicles with historic, school buses, shuttle buses, or street rod plates
  • Solar power, electric, hydrogen, or dual-fueled vehicles using fuels other than gasoline, diesel, or E10 and E85
  • Plug-in electric-drive vehicles

Is a Bill of Sale Required to Sell a Salvage Car in Missouri?

Yes. You need a bill of sale to sell your salvage car in Missouri. In this state, you are required to report the sale of a vehicle within 30 days of the sale. The purpose of the bill of sale is to provide legal documentation for the sale of a motor vehicle. This form acts as a receipt for the buyer and provides the seller with proof that you no longer own the vehicle. The bill of sale is also required to receive a clear title and registration for your vehicle.

You must make sure that the bill of sale includes the following information:

  • Date of sale
  • Make, model, and year of the car
  • A complete description of the vehicle (color, body, style)
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Odometer reading
  • Buyer’s full name and address
  • Seller’s full name and address
  • Purchase price of the vehicle
  • You and the buyer’s signature

What Are the Salvaged Vehicle Restrictions in Missouri?

If you are the owner of a salvage vehicle in Missouri, you are not allowed to operate the car on roads or highways. Although salvage cars are not junk cars, you won’t be able to operate the car until you make the required repairs and retitle the car.

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

You won’t be able to do anything without the car’s salvage title, including selling the car. Even if you make the necessary repairs to the car, you still won’t be able to sell the car if you don’t have the car. If you have misplaced the car’s title, you can complete an Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 108) and submit it to your local MO DOR branch.

Why is the Car Title Essential?

We’ve mentioned a car title quite a bit throughout this content. Your car’s title is more important than you may realize. You need the car title to finalize the sale of your salvage car and to prove ownership. Your car’s title includes the following information:

  • the name(s) of the car owner(s) and the following information:
  • Year, make, and model of the vehicle (may include the body type of the vehicle)
  • Vehicle color
  • Odometer reading
  • The date on which the odometer reading was done
  • Owner or owners of the vehicle
  • Owner’s address
  • The date on which the title was issued

A car’s title can also include the following:

  • Title number
  • The vehicle’s weight
  • The number of cylinders in the engine
  • The engine number
  • The type of fuel used in the car
  • The license plate number

Some states will require information regarding flood damage or a “salvage” label will be included on the car’s title. The “salvage” title can be removed if you repair the vehicle to Missouri’s safety standards. At this time, you will be eligible to apply for a salvage MO rebuilt car title, allowing you to operate the car on roads and highways.

The car’s title should have the signature of one or multiple state officials who are in charge of motor vehicles or revenue collection, such as the Division of Motor Vehicles or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Transportation (DOT), Motor Vehicle Division (MVD), and similar motor vehicle departments. In Missouri, you would have signatures from the DOR.

Can You Sell a Salvaged Car Without the Car’s Registration in Missouri?

The car’s registration, like the car title, is an essential document. However, you may not be required to provide the buyer with the registration. You are required by law to have the car’s MO title when selling it, and as long as you have the title, you shouldn’t have any problems.

How and Where Do You Get a Mississippi Salvage Car Title?

If you decide to keep your totaled car as part of a partial settlement, you’ll need to apply for the appropriate MO title. The Department of Revenue’s requirements for obtaining a title for a total loss car will depend on whether the vehicle is operable or non-operable.

If your vehicle is operable, you can apply for a prior salvage title. If your auto insurance company determines your totaled vehicle is non-operable, you can apply for an MO salvage title by submitting the following at your local MO DOR branch:

  • A completed Notice of Vehicle Titling Requirements (Form 5043). This form must be completed by your auto insurance provider.
  • A completed Application for Missouri Title and License (Form DOR-108)
  • The car’s original certificate of title
  • A notarized lien release, if applicable
  • Payment for the:
    • Title fee: $8.50 (quick titles are an additional $5)
    • Processing fee: $6

Once you complete these steps, you will receive your MO salvage car title. At this time, you can repair the vehicle to proper operational order and apply for a prior salvage title. Keep in mind that as part of applying for a prior salvage title, your vehicle must pass an inspection.

Missouri Salvage Car Inspections

You must have your salvage car inspected in Missouri before you can apply for a prior MO salvage title, regardless of whether you had to make repairs to the vehicle. To begin this process, you must purchase a Vehicle Examination Certificate (Form DOR-551) by providing a check or money order for $25 plus the $6 processing fee, payable to “Department of Revenue”.

You can complete this task in person at your local MO DOR branch or by mail (along with a written request) to the following address:

Motor Vehicle Bureau
P.O. Box 100
Jefferson City, MO 65105

Once you have the form, you can visit one of the certified salvage examination sites in Missouri to complete your inspection. The MO DOR recommends scheduling your appointment at least 4 weeks in advance.

If your vehicle passes the inspection, the inspector will hand you a completed Vehicle Examination Certificate (Form DOR-551). Keep this certificate in a safe place. You will need the form to obtain your prior salvage title. You can view the sample form here for review before requesting a Vehicle Examination Certificate. Click here to view different Missouri inspection locations.

Prior Salvage Titles in Missouri

You must have an MO prior salvage title from the MO DOR if any of the following applies:

  • Your vehicle has a salvage title and you rebuilt the car to safe operating conditions after it was considered to be non-operable in a total loss claim.
  • Your auto insurance company considered your vehicle to be operable, without needing repairs, following a total loss claim.

To apply for a Missouri salvage title, you must provide the following:

  • A completed Application for Missouri Title and License (Form DOR-108)
  • A completed Notice of Vehicle Titling Requirements (Form 5043) – if you are exempt from obtaining a salvage title because your auto insurance company determined your car to be operable in a total loss claim. This form Must be completed by your auto insurance provider.
  • The current proof of ownership for the following:
    • Rebuilt salvage vehicles: Salvage title
    • Cars deemed operable in a total loss claim: Regular certificate of title
  • The Vehicle Examination Certificate (From DOR-551). This form must be no more than 60 days old and obtained before applying for a prior salvage title. If you purchased a salvaged car, you’ll need the bill of sale that indicated its purchase price.
  • Payment for the following fees:
    • Prior salvage title: $8.50
    • Title processing fee: $6

All applicable taxes on the purchase price of the vehicle and any replacement parts that don’t indicate sales tax was previously paid, if applicable. You can speak with an agent at your local MO DOR branch for specifics.

If your vehicle was rebuilt or repaired, you must also provide the following items:

  • Notarized bills of sale and copies of the vehicle titles for all part replacements
  • All invoices, receipts, and bills of sale for items used to replace essential parts.

You can submit the above items in person at your local MO DOR branch or by mail to the following address:

Motor Vehicle Bureau
Special Titling Unit
P.O. Box 2076
Jefferson City, MO 65105

Applying for a prior salvage title can be frustrating. If you need assistance, call the MO DOR at (573) 526-3669.

What Major Vehicle Components Are Checked During a Missouri Vehicle Inspection?

During your Missouri vehicle inspection, your rebuilt salvage car’s major components will be checked. The following are the components that will be checked during an MO vehicle inspection:

  • Cowl
  • Rear clip
  • Frame
  • Body
  • Cab
  • Front clip
  • Front end assembly

Why Are Car Inspections Performed in Missouri?

Missouri performs car inspections to make sure the damage listed on the auto insurance company’s original estimate has been repaired and to certify that no stolen parts were used in the rebuilding process.

What is the Process for Registering a Salvaged Car in Missouri?

There is no process for registering a salvaged car in Missouri because it is illegal. You must make the necessary repairs, have the car inspected, and it must pass the inspection before you can apply for a rebuilt salvage car title. Once you obtain the rebuilt salvage car title, you can register the car.

Missouri Vehicle Registration Fees

The vehicle registration fees in Mississippi are as follows:

  • Sales tax of 4.225% on the purchase price of the vehicle
  • Title fee: $8.50 on all vehicles
  • Transfer fee: $2 on all vehicles
  • Title processing fee: $6
  • Registration processing fee: $6

The registration fee is based on taxable horsepower or vehicle weight. For more information about the registration fees in Missouri, click here.

What’s the Different Between a Missouri Salvage Title and a Rebuilt Car Title?

Cars in Missouri that have a salvage title have extensive damage to the point the cost of repair exceeds the car’s fair market value. It is illegal to operate salvage title vehicles on roads and highways. Rebuilt car titles are salvage cars that have been repaired and can legally be operated on roads and highways.

How is a Missouri Salvage Title Different from a Junk Title?

Salvage title cars and junk title cars have both experienced severe damage. However, salvage title cars can be repaired and given a second chance at life and able to be driven again. Junk title cars only have the option to be sold to a junkyard or scrap yard. Regardless if repairs were made, cars with a junk titles can never be driven again.

Who Buys Salvage Cars Near Me in Missouri?

There are different salvage yards in Missouri. It’s in your best interest to choose a salvage yard that’s local to you or the closest scrap yard to you. We’ve done some of the work for you. Below you will find information regarding different Missouri salvage yards.

Mid MO Auto Salvage & Recycling
471 Highway 240
Fayette, MO 65248
(660) 248-0161
Monday – Friday (9 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday (9 AM – 1 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Stalin Auto & Truck Salvage
4209 State Road Aa
Tebbetts, MO 65080
(573) 295-4212
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

K&M Auto Salvage, LLC
4901 N Wyatt Ln.
Columbia, MO 65202
(573) 474-2097
Monday – Friday (9 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Fusselman Salvage Co.
1201 W. Highway 24
Moberly, MO 65270
(660) 263-6811
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday (8 AM – 11 AM)
Sunday (Closed)

How Long Do I Have to Wait to Get a Missouri Auto Insurance for My Salvage Car?

As long as your car maintains a salvage title, you won’t be eligible to obtain auto insurance. You can, however, repair the car, pass the inspection, and obtain a rebuilt salvage title. At this time, you will be able to obtain a valid auto insurance policy for the car.

Can I Salvage My Car Without a Title in Missouri?

No. You will need the car’s title to salvage it. If you have lost or misplaced your car’s title, you can apply for a duplicate car title by completing an Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 108). Make sure you check the block that says “duplicate” to ensure the MO DOR knows you’re requesting a duplicate car title. You will also be required to provide the reason you’re applying for a duplicate title.

How Does a Missouri Rebuilt Salvage Title Affect My Car’s Value?

If your car has a rebuilt car title, it still has value. However, a car of the same make and model with no damages or minor damage, and no rebuilt salvage title will have a higher value. Having a rebuilt salvage title decreases your car’s value, even if you made the required repairs, but the car is not worthless or considered junk.

How Can I Make the Most Money From Selling My Salvage Car in Missouri?

You can indeed make money from selling your salvage car. However, you must have realistic expectations. You won’t make as much money as you would if you were selling a car that has no damage, even if you make the necessary repairs to your salvage car to make it operable again. We’ll go over your selling options and you can choose the option that’s best for your situation.

Selling Your Salvage Car in a Private Sale

Most salvage car owners prefer to sell their salvage cars in a private sale. Private car sales are made between two people and not a business. This selling method is perfect if you’re not in a rush to sell your car. If your car holds sentimental value, we understand waiting to find someone who will care for your car as you would.

Selling Your Car to a Salvage Yard or Junkyard

Selling your car to a salvage yard or junkyard is your best bet if you’re in a rush to sell your car. With this selling method, you don’t have to worry about waiting for someone to be interested in your car. You receive your cash on the spot and can continue with your day.

In most scenarios, the junkyard will pick up your car for free and you will receive the money when everything checks out. However, check with the junkyard you plan on using and ask about their towing policy. Selling your car to a junkyard or salvage yard also offers convenience. Most junkyards allow you to handle the required paperwork online, including scheduling the pick up of your car.

Selling Your Salvage Car for Parts

Selling your salvage car for parts is one way to get the most money for your car. If you’re not a mechanic or know your way around a car fairly well, it’s best to hire a mechanic. They can help you choose the car’s parts that are the most valuable. Parting out a car can be time-consuming, but if you’re willing to put in the effort, it could be the most rewarding.

Selling Your Salvage Car As-Is

Selling your salvage car as-is, is a popular selling option. This option is best if you don’t want the frustration and hassle of repairing your car, having it inspected, and obtaining a rebuilt car title to drive it again. Once you sell your car, all responsibilities that are associated with the car belong to the new owner.

Common Difficulties You May Experience When Selling Your Salvage Car in Missouri

Selling a car can be more difficult than you expected. The best way to sell your salvage car quickly in Missouri is honesty. By law, you’re required to disclose that your car is a salvage. Neglecting to tell car buyers this information can get you in a lot of legal trouble, and you’ll likely have to pay different fees and fines.

The Importance of Disclosing Information When Selling a Salvage Car in Missouri

As we previously stated, you are required by Missouri law to disclose that you’re selling a salvage car. Buyers are protected by the Lemon Law, which means if they purchase your car and you didn’t tell them they’re purchasing a salvaged car, you could face different fines and penalties.

A good practice to get your salvage car sold quickly is to disclose as much information as possible. Highlight the good and bad aspects of the car. Buyers want to know about the life the car had before it became a salvage. You can also disclose how the car became a salvage.

Another important aspect of the car’s description is the pictures. Take pictures of the car from different angles so buyers can see what they’re dealing with. In this situation, a picture is indeed worth 1,000 words.

It’s imperative that you have the required paperwork to avoid unnecessary delays in the selling process. Buyers understand that your car is a salvage, but they will always have a lot of questions, so be patient. Buyers want to know what they’re getting into, such as the time and effort they’ll need to put into the car to obtain a rebuilt car title and make it fully operable again.

How Do You Apply for a Rebuilt Car Title in Missouri?

Applying for a rebuilt car title in Missouri takes time and money, so it helps to have a little patience during this process. To receive a Missouri rebuilt car title, you’ll first need to apply for a salvage title if you don’t already have one. You will also need to know the vehicle identification number (VIN). Only the vehicle owner can apply for a salvage title or rebuilt car title.

You will need to take the following steps to receive your Missouri car title:

  • Notice of Vehicle Titling Requirements (Form 5043) – this form must be completed by your auto insurance provider
  • Application for Missouri Title and License (Form DOR-108)
  • Provide the car’s original certificate of title
  • Provide a notarized lien release, if applicable
  • Odometer disclosure, if required
  • Payment for the title fee ($8.50 + $5 for quick (rush) titles) and processing fee of $6)

Once you complete this process, you will receive your Missouri salvage car title.

Essential Documents Required to Obtain A Missouri Rebuilt Car Title

After you’ve made the necessary repairs to your salvage car and you have the Vehicle Examination Certificate, you are eligible to apply for the prior salvage title. You must provide the following information to receive your rebuilt car title in Missouri:

  • A completed application for Missouri Title and License (Form DOR-108)
  • Current proof of vehicle ownership, such as your car’s salvage title
  • The Vehicle Examination Certificate (Form DOR-551) – this form can be no more than 60 days old but obtained before prior salvage title application
  • Bill of sale to indicate the purchase price, if applicable
  • Payment for prior salvage title ($8.50), plus the title processing fee ($6)

You can submit the above documentation in person to your local MO DOR branch or by mail to the following address:

Motor Vehicle Bureau
Special Titling Unit
P.O. Box 2076
Jefferson City, MO 65105

How Long Does it Take to Receive a Rebuilt Title in Missouri?

The time it takes for you to receive your rebuilt car title in Missouri varies. The time it takes for the MO DOR to process your rebuilt title application depends on how long you take to complete the necessary repairs on your salvage car, which could take days to months.