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Got a salvage car you want to sell? We can help you! As a resident of the Old Dominion state, there are rules and guidelines you have to follow, but we’ll cover everything you need to know. Let’s sell your salvage car in Virginia.

What is a Salvaged Car In Virginia?

Each state has its definition of what a salvaged car is. In Virginia, a salvaged car is defined as a car that has excessive damage caused by a collision or accident, flood, theft, fire, or another occurrence that the cost of repairs exceeds the car’s actual cash value.

Non-repairable Vehicles

A non-repairable vehicle is a junk car. Salvage cars and junk cars in Virginia are NOT the same. The only value a non-repairable car has is the parts that can be used or scrap metal. Depending on who retains the property (the car), you or your provider must apply for a non-repairable certificate by completing a Non-repairable Certificate Application (Form VSA-57) and taking the car’s title to your local Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VA DMV).

There is no cost to obtain a Virginia non-repairable certificate. Once you have this certificate, you can ONLY sell the car to scrap metal processors, salvage vehicle dealers, car removal companies, or dismantlers. Be advised that it is ILLEGAL to sell a non-repairable to anyone other than the businesses or individuals listed above.

What is a Car’s Actual Cash Value?

A car’s actual cash value (ACV) is the car’s fair market value. As soon as you drive your car off the lot, it, which means it’s no longer worth what it was when you purchased it, regardless if you bought the car new or used.

How Do You Sell a Salvage Car in Virginia?

Virginia has specific laws and guidelines when it comes to selling salvaged cars. If you sell your car to any of the following, they are required by law to have a salvage certificate, non-repairable certificate, or certificate of title for each salvage or nonrepairable vehicle in their possession:

  • Insurance companies
  • Citizens
  • Auto recyclers (demolishers, salvage dealers, rebuilders, or scrap metal processors)
  • Salvage pools
  • Vehicle removal operators

If your salvaged vehicle is demolished or processed by removing parts, the licensee is also required to notify the VA DMV of this action.

Any vehicle declared a salvage can’t be operated on the roads or highways of Virginia and is not allowed to be registered as long as there is an active salvage certificate for the car.

In Virginia, the following is LAWFUL:

  • A salvage dealer sells vehicle components or parts to unlicensed persons
  • An individual to dispose of a salvage vehicle that was obtained for their use if it was acquired in good faith and not to avoid the provisions of the VA salvage laws.

In Virginia, the following is UNLAWFUL:

  • A salvage pool to sell a salvage vehicle to any person who is NOT licensed as a salvage dealer, rebuilder, demolisher, scrap metal processor, vehicle removal operator, or motor vehicle dealer
  • Any individual to sell a non-repairable vehicle to another individual who is NOT licensed as a salvage dealer, demolisher, scrap metal processor, or vehicle removal operator
  • Any individual to sell a rebuilt vehicle WITHOUT first having formally disclosed in writing that the vehicle was rebuilt by providing the buyer with a Rebuilt Vehicle Discloser Statement (Form VSA-59)
  • A scrap metal processor to sell a vehicle or vehicle components for parts
  • An auto recycler, salvage pool, or vehicle removal operator to demolish or scrap a motor vehicle without reporting the vehicle’s disposition to the VA DMV

More About Selling a Salvaged Car in Virginia

A salvaged car can be declared by the vehicle’s owner or by an auto insurance company. We’ll inform you of the steps you must take as the car’s owner and the steps an auto insurance company must take in selling a salvaged car.

Salvaged Car Declared by Owner

Any owner of a vehicle that is titled in Virginia can declare the vehicle to be a salvage vehicle by doing the following:

  • Applying to the VA DMV for a salvage car title by completing a Salvage Certificate Application (Form VSA-56)
  • Submitting the car’s title with a description of the damage and an estimate of the repair cost
  • Paying the VA titling fee
  • Paying the sales and use tax (if applicable)

Any owner of an uninsured or self-insured late model vehicle that sustains damage and the estimated cost of repair exceeds 75% of the actual cash value is required to apply for a salvage certificate from the VA DMV.

Keep in mind the salvage certificate will be noted with the following “BRANDED IF REBUILT”. Salvaged vehicle owners are required to pay the titling fee(s) and obtain an estimate of the cost to repair the car. The estimate must be printed on the official stationery of the auto insurance company or an independent appraisal firm and must include the following:

  • The description of the vehicle (should include the make, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • A list of all the parts there will be repaired or rebuilt, including the cost and whether the part is new or used
  • The total cost of labor and total cost of parts
  • The signature of the company representative who prepares the appraisal

Salvaged Car Declared by an Insurance Company

Auto insurance companies that take possession of a late model vehicle that has been damaged and pay the owner or lienholder for the value of the vehicle, are required to apply to the VA DMV for a salvage certificate.

Insurance companies can also apply for salvage certificates for vehicles that are not defined as late models. Auto insurance companies are required to submit a Salvage Certificate Application (Form VSA-56) within 15 days of paying the owner or lienholder.

Auto insurance providers must notify the VA DMV by filing a Notification of Owner Retained Late Model Vehicle (Form VSA-58) on all late model vehicles that have a paid claim for damages and an estimated cost of repair that exceeds 75% of the actual cash value if the vehicle is titled in Virginia and is to be obtained by the owner.

When an auto insurance company applies for a salvage certificate and is unable to present a certificate of title, the auto insurance company is required to submit the following:

  • A completed Salvage Certificate Application (Form VSA-56)
  • A completed Affidavit in Lieu of Title Certificate (Form VSA 12). This form indicates the vehicle was acquired as the result of the claims process and a description of the efforts made by the auto insurance company or its agent to obtain a certificate of title from the previous owner. The affidavit must also be signed and notarized.
  • Submit proof that a claim payout was made through the claims process
  • Pay all the applicable fees

An auto insurance agent or company that is applying for a salvage certificate using a VSA-12 form must mail the application, documents, and all applicable fees to the following address:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Branding Work Center
P.O. Box 27412
Richmond, Virginia 23269-001

Be advised that VA DMV Customer Service Centers are NOT authorized to process applications for salvage certificates.

Salvaged Vehicle Restrictions in Virginia

Vehicles that are declared salvaged can’t be operated on the highways and roads of Virginia, and they can’t be registered as long as they have an active salvage title. A salvage certificate can be used for reassignment to a licensed rebuilder if the vehicle is being rebuilt.

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

No. If you do not have the car’s title, you can’t sell the car to anyone else, and ownership of the car can’t be transferred.

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

If you don’t have the car’s registration card, it’s not an issue because you don’t need it to sell a salvaged car in Virginia. However, if you were missing the car’s title and the registration card, that would be an entirely different scenario. If you happen to find the car’s registration card, this document can be used as proof of ownership to apply for the car’s title (if you misplaced it). You can also use the car’s VIN card to apply for the car’s title.

How to Get a Salvage Car Title in Virginia

To obtain a salvage car title in Virginia, you must apply for one at your local VA DMV branch. When you arrive at the VA DMV Vehicle Branding Work Center, you will need to submit the following:

  • The car’s original title
  • A completed Salvage Certificate Application (Form VSA-56)
  • An itemized estimate of the repair costs from your auto insurance company or an independent appraisal form. The itemized estimate must include the following:
    • Vehicle description (must include the make, model, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
    • List of new and used parts that require repairing and the cost to do so
    • The total cost of parts and labor
    • Signature from the auto insurance company or appraisal company representative
  • Payment for the $15 VA salvage title fee

You must mail the above-listed documents to the following address:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 27412
Richmond, VA 23269

If you have any questions or concerns about applying for a VA salvage title, call the Department of Motor Vehicles at (804) 497-7100.

Virginia Rebuilt Vehicle Inspection Requirements

If you choose to repair your vehicle, you’ll need to rebuild the car to Virginia’s safety standards and endure a rebuilt vehicle examination before you can apply for a VA rebuilt car title.

Virginia Safety Inspection

All salvage rebuilt cars are required to pass a vehicle safety inspection BEFORE the rebuilt car can be inspected. However, you can apply for a temporary trip permit to drive your car to and from the inspection facility.

Rebuilt Vehicle Examination

You need to schedule your rebuilt car exam by submitting the following:

  • The car’s original salvaged title
  • A completed Request for Examination of Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle (Form LES-022A) – Make sure you make a copy of the completed form before sending it. You will need to provide this copy at the rebuilt examination appointment.
  • Payment for the following:
    • $125 inspection fee
    • $15 rebuilt (or substitute) title fee

You need to mail the above items to the address provided on the form.

Once you complete the above-listed steps, a VA DMV agent will contact you to schedule the examination. On the day of the examination, you need to bring the following to the rebuilt inspection appointment:

  • Proof the car passed the state safety inspection
  • A photocopy of the Request for Examination of Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle (Form KES-022A)
  • Pictures of the car BEFORE the repairs were made
  • Receipts for all original parts
  • Old components that show the vehicle identification number (if available)

A VA DMV agent will let you know if you need additional documents when they schedule your exam. After your car passes inspection, you will receive a VA car title with the word “REBUILT” brand. You can apply for a car registration 48 hours after you receive the car’s title.

Why is a Virginia Examination Required?

In Virginia, salvaged cars are required to endure a vehicle examination to make sure the vehicle and its parts are safe and functional and have not been stolen. This exam verifies the roadworthiness of the rebuilt vehicle and checks the origin of the parts that were used to rebuild the car. If it is determined the car has been repaired with illegal or stolen parts, the vehicle will be disqualified from receiving a new car title.

What Happens at a Virginia Salvage Car Inspection?

When the time comes to issue a salvage title, DMV offices do not require an inspection. However, if you repair a salvage vehicle and want to obtain a VA rebuilt car title, the car must pass an examination through an official inspection station.

To initiate the application process for a rebuilt car salvage title, you will first have to schedule a visit with a local inspecting site and transport or drive your reconstructed vehicle. During this inspection, you will be required to present the following items:

  • The initial salvage title and a form of identification
  • An application form for a rebuilt title and or inspection
  • Payment for the examination and title fees
  • Bills of sale, receipts, or other ownership documents for the parts used to rebuild the vehicle
  • Photographs of the wrecked motor vehicle

Once the car passes the vehicle inspection, you will receive an inspection certificate of completion, which needs to be submitted during most application procedures for a rebuilt title.

How to Register a Virginia Salvaged Car

Once the car passes inspection, the VA DMV will issue the rebuilt car title. You are required to wait 48 hours from the time you receive the rebuilt car title to apply for a new car registration.

You will follow the standard registration process for registering a car in Virginia. The VA DMV agent that issues your car title can explain and provide the required paperwork to register your rebuilt vehicle. If you still have questions or concerns about obtaining a VA rebuilt car title, you can contact the VA DMV at (804) 497-7100.

Virginia Salvaged Car Fees

Like any other car transaction, there are fees you are responsible for paying. To apply for a VA DMV salvage title, you must submit payment for all applicable fees. The Virginia standard titling cost is currently $15, regardless of the car’s title brand, such as junk or salvage.

If you apply for a non-rebuildable certificate, you will not be charged any fees. If you plan to get a VA rebuilt car title, you must pay additional fees. For example, you will be required to pay $125 for an examination fee and a $10 substitute VA title fee.

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

We’re glad you asked! It’s easy to confuse salvage and junk titles because they have a few similarities. However, the differences are significant. Salvage cars can legally be driven again IF the salvage car is rebuilt and you obtain a rebuilt car title. Junk cars on the other hand can NOT be rebuilt and can NOT legally be operated on the roads and highways of Virginia.

Who Buys Salvage Cars Near Me in Virginia?

There are a lot of different salvage yards to choose from in Virginia. Although we won’t list all the salvage yards located across the state of Virginia, we’ll list a handful of salvage yards to get you started.

N&W Salvage Inc.
319 W Williamsburg Rd.
Sandston, VA 23150
(804) 737-0279
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 6 PM)
Saturday (8 AM – 6 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Barker’s Auto Salvage
374 Centerville Rd.
Axton, VA 24054
(276) 650-2318
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Lew’s Auto Service & Salvage
6516 S Roxbury Mill Rd.
Spotsylvania, VA 22551
(540) 582-5475
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Southers Auto Salvage
95 Bennetts Run Rd.
Buena Vista, VA 24416
(540) 261-3550
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday (10 AM – 2 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Can You Insure a Salvage Title Car in Virginia?

Although you can’t insure a salvage car in Virginia, you can, however, obtain auto insurance for a salvage rebuilt car. To insure a salvage title car, so to speak, you need to rebuild it to Virginia’s standards and pass a vehicle examination.

Can I Salvage My Car Without a Title in Virginia?

In most scenarios, you can salvage a car without the title if you have the car’s registration card. The car’s title is required for proof of ownership to ensure the car is not stolen. If you have lost the car’s title, you can apply for a duplicate Virginia car title by completing an Application for Replacement and Substitute Titles (Form VSA-67).

Getting the Most Money for Your Salvage Car in Virginia

The big question you may want the answer to is how much money you will receive from selling your salvage car. The value of your salvage car depends on different factors, such as the make and model of the vehicle, damage the car sustained, and the car’s age.

If you’re trying to get the most money for your salvage car, you may want to consider selling the car for parts. Feel free to take the car to a mechanic and help you determine which car parts are the most valuable.

Selling Your Car As-Is

Selling your salvage car as-is may seem like the light at the end of the tunnel because you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling a salvage car. We’ll be honest. Selling a salvage car may not be the quick sale you want it to be.

Why not? Remember that the car you’re trying to sell has a salvage title, which is a red flag to many buyers who are not interested in spending money on repairs and enduring the rebuilding process.

However, there are some buyers, such as mechanics and DIY superheroes, who will jump at the opportunity to take the car off of your hands, making the car description you give essential. Speaking of the car description, as the car’s seller, you are responsible for disclosing all information regarding the car, including the car’s history, such as being a salvage.

Disclosing Information

Although you’re getting rid of your salvage car, until you sign the car’s title over to another individual, you are the responsible party for disclosing ALL information regarding the car’s condition and all repairs and modifications that have been made, including information about the parts that were used to restore the car, and any other paperwork that is required before actually selling the car.

You are required to keep the receipts for the parts that were purchased, the fees to repair the car (if the car was repaired by a mechanic), and information about the components that were used to restore the car. This information is required by law, and choosing not to disclose information regarding the salvage car can result in paying multiple Virginia fees and penalties.

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

If you want to operate your car legally on the roads and highways, you’ll need a rebuilt Virginia car title. A rebuilt car title gives the car a second chance to be driven. You’ll be required to pay a $15 fee to apply for a VA salvage certificate of title if you don’t already have one. You’ll also need to submit a request for a rebuilt VA car title to a VA DMV branch once the necessary repairs have been made by a mechanic.

Important Documents to Include with Your New York Rebuilt Title Application

After you repair your car, you must apply by mail for a rebuilt Virginia car title with the following:

  • A completed Request for Examination of Rebuilt Salvage Vehicle (LES-022A)
  • The car’s original Virginia Salvage Certificate of Title
  • Payment of $125 for the examination fee
  • Payment of $15 for a substitute title (if applicable)

You will mail the above documents to the following address:

Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Vehicle Branding Work Center
P.O. Box 27412
Richmond, VA 23269

Upon receipt of the above-listed documents and all applicable payments, a VA DMV agent will contact you to schedule your examination for a Virginia-rebuilt car title.

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

The amount of time it takes to receive your VA rebuilt car title depends on how long it takes you to repair your vehicle. Once you initiate this process with the VA DMV, the estimated turnaround time to receive your rebuilt car title is 3 weeks, assuming you mailed all required documentation to the correct address (the address listed above).

Virginia Vehicle Registration Fees

In Virginia, car registration fees are based on the following criteria:

  • The gross (empty) weight of your vehicle
  • The type of license plate you’re purchasing (such as standard or specialty plates)
  • The length of time you choose to register your vehicle (such as 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years)

If you decide to register your vehicle for 2 years or 3 years, the registration fees will be doubled or tripled because you’re paying for a longer period. You can click here to view a list of Virginia’s DMV fees.

Virginia Auto Insurance Requirements

Vehicles that are registered in Virginia are required to have adequate liability auto insurance coverage at all times. You will be required to obtain auto insurance BEFORE you can register your vehicle.

Uninsured Motorist Fee

If you are unable to obtain auto insurance BEFORE registering your vehicle, you can pay the $500 uninsured motorist fee. By paying this fee, you will be able to register and operate your vehicle for 1 year. Keep in mind that paying the uninsured motorist fee does not give you an auto insurance policy. You will be responsible for any accidents and/or damages to your vehicle or others.

It’s time to get moving! You now know how to sell a salvage car in Virginia. Good work!