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Selling a salvage car probably isn’t the first thing on your to-do list, but we’ll help you get everything you need, so you can sell your salvage car and get it out of the way. This process will be started and completed through the Washington DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV). We’ll discuss your options as a salvage car owner, and explain some of the processes you may be required to complete.

What is a Salvage Car in Washington DC?

The DC DMV defines a salvage car as one that’s been wrecked, destroyed, or submerged in water, resulting in damages that would cost more than 75% of the car’s retail value before the damage occurred, to repair. Generally speaking, your auto insurance company will determine whether your car meets SC salvage criteria.

What Do I Need to Know About Total Loss Claims in Washington DC?

If your car has been seriously damaged, the first step you need to take is to file a total loss claim with your auto insurance provider. Each auto insurance company has its procedures, but generally speaking, upon determining your vehicle meets the salvage repair cost threshold, your auto insurance company will offer you a total loss settlement. You can accept a full settlement or a partial settlement.

Should I Accept a Full or Partial Settlement From My Auto Insurance Provider?

Ultimately, the choice is yours. It depends on the results you want. Let’s talk about these options.

Accepting a Full Settlement

If you decide to accept a full settlement, you will receive full compensation, minus any deductibles, from your auto insurance provider. Your auto insurance provider will keep the car and it will no longer be your responsibility unless there’s a lienholder on the title.

Accepting a Partial Settlement

If you choose a partial settlement, minus any deductible, from your auto insurance provider, you or the lienholder will keep the car. Since you have possession of the car, you can apply for a salvage title. Your auto insurance company is responsible for notifying you or the lienholder, if applicable, about your obligation to apply for a DC salvage title within 30 days of the settlement.

Salvage Cars and Lienholders in DC

The DC DMV requires the following when a lienholder is on the title for a vehicle that qualifies as a salvage:

  • If your auto insurance provider DOES NOT keep the vehicle, the auto insurance company must notify the lienholder of their responsibility to apply for a salvage title within 30 days of the settlement. You are required to inform your lienholder of the damages to the vehicle within 30 days of the date the damages occurred.
  • You are NOT allowed to make any repairs to the car until the lienholder obtains a salvage title and confirms that you can proceed.
  • The lienholder is required to apply for a DC salvage title within 30 days of receiving notification of the car’s damages.

If there’s a lienholder on your total loss vehicle, the lienholder is required to get a DC salvage title BEFORE you can make the necessary repairs to the car to restore it to proper operational order. Make sure you talk with your auto insurance provider about notifying the right people promptly.

Documents That Are Required to Sell Your Salvage Vehicle in DC

You will need the following documents to sell your salvage car in DC:

  • Proof of DC residency
  • A DC driver’s license or an ID card
  • Proof of vehicle inspection, for used or commercial vehicles
  • Proof of car insurance
  • Car title
  • Payment for the applicable title and registration fees
  • Car Bill of Sale
  • Proof of Valid Odometer Statement

Is a Salvage Car Title the Same as a Rebuilt Car Title?

Not quite. A salvage car title is the title your car has before you make any repairs. A rebuilt title is the title you’ll apply for after the repairs are made and your car passes all applicable testing for DC to be deemed safe to operate.

Don’t Get Caught Up in Salvage Title Fraud

It’s easier than you think to get caught up in salvage title fraud. So, let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the salvage title process. On the downside of things, you could face multiple penalties and fees, and possible criminal charges.

You need to know about salvage title fraud whether you’re selling your car before you make repairs or after repairs have been made. Selling a salvage car in DC is NOT a crime. However, it is a crime to sell a salvage car WITHOUT disclosing to a buyer that the car you’re selling is a salvage. Disclosing that your car is a salvage is how you avoid salvage title fraud.

For reference, if your vehicle has any of the following branded titles, your car is considered a salvage:

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

Do I Need a Bill of Sale to Sell My Salvage Car in DC?

The DC DMV does NOT require you to have a bill of sale when you are selling a salvage vehicle. You are also NOT required to transfer ownership of the car when you sell the car. Although a bill of sale is not required to sell a salvage car in DC, you may want to have one and use it as a receipt as proof that a transaction occurred.

Am I Required to Have the Car’s Title and the Registration Card to Sell It in DC?

You are NOT required to have the car’s title to sell it. However, it’s best if you do have the title. If you have lost or misplaced the car’s title, you can apply for a duplicate car title by completing a Certificate of Title/Temporary Tag Application (Form DMV-CTA-001). If there are multiple car owners, all owners are required to sign the completed form.

As far as the registration is concerned, you won’t need this either. The title would be considered the essential document, and if you don’t have it, you can apply for a duplicate title.

How Do I Get a Replacement Car Title in DC?

To receive a DC duplicate car title, you must do the following:

  • Complete the Certificate of Title/Temporary Tag Application (have all car owners sign this form, if applicable)
  • Provide your title number, vehicle identification number (VIN), and proof of ID from each owner
  • Submit the application and any supporting documentation, such as a lien release letter or a vehicle power of attorney form, to your local DC DMV service center
  • Pay the $26 duplicate title fee

You can also mail the above-listed documents and payment to the following address:

PO Box 90120
Washington, D.C. 20090

How Do I Get My Salvage Car Title in DC?

To obtain a DC salvage car title, you’ll need to take the following steps:

  • Declare your vehicle a salvage or have it declared a salvage by your auto insurance company
  • Fill out the corresponding salvage title application form
  • Collect the existing vehicle title and any lien release forms (if applicable)
  • Provide proof of identity
  • Provide proof of total loss from the insurance company
  • Provide proof of lien satisfaction from the lienholder (if applicable)
  • Submit all documentation to the DC DMV’s Southwest Service Center for a Metropolitan Police Department Auto Theft Inspection

Reconstructed Car Inspections in DC

Before you can receive your rebuilt car title and hit the road again in your car, the car must pass different inspections in DC.

Reconstructed Car Inspections

In DC, once you or a repairman rebuilds your car and before you can apply for a rebuilt car title and registration card, your car must pass a smog and safety check and an anti-theft inspection. You can contact the D.C. DMV at (202) 737-4404 for information about legally transporting your car to the inspection sites.

Smog Check & Safety Inspection

You must take your rebuilt car to the DC DMV Inspection Station for a smog check and safety inspection. You must make an appointment online to speed up the process. Before making your way to the DMV, call the DMV at (202) 737-4404 to find out which documents and fees you must have for the DC smog and safety checks.

Make sure you keep all the paperwork the inspector gives you because you will most likely need these documents when you apply for your rebuilt salvage title and registration.

Anti-Theft Inspection

After your smog and safety inspections are complete, visit the Southwest Service Center for your anti-theft inspection. You must complete a Salvage Vehicle MPD Anti-Theft Inspection Form (Form P-1011).

Call the DC DMV at (202) 737-4404 to verify which documents and fees you will need to complete the anti-theft inspection. Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will give you paperwork to prove your vehicle passed. Make sure you don’t lose this paperwork! You will need this paperwork to apply for a rebuilt title.

How Long Is the Process to Register My Salvaged Vehicle in DC?

There is no process to register a salvaged vehicle in DC because there is no way to register a salvage vehicle. However, once your car passes the required inspections, you can apply for a rebuilt car title.

Washington DC Registration Fees

In DC, there are certain registration fees you are required to pay. These fees are based on the type of vehicle and its weight. The following are the registration fees in DC:

  • $72 for vehicles 3,499 lbs. And under
  • $175 for vehicles 3,500 to 4,999 lbs.
  • $250 for vehicles 5,000 lbs. or more
  • $36 for hybrid/electric/clean fuel vehicles (first-time registration only)
  • $25 for historic vehicles
  • $52 for motorcycles
  • $12 for tag transfer

All applicants are required to resolve any outstanding debts to the DC government before paying the registration fees.

Who Buys Salvage Cars Near Me in Washington D.C.?

You won’t find many salvage yards in Washington D.C. However, there are quite a few salvage yards in the neighboring state, Maryland, which isn’t too far to travel. We’ve listed a handful of salvage yard locations in Maryland that may work for you.

Joseph Smith & Sons Inc.
2001 Kenilworth Ave.
Capitol Heights, MD 20743
(301) 773-1266
Monday – Friday (7:30 AM – 3:30 PM)
Saturday (7:30 AM – 11:30 AM)
Sunday (Closed)

Frank’s Scrap Metal
8840 Monard Dr.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 495-3009
Monday – Friday (7:30 AM – 4:30 PM)
Saturday (8 AM – 2 PM)
Sunday (8 AM – 1 PM)

Prince Georges Scrap
5700 Branchville, Rd.
College Park, MD 20740
(301) 474-3444
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 4:30 PM)
Saturday (7:30 AM – 11:30 AM)
Sunday (Closed)

How Long Is the Process to Insure a Salvage Car in Washington DC?

Similar to trying to register a salvage car in DC, you won’t be able to insure a salvage car. The car must first pass the required inspections. Next, you need to apply for a rebuilt car title. Once you have your rebuilt car title, you will be able to obtain an auto insurance policy for your once-salvaged car. However, you may not be able to obtain a full coverage auto policy on your car.

Selling Options for a Salvage Car in Washington DC

If you choose to keep your totaled vehicle, you’ll need to reach an agreement with your auto insurance company by accepting a full or partial settlement. Your auto insurance provider will still pay the claim, but it will reduce the settlement amount by the vehicle’s estimated value on the salvage market. After you have your salvage title, you have different options for selling your vehicle.

Selling Online

When you sell your vehicle online, you can let buyers make an offer on the vehicle or set a fixed price. Some dealers specialize in “as-is” vehicles, and they will be more than happy to buy your vehicle and rebuild it.

Private Sale

This is a great option if you’re not in a rush to sell your car. If you have an “ideal” buyer in mind, selling your salvage car in a private sale may be your best option.

Salvage Yard or Junkyard

You also have the option to sell your salvage vehicle to a salvage yard or junkyard. This is your best option if you want to sell your car quickly without too many hassles and a lot of paperwork.

Selling Your Car for Parts

Parting out your car is a great way to get the most money from selling your salvage car. If you’re not familiar with mechanics, don’t worry. You can hire a mechanic to help you identify the most valuable car parts.

Selling As-Is

If you don’t want the hassle of repairing your vehicle, you can sell your salvage car as-is. Since you’re opting to not repair the car, you don’t have to worry about passing multiple inspections and applying for a rebuilt car title. Once you sell the car, everything regarding the car, such as repairs and applying for titles, will be the responsibility of the new owner.

Possible Difficulties of Selling a Salvage Car in Washington D.C.

It’s no secret that selling a salvage car will be more difficult than selling a non-salvage car. Having a rebuilt car title may get you more money, but you will still experience some difficulties because the car has a salvage-rebuilt car title. However, the method you choose to sell your vehicle, make sure it’s something that you will follow through from beginning to end. There are fees you are required to pay and paperwork you need to submit at the DC DMV.

One of the most important instances of selling a salvage car is disclosing the car’s brand, such as the car being a salvage. Failure to let buyers know that you’re selling a salvage car can result in penalties and fines that you will want to avoid. Regardless of the possible outcome, it’s in your best interest to be honest when you’re selling your salvage car.

Applying for a Washington DC Rebuilt Car Title and Registration

Applying for a rebuilt salvage car title and car registration in DC is similar to applying for any other title and registration. To apply for a DC rebuilt car title, you will need to visit your local DC DMV branch with the following:

  • A completed Certificate of Title/Temporary Registration and Tag Application (Form DMV-CTA-001)
  • Proof of identity
  • The salvaged car title
  • All paperwork that proves your car passed the required smog, emissions, and anti-theft inspections.
  • Payment for all applicable title and registration fees

Once the DC DMV processes your application, you will receive your rebuilt car title and will legally be able to drive the once-salvaged car again. If you need help applying for your rebuilt car title, call the DC DMV at (202) 737-4404.

How Long Do I Have to Wait to Get My DC Rebuilt Car Title?

You should receive your DC rebuilt car title within 10 days of your application being approved. The sooner you make the necessary repairs to your car, the sooner you can apply for your DC rebuilt car title.

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

Your rebuilt car has value, but it won’t have the same value as a car that is the same model and has a clean title. Clean title vehicles do not have a salvage brand and don’t have damages that exceed at least 70% of the car’s fair market value, increasing their value.

Since your car has been deemed a “total loss” it will affect the car’s value, however, the car retains some of its value. Even if you decide to rebuild the car to make it operational legally, the car will not have the same value it had before the damages occurred.

Can I Obtain an Auto Insurance Policy for My Rebuilt Title Car?

You sure can! After you receive your DC rebuilt car title, you can get an auto insurance policy for your car. Be advised that your car will always maintain a rebuilt salvage car title, which is a brand of salvage car, even though you repaired it. Since your car still has this brand, you may not be eligible to obtain a full coverage auto policy. If you have a decent driving record, you may not notice a drastic increase in your auto insurance premiums.