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When you’re ready to sell your salvage car, there are a few things you are required to do by West Virginia law. The required paperwork and processes will be submitted to the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WV DOT). Let’s get you ready to junk your car!

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What Criteria Determines If a Car is a Salvage in West Virginia?

Each state has its criteria for deeming a car a salvage. In West Virginia, a salvage car is damaged to the extent that it would cost at least 75% of the vehicle’s fair market value to repair, and/or a flood-damaged vehicle that had water in the passenger area and/or trunk. Generally, your auto insurance provider will determine if your car qualifies as a salvage.

If your car is not eligible for a West Virginia car salvage title, the vehicle must be titled with a different type of certificate, such as a “non-repairable”, or a “cosmetic total loss” title.

Cosmetic Total Loss

In West Virginia, there is also a cosmetic total loss. Similar to a standard total loss, a cosmetic loss’s required repairs exceed the car’s actual cash value. However, to be considered a cosmetic loss, the vehicle can only sustain cosmetic damage, which means the vehicle can legally continue to be driven, but the car isn’t aesthetically appealing.

If you need to apply for a cosmetic total loss salvage title instead of a standard salvage title, you need to visit your local WV DOT branch with the following:

  • A completed Certificate of Cosmetic Total Loss (Form DMV-SV-5) – Your auto insurance provider is required to complete a section of this form.
  • The car’s original title
  • Payment for the $22.50 title fee

Ask your auto insurance representative for details regarding the restrictions and requirements when it comes to having a cosmetic total loss salvage title. You can check out the West Virginia codes regarding penalties and fees when it comes to salvage title vehicles.

How Do I File a Total Loss Claim in West Virginia?

If your auto insurance company determines your vehicle is a salvage, you are required to file a total loss claim. You will choose to accept a full or partial settlement.

Full Settlement

If you accept a full settlement, you will sign the car title over to your auto insurance company and receive full payment for the damages. You are required to satisfy any liens, if applicable. Once this process is complete, you no longer have to worry about the vehicle.

Partial Settlement

Accepting a partial settlement means your auto insurance company pays you for partial damages and you keep your vehicle. A partial settlement allows you to sell the car for parts or repair the vehicle and drive it again. However, to be able to drive your vehicle on roads and highways, you must apply for a rebuilt car title. We’ll discuss rebuilt car titles in detail later on.

Salvage Title vs Rebuilt Title

Salvage titles are for cars that require major repairs to make them legally driveable and insurable. Once a salvage car is repaired and passes inspection, the car will be eligible to obtain a rebuilt car title.

All cars that have a salvage title are illegal to operate on roads and highways until they have been repaired and passed inspection. A rebuilt car title indicates that a car was once a salvage but has since been repaired and is safe to drive.

Salvage Title Fraud When Selling a Salvage Car in West Virginia

Although it’s not illegal to sell a salvage car in West Virginia, it is against the law to knowingly sell your salvage car to someone without disclosing the car’s current salvage status. Cars that have any of the following titles are considered salvage:

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

Essential Documents for Selling Your Car in West Virginia

Regardless of how well you repair your car, you need to make sure you have the proper paperwork. You won’t be able to sell your car without it. You will need the following documents to sell your salvage car in West Virginia:

  • Car Title
  • Bill of sale
  • A copy of your WV driver’s license

State and federal law requires all vehicles to be properly titled and registered when driven or moved on a highway. If you’re selling a car, you must complete a title transfer by completing the form on the back of the car title, also referred to as the title assignment, allowing you to reassign the title to the owner of the car.

Although the bill of sale is not required in every car selling situation in West Virginia, it is highly recommended. The Bill of Sale for a Motor Vehicle, Trailer, or Boat (Form DMV-7-TR) establishes the sale price and includes different information. We’ll talk about this more in just a minute. The WV DOT requires all bill of sale forms to have the buyer’s and seller’s driver’s licenses attached.

What Information is Included In the West Virginia Bill of Sale?

A bill of sale is not required to sell a car in West Virginia. However, it’s good to have as a receipt of a sale, so you and the buyer have a copy of the transaction. The West Virginia 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

The West Virginia bill of sale also allows the buyer to register the car after purchase if they choose to repair it.

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

You’ll need the car’s title to sell it. The title may seem like just another piece of paper, but it’s the most important document when selling your salvage car. Your car’s title proves that you are the legal owner of the car and that it isn’t stolen. If you don’t have the car’s title, you’ll have to apply for a duplicate car title, even if you plan on scrapping or junking your car.

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

The car’s registration, in most scenarios, is not needed when selling your car, even if it is a salvage. As long as you have the car’s title, you can legally sell your salvage car.

How Do I Get a West Virginia Salvage Car Title?

To receive a WV car title, you must apply for one with your local WV DOT branch. Make sure you have the following:

  • A completed Salvage Certificate Application (Form DMV-SV-1)
  • The car’s title (the title must be assigned to you, meaning in your name) – If your car is 20 years old or newer, record the odometer reading on the back of the title.
  • Odometer Certification (Form DMV-TM-1) if there isn’t space on the back of the title
  • Payment for the $22.50 salvage title fee

Once you have the car’s title, you can start repairing your car for it to be driven again! Before you start making repairs, take pictures of your car from all angles (front, rear, left, and right). You will need these photos when you have your car inspected.

If you need help or have questions about applying for a WV salvaged title, call the WV Division of Motor Vehicles at (304) 558-3900.

West Virginia Reconstructed Car Inspections

Once you’ve made the necessary repairs to your salvage car, it must pass a safety inspection and a reconstructed car inspection, in this order!

West Virginia Safety Inspections

You must take your car to a safety inspection station that is licensed by the West Virginia State Police (WVSP). Many auto repair shops and similar businesses in WV can perform safety inspections but call ahead to make sure.

You can have your car towed, haul the car, or obtain a single-trip permit from the WV State Police to drive your vehicle to the inspection site. Call your local WVSP Troop for assistance with getting a one-trip permit. Safety inspection fees vary, but they should cost at most $15.

When your car passes inspection, the inspector will place a stick on the windshield that’s valid for 12 months and complete a Certificate of Inspection (Form DMV-202-TR). Keep this certificate in a safe place. If the certificate is lost, stolen, or damaged, you must have your car re-inspected.

West Virginia Rebuilt Inspection

After your car passes the safety inspection, your car must now pass a reconstructed vehicle inspection. You can view more information about WV rebuilt inspections and locations that perform these inspections. Call ahead to confirm the office will be open and ready to perform an inspection. Again, you can apply for a single-trip permit to be allowed to drive your car to the inspection. You can also tow or haul your car.

When it’s time for your WV reconstructed vehicle inspection, make sure you have the following:

  • Your reconstructed car
  • The salvage title
  • Photos of the vehicle before the repairs were made
  • Bills of sale, receipts, and/or invoices for all parts and labor required to repair the car. You must also provide the vehicle identification number (VIN) for any replacement major components that are taken from other cars.
  • Proof your car passed the safety inspection. Your vehicle will have the safety inspection decal but it’s a good idea to take the completed Certificate of Inspection (Form DMV-202-TR) with you.

After your vehicle passes this inspection, the inspector will complete the reconstructed exam and give you a Reconstructed Vehicle Examination (Form DMV-SV-3). Now you’re one step closer to obtaining your reconstructed vehicle title.

What Components Are Checking During the West Virginia Safety and Rebuilt Inspections?

The following components may be checked multiple times during the WV rebuilt inspections:

  • Engine (motor) with or without accessories
  • Transmission
  • Nose – the part of the body from the front to the firewall when acquired or transferred as a complete unit
  • Frame – the part of the vehicle upon which other parts are affixed, such as the engine, body, or transmission
  • Door
  • Body – the portion of a vehicle determining its shape and appearance and is attached to the frame but does not include the box or bed for a truck
  • Rear clip -two or more of the following that are dismantled from the same vehicle:
    • A quarter panel or fender
    • Floor panel assembly
    • Trunk lid or gate
  • Cowl – the part of the car that houses the windshield and instrument panel

However, with safety inspections, the inspector is checking to make sure that your car is safe to operate on the roads and highways, and that your vehicle is not stolen or was repaired with stolen parts.

Can a Car Fail a West Virginia Safety Inspection?

Yes. Your car can fail the WV safety inspection. If your car fails this inspection, you will receive a rejection sticker. The car must be repaired and retested within 5 days of the failed inspection. If you retest at the same inspection station within 5 days, only the components that failed will be retested. You will not be charged to complete a retest inspection fee.

After 5 days, you must complete the inspection and pay for a complete inspection again. In most scenarios, you can have your car repaired and retested at the inspection site, depending on the station’s capability and the extent of the required repairs.

If, for any reason, you can’t or choose not to have your vehicle repaired and retested, the rejection sticker will remain on your vehicle. You may not operate the vehicle unless you are traveling from the repair facility to your residence and vice versa. The rejection sticker will only be removed once your vehicle passes inspection.

What Steps Do I Need to Take to Registering a Salvaged Car in West Virginia?

Unfortunately, you can’t register a salvage car in West Virginia. If you would like to register your vehicle, the vehicle must be repaired and pass a safety and rebuilt car inspection. Once these steps are complete, you can apply for a rebuilt car title and register your car.

Title and Registration Fees in West Virginia

The following are the title and registration fees you can expect to pay  in West Virginia:

  • Title fee: $15
  • Title tax (does not apply to new residents):
    • 6% of the purchase price on vehicles purchased for over $500
    • $36 for vehicles purchased under $500
  • Lien fee: $10
  • Registration fees:
    • Standard plate registration (1 year): $51.50
    • Motorcycle plate registration (1 year): $16

Salvage Title vs Junk Title

A salvage title and a junk title have a few similarities, which is why a lot of people confuse their definitions. Salvage title cars can be repaired, pass the required inspections, and obtain a rebuilt car title. Junk title cars can not be rebuilt. They can only be scrapped or junked.

Salvage Title vs Rebuilt Title

Cars with a salvage title can be repaired, pass the necessary inspections, and obtain a rebuilt car title. A rebuilt car title allows the owner to legally operate the car on roads and highways.

Who Buys Salvage Cars Near Me in West Virginia?

You have a lot of options when it comes to salvage yards in West Virginia. You’ll want to choose a salvage yard that’s close to you. We’ve given you a head start by providing a handful of WV salvage yard locations.

Ernie’s Salvage Yard
un4590 Williamsport Pike
Martinsburg, WV 25404
(304) 274-1333
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

Salisbury Auto Salvage
288 Pumpkin Center Dr.
Clay, WV 25043
(304) 587-2031
Monday – Friday (9 AM – 4 PM)
Saturday and Sunday (Closed)

J&J Auto Salvage and Parts
529 Upper Falcon Dr.
Charleston, WV 25312
(304) 342-5993
Monday – Friday (8 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday (9 AM – 2 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

Oak Grove Salvage
5 Oak Grove Rd
Adrian, WV 26210
(304) 472-6779
Monday – Friday (8:30 AM – 5 PM)
Saturday (10 AM – 12 PM)
Sunday (Closed)

How Long Does It Take to Get My Salvage Car Insured?

Obtaining auto insurance on a car that has a salvage title is not possible. You can, however, repair the car. Once it passes inspection, you can apply for a rebuilt car title, and then get an auto insurance policy for your once salvage car.

Can I Salvage My Car Without the Title in West Virginia?

Without your car’s title, you’ll be stagnant in this process. However, you can apply for a WV duplicate car title (Form DMV-4-TR). Whether you want to sell your car or have it repaired and apply for a rebuilt car title, these processes start with having the proper paperwork. You also need to make sure you have payment for all applicable fees at the time you apply for your duplicate car title.

What Are My Options for Selling My Salvage Car in West Virginia?

First, you need to set realistic expectations. Since you are not selling a car that’s in mint condition or like-new condition, you will not get as much money as you would if you were selling a car with a clean title and no damages. However, you can still make money from selling your salvage car. Let’s take a look at your salvage car selling options in West Virginia.

Private Sale

When you sell your salvage car to another individual, it’s considered a private sale. If you don’t need to sell your car immediately, selling your vehicle in a private sale is a great option.

Salvage Yard or Junkyard

If you’re in a hurry to sell your car and want your cash in hand quickly, you’ll want to sell your car to a salvage yard or junkyard. You can handle a lot of the paperwork online, including scheduling the pickup of your salvage car. Most junkyards offer free towing!

Selling Your Car for Parts

Selling your car for parts is also an option, especially if you want the opportunity to make a pretty penny. If you know your way around a car, you won’t encounter too many hassles. However, if you don’t know your way around a car, no worries. A mechanic can help you evaluate your car and its parts to determine which parts are in demand to ensure you get the most money.

Selling As-Is

If the hassles and expenses of repairing your car are something you’d rather not deal with, no problem! You can sell your car as-is. You don’t have to worry about ensuring your car passes both WV inspections to obtain a rebuilt car title. The buyer will have the responsibility of handling these tasks.

Difficulties You May Experience When Selling Your Salvage Car in West Virginia

Selling a salvage car can be complicated. Your car may not sell as quickly as you want it to because it’s been damaged and has a salvage title. The best method of selling your salvage car is honesty. The more information about your car you can share with potential buyers, the quicker you may sell your salvage car. You could face different penalties and fines for failure to disclose your car’s current salvage condition.

Applying for a West Virginia Rebuilt Car

To legally be able to operate your once salvage car on the roads and highways of West Virginia, you must obtain a WV rebuilt car title. You can apply for a WV rebuilt car title at the same DOT/DMV branch that performed your reconstructed vehicle inspection immediately after your car passes inspection! You’ll need to submit the following to the WV DOT/DMV:

  • The car’s salvage title
  • The original Reconstructed Vehicle Examination (Form DMV-1-TR). Make sure the “Reconstructed” brand box is marked.

If you’re registering your car the same day your vehicle passes inspection, you will need to make sure you have the following:

  • Proof of a valid WV auto insurance policy
  • Copies of the front and back of your old registration card, if the car is still registered and you’re transferring the license plate.
  • Payment for all applicable fees:
    • Inspection fee: $35
    • Titling fees: refer to the fee chart on your title application for specifics

After all the necessary paperwork has been processed and confirmed to be correct, you will receive your WV reconstructed/rebuilt car title. You can now drive your once-salvaged car again! If you need help with the reconstruction/rebuilding process of your vehicle, call the WV Division of Motor Vehicles at (304) 558-3900.

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

It can take between 2 to 6 weeks to receive your West Virginia rebuilt car title. The time it takes to receive your rebuilt car title depends on the complexity of the process and the WV DOT/DMV needs time to verify your information and enter it into the DMV database. The sooner you get your car repaired and inspected, the sooner you can apply for your rebuilt car title.

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

Yes. A car that has a rebuilt title will always be worth less than the same model car that has a clean title. However, your car still has value! Cars that have a clean title have not been involved in an accident that caused enough damage to be deemed a total loss by an auto insurance company.

Although you made the necessary repairs to be able to legally drive the car again, the car will always have the accident on its auto history, causing the car’s value to decrease. The inspections deem the car safe to drive, not to increase its value.

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

Most auto insurance providers will insure a car that has a rebuilt title. However, you may not be able to obtain full coverage. If you have a clean driving record, you won’t experience an increase in your auto insurance premiums.