Refund of Vehicle License Fee on Total Loss Vehicles

Vehicle License Fee (VLF) Refund

California law provides for a prorated refund of the VLF (in lieu of property tax) portion of the registration fees paid when your vehicle becomes:

  • An Unrecovered Total Loss- A vehicle subject to registration which was stolen and not recovered within 60 days after the police report date. The vehicle must be transferred to the individual or company (insurance company, etc.) who paid you for the loss of your vehicle (California Revenue and Taxation Code (CRTC) §10902).
  • A Constructive Total Loss- A vehicle which was wrecked, destroyed, or damaged to such extent that the owner, or the insurance company, considers it uneconomical to repair the vehicle and because of this, the vehicle is not repaired by or for the person who owned the vehicle per California Vehicle Code (CVC) §544. A Salvage Certificate must be issued for this vehicle before a refund request will be processed per (CVC §11515 and CRTC §10902).
  • A Nonrepairable- A vehicle with no value except as a source of parts or scrap metal, or was found completely stripped after the theft, or was completely burned per (CVC §431). A Nonrepairable Certificate must be issued for this vehicle before a refund will be processed.

Who is Eligible for a Refund?

The owner of the salvage vehicle may request a refund of the prorated VLF. The owner of the salvage vehicle can usually be determined as follows:

  • The insurance company is the owner, if you received a settlement for your loss and possession of the salvaged vehicle is retained by an insurance provider or their agent.
  • You are the owner, if you retained the salvaged vehicle following a determination by your insurance provider that your vehicle is uneconomical to repair and:
    • no repairs are initiated by you or in your behalf, and
    • you applied for a Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Certificate.

If you are not sure that the VLF refund was included as part of your settlement you should contact your insurance provider for verification. The DMV does not have this information. Persons who were cited for violations of CVC §§23152, 23153, or 23103 as specified in §23103.5 (sections related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), incidental to the loss, are not eligible for this refund.

How is the Refund Amount Determined?

The amount of the VLF refund is based on one-twelfth of the annual VLF for each full month that remains until the vehicle registration expires. The registration Fee, weight Fee and miscellaneous fees are not subject to refund.

total loss vehicle partial VLF refund service fee will be deducted from the refund. If the service fee is more than the amount of VLF subject to refund, no refund will be issued.

How do I Request a Refund?

Complete an Application for Vehicle License Refund (REG 65) form as follows.

  • Part A- For an unrecovered total loss vehicle (stolen).
  • Part B- For a constructive total loss or nonrepairable vehicle (wrecked, destroyed, or damaged by a single event).

You must have a Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Certificate prior to submitting a REG 65 form. Mail the completed REG 65 to the address shown on the form. For Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Certificate information see the brochure, How to Obtain a Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (HTVR) 16).

All refund checks will be issued from DMV Headquarters in Sacramento.