Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 20 of 38

Chapter 19: Salvage – Nonrepairable – Junk Vehicles

19.075 Salvage Certificate (VC §11515)

The insurance company or its designee (salvage pool or registration service) or the owner must apply for the salvage certificate within 10 days from the date the insurance company makes a total loss settlement with the owner.

A salvage certificate cannot be issued for an unrecovered stolen vehicle.

Insurance Company Applications—A salvage certificate can be issued to an insurance company for a total loss salvage vehicle when evidence of ownership cannot be obtained within 30 days following a total loss settlement.The insurance
company must make two written attempts to obtain the evidence of ownership and wait at least 30 days after the date of settlement before applying for the salvage certificate. An Unobtainable Title Certification for Issuance of Salvage Certificate (REG 492) form is required. The insurance company may authorize an occupational licensee of the DMV or a salvage pool to complete this process.

Motor Vehicle Bond—A bond is required when regular certificates of title are not available for a vehicle reported as salvage under CVC §11515. The bond amount must be for the amount of the payoff to the insured plus the amount paid by the salvage buyer. Refer to Chapter 23.

The following must be submitted:

  • An Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (REG 488C) form completed and signed by the owner or insurance company, as appropriate. A computer-generated Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle form preapproved by DMV headquarters may be submitted by a salvage pool.
  • Evidence of ownership, such as:
    • The properly endorsed California or out-of-state title. The applicant’s signature is not required in the “new registered owner” space of the title; the signature on the REG 488C is sufficient.
    • An Application for Duplicate or Paperless Title (REG 227) form, if the California title is lost, stolen, mutilated, or illegible. If the out of state title is missing, the applicant must obtain a duplicate title from the state where that
      title was issued.
    • A properly completed Unobtainable Title Certification for Issuance of Salvage Certificate (REG 492) form. The REG 492 can only be submitted by an insurance company
    • The California dealer’s Application for Registration of New Vehicle (REG 397) form marked “Salvage Vehicle.”
    • A motor vehicle bond. A bond is required when evidence of ownership is not available for a vehicle reported as salvage unless an insurance company submits a REG 492. Refer to Chapter 23 for bond information.
  • A Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form, if nonresident or miscellaneous original application documents are submitted.
  • Bill(s) of sale, as necessary, to complete the chain of ownership.
  • The license plates currently assigned to the vehicle y the REG 488C with Section 3 completed to show the disposition of the license plates. Dismantlers, dealers, or registration services may destroy the license plates and write their OL number on the REG 488C. Salvage pools are not occupational licensees and must surrender license plates to DMV.
  • The salvage certificate fee. Registration fees are not collected when the salvage certificate is issued. However, all fees must be paid on the vehicle or a Certificate of Non-Operation/Planned Non-Operation Certification (REG 102) form filed in a timely manner to avoid penalties, regardless of whether the vehicle will be revived.

Verification of the following:

  • REG 488C.
  • Vehicle description matches the title, printout, or other supporting document.
  • Current license plate number and the wrecked or destroyed date is shown on the 488C.
  • Cost/value is shown, if this is the original application for the vehicle in California.

The cost/value may be the insurance payoff to the insured and/or lienholder the purchase price from the previous owner.

Salvage Certificate Issuance—The salvage certificate must be issued in the name of the insurance company or owner shown on DMV’s records at the time the vehicle was wrecked, not to a subsequent buyer. Transfer of the vehicle to the subsequent buyer may be accomplished by the owner or insurance company using the assignment space on the salvage certificate. Issuance of a salvage certificate does not change the expiration date of the vehicle.