Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 20 of 38

Chapter 19: Salvage – Nonrepairable – Junk Vehicles

19.040 Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (VC §§432 and 11515.2)

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

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

Reregistration—A nonrepairable vehicle cannot be titled or reregistered subsequent to issuance of the nonrepairable vehicle certificate.

Transfer of Ownership—Ownership of a vehicle declared to be nonrepairable may be transferred only twice on the nonrepairable vehicle certificate. No subsequent certificate is issued. Odometer information is not collected.

The following must be submitted:

  • An Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (REG 488C) form completed and signed by the owner or the insurance company, as appropriate. A computer-generated Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate form preapproved by DMV headquarters may be submitted by a salvage pool.
  • The evidence of ownership. This may be one of the following:
    • The properly endorsed California or out of state title. The applicant’s signature is not required in the “new registered owner” section 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 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 nonrepairable.

Exception: When an acceptable Application for Unobtainable Title Certification for Issuance of Nonrepairable Certificate (REG 492) form is submitted in place of evidence of ownership documents, do not return the application on a report of deposit of fees (RDF) to request a motor vehicle bond, a lien satisfied (when there is a lienholder on record), or an out of state title (if the vehicle was titled in another state).

  • A REG 492 provided that:

a. The applicant is an insurance company.

b. 30 days have passed from the date shown in the “Acceptance Date of Settlement” area of Section 2.

c. The insurance company made two written attempts to obtain a certificate of title or other evidence of ownership. The date of the second written attempt must be at least 15 days from the date of the first written attempt shown in Section 4.

Insurance companies may authorize an occupational licensee of DMV or a salvage pool to complete this process.

  • A Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form, if nonresident or 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 or Section 3 of the REG 488C must be completed to show what happened to the plates. Dismantlers, dealers, and 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.
  • Any fees due, including the nonrepairable vehicle certificate fee.

The procedures below must be followed:

  • The following must be verified:
    • REG 488C is the first document.
    • 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.