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Salvage Titles in New Jersey

A New Jersey salvage title is generally issued after a vehicle has either been stolen or declared as a total loss by a vehicle insurance agency. A total loss occurs after there is a significant amount of damage done to a vehicle in which the cost of the repairs exceeds a certain percentage of the car’s value. Salvage cars are generally far harder to sell, insure and are not legally operable until they have been rebuilt and inspected by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). Therefore, it is important that you learn about these types of vehicles, including when titles are issued, how to request the new form of title and how to restore a vehicle’s title so that the vehicle can be legally operated, sold and insured by some insurance agencies.

What is a Salvage Title?

A New Jersey salvage title is issued to a vehicle that has sustained a considerable amount of damage or a vehicle that has been stolen. A totaled car is required to be titled within New Jersey, even if you do not intend to restore the vehicle. These titles will display the word “salvage” across the title in order to distinguish them from a regular title. Unless you restore the vehicle and pass an inspection with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), you will not be legally able to operate the vehicle nor will most insurance agencies insure the vehicle.

After restoring the vehicle, you may still find that many insurance agencies will refuse the vehicle, refuse full coverage options or charge higher premiums. Salvage vehicles are also generally harder to sell and even dealerships may deny a salvage as a trade in. While you can obtain a rebuilt title by passing an inspection, the vehicle will always be considered a salvage and can never regain a standard title.

Documentation Required for a New Jersey Damaged Car Title

In order to obtain a New Jersey salvage title, you must be able to provide a number of documentation, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the salvage. These documents include:

  • The New Jersey title that has been assigned to an insurance company with a sale tax-satisfied stamp.
  • All applicable fees.
  • An insurance listing sheet along with a statement from the insurance company that includes how the vehicle was acquired, the cash value of the vehicle, the type of loss, damage estimates, the make of the vehicle, year of the vehicle and vehicle identification number.

If the smashed car has a lien, that lien must be properly satisfied before a title will be issued.

This form of title can only be requested from specific New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission locations, including:

  • Eatontown
  • Flemington
  • Manahawkin
  • North Bergen
  • Runnemede
  • Salem
  • Somerville
  • Washington

Appointments are not necessary.

Requesting a New Jersey Salvage Title that was Stolen

In some cases, a salvage title may be required by your insurance agency after your vehicle has been stolen. This is often a necessary step in order for an insurance company to close a claim associated with the loss and provide any type of payment. In order to request the new title, you must be able to provide:

  • An insurance letter or listing sheet that explains that the request is made due to an unrecovered theft and that the new title is required in order for the insurance company to close the claim.
  • A letter from the insurance agency that is signed by an authorized representative and includes the type of loss and the vehicle owner’s name as well as the year, make, model and vehicle identification number of the vehicle.
  • The cash value of the vehicle.
  • A copy of the police report issued for the stolen vehicle.
  • Your original New Jersey title, with all areas properly completed.

How to Restore a Wrecked Car Title in New Jersey

As mentioned previously, a salvage title can never be restored to a standard title. However, it can be restored and provided with a new title that deems the vehicle legally operable. Inspections are provided by appointment and can take up to an hour to complete. Color photographs of the vehicle before and after repairs are required. These photos must include the entire front and left side of the vehicle as well as at least one additional photo that includes the entire rear and right side of the vehicle.

Additionally, a bill of sale is required for every major component part that was used in the repair or reconstruction of the vehicle. Bills of sale must include the name and address of the buyer and seller of the parts along with the sale price, date and purchase, as well as whether the part is new or used. If the part that was used to prepare the salvage car was used, additional information is required including:

  • A description of the part
  • The date the part was dismantled or removed
  • The name and address of the business or individual that removed the part
  • The year, make, model and vehicle identification number of the vehicle in which the part was removed from

When determining whether or not you will need a bill of sale, it is important to know that major components include the engine, transmission, front bumper, rear bumper, fender, hood, engine cover, doors, quarter panels, tailgate/hatchback, cowl, frame and shock tower or apron.

It is important to know that you are not allowed to view the inspection of the vehicle and, prior to your appointment, you must complete a salvage inspection application and fax the inspection location a copy of your title.

Common Reasons Why an Auto Salvage Title Request May be Rejected

Your request for a damaged car title may be rejected by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commissions if you do not provide the proper documentation, fees or if you are missing information on an application. To save time and hassle, ensure that you avoid common mistakes that result in an application denial. Common reasons for the rejection of a salvage application include:

  • Incomplete applications
  • Improper fees
  • Alterations and erasures to an application
  • Incorrect or missing documentation, such as letters from insurance agencies or police reports

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