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Salvaged vehicles

What is a salvage vehicle?

A salvage vehicle is a vehicle that:

  • Has been damaged to the extent that it has been declared a total loss.
  • and
  • The vehicle's registered or legal owner, insurance company, or another person acting on behalf of the owner has determined it wouldn't be economical to repair.

For a complete definition, see RCW 46.04.514.

How to report a salvage vehicle

If your vehicle is destroyed or declared a total loss, either you or your insurance company must report that the vehicle has been declared salvage and surrender the title to us.

  • The registered or legal owner must surrender the title within 15 days of the vehicle's destruction.
  • The insurance company must surrender the title within 15 days of settlement of the claim.

To report a salvage vehicle and surrender the title to us, write "Destroyed" and the date the vehicle was salvaged across the face of the title and mail it to us at:

Department of Licensing
PO Box 9038
Olympia, WA 98501

For more details about reporting a salvage vehicle, see RCW 46.12.600

Options for salvage vehicle owners

If your vehicle is declared a total loss, you may:

  • Sell the vehicle to a new owner (include the Notice of Cancellation letter and a notarized bill of sale).
  • Keep the vehicle and repair it.
  • Keep the vehicle without repairing it.
  • Use the vehicle for parts.

To learn more about each of these options, see Destroyed Vehicle Information.

Frequently asked questions

Can a vehicle that is declared salvage still be legally driven?

No. The vehicle can't legally be driven or parked on public highways or roads until a new title has been issued.

Will I receive a rebuilt brand on the car if I salvage it?

If we reissue a title on the car, it may be branded as "WA REBUILT" if it:

  • Is 5 years old or newer.
  • or
  • Meets the "market value threshold" criteria:
    • It's 6-20 years old.
    • It's a passenger vehicle, light-duty truck, or sport utility vehicle (SUV).
    • and
    • It had a retail value of $10,430 or more before being destroyed, damaged, wrecked, or declared a total loss.

What do I need for a Release of Interest?

Before we can remove the legal owner an owner-retained vehicle you need to provide:

  • notarized Release of Interest/Power of Attorney
  • one of the following:
    • notarized statement
    • receipt from the legal owner that the debt is satisfied
    • canceled check stating the debt was paid in full

Related information

Questions? Need help?

Call us: 360.902.3900 (TTY: Call 711)

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