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South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles


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  Salvage Vehicles
South Carolina Salvage Titles

When an insurance company declares a motor vehicle a total loss, the insurance company can obtain the vehicle as settlement of a claim or the vehicle may be left with the owner.  In either case, the title must be submitted to SCDMV so it may receive the appropriate salvage brand.

 

Once a salvage brand is added to a vehicle’s title, it can never be removed, though the type of salvage brand may change. Salvage brands become a part of that vehicle’s title history and help to establish the fair market value of a vehicle. A salvage brand that is incorrectly added or omitted will affect the value of a vehicle and may cause the vehicle to be misrepresented to a consumer who wishes to purchase a vehicle after the vehicle has been declared salvage.
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Insurance Companies Declaring Total Loss Claim

1.       At the time an insurance company settles a claim on a wrecked vehicle, the company must determine the loss as a percentage of the fair market value of the vehicle before the loss.

2.       Any vehicle that sustains a loss of 75% or more of the fair market value must be declared a total loss.

3.       Insurance companies can also CHOOSE to declare a vehicle a total loss if it has sustained less than 75% of the fair market value or if the fair market value of the vehicle was less than $2000, by submitting a TR-3 form, in addition to the other required documents.

4.       Vehicles declared a total loss MUST be branded as “salvage” unless:

§         The vehicle is marked non-rebuildable;or

§         The vehicle has been damaged less that 75% and has not sustained water or fire damage; or

§         The value of the vehicle is less than $2,000; or

§         The vehicle has been titled as an antique vehicle.

5.       The insurance company must always notify the Department in the event of a total loss claim on a vehicle so that the title on the vehicle can be branded with the appropriate salvage brand (see Form 400, Section H). The insurance company must also designate whether the vehicle is rebuildable or non-rebuildable, and whether the loss was sustained by collision, fire or water damage.

6.       If the vehicle was stolen, the insurance company must designate whether the vehicle was recovered or un-recovered (see Stolen Vehicles, below, for more information.).

7.       In order to obtain a salvage title, the insurance company must submit the following documents to the local branch office, or the Headquarters Title Unit (Post Office Box 1498, Blythewood, SC 29216-0024-0024), if the vehicle is non-rebuildable:

§         The title properly assigned to the insurance company;

§         Completed title application (Form 400) in the name of the insurance company;

§         Completed Section H of Form 400 must indicate that the vehicle is rebuildable, and indicate how the vehicle sustained the damage. If the vehicle is non-rebuildable, the application must be sent to the Headquarters Title Unit. Local branch offices can not process salvage non-rebuildable titles.

§         The title fee

§         Form TR-3, if required (see above), signed by the insurance company. Applications submitted with a TR-3 must be sent to the Headquarters Titles Section.

§         If another company or agent is obtaining a salvage title on behalf of the insurance company, a Power of Attorney (or letter of agent authorization) authorizing the company or agent to act on the insurance company’s behalf.

8.       Provided that the vehicle is rebuildable, upon receipt of the proper documents, the Department will issue to the insurance company a title branded with one of the following salvage brands: Salvage, Salvage Fire or Salvage Water.

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Salvage Vehicles Retained by Owner After Total Loss Claim

1.      If the vehicle is retained by an owner after being declared a total loss by the insurance company, the company or its agent is required to submit the following documents to the Headquarters Title Unit:

§         The title (no assignment required);

§         Completed title application (form 400) in the name of the owner retaining the vehicle;

§         Completed Section H of form 400 must indicate that the vehicle is rebuildable, and indicate how the vehicle sustained the damage.

§         Title fee;

§         A letter from the insurance company stating that the vehicle has been declared a total loss and remained with the owner;

§         Form TR-3, if required (see above), signed by the insurance company.

2.       Provided that the vehicle is rebuildable, upon receipt of the proper documents, the Department will issue to the customer retaining the vehicle a title branded with one of the following salvage brands: Salvage, Salvage Fire, or  Salvage Water.

3.   If the vehicle is retained by the owner, upon receipt of the title branded salvage, the owner may rebuild the vehicle and submit the proper documentation to the Department to have the title brand changed to Salvage Rebuilt. This must be done before the vehicle is re-titled after being branded Salvage. See South Carolina Salvage Vehicles acquired by New Owners.

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Salvage Non-Rebuildable Titles Issued to Insurance Companies

1.       If an insurance company declares a vehicle to be non-rebuildable, either because of collision, fire or water damage, the company must apply for a salvage-non-rebuildable title.

2.       In order to obtain a salvage non-rebuildable title, the applicant must present the following:

§         Completed Form 400 title application in the name of the insurance company. Section H must indicate that the vehicle is non-rebuildable.

§         The title to the vehicle, properly assigned to the insurance company

§         The title fee

§         If another company or agent is obtaining a salvage title on behalf of the insurance company, a Power of Attorney (or letter of agent authorization) authorizing the company or agent to act on the insurance company’s behalf.

3.       Upon receipt of the proper documents, the Department will issue a red title branded “salvage – non-rebuildable” to the insurance company.

4.       A vehicle that is branded salvage – non-rebuildable can only be assigned to another individual or company for parts or scrap, and can never again be titled or operated.

5.       If an insurance company designates a vehicle as non-rebuildable in error, the company that made the error must submit a new title application, the non-rebuildable title and a letter on insurance company letterhead stating that an error was made and that the vehicle is, indeed, rebuildable.  The company must also submit a new title fee.

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South Carolina Salvage Vehicles Acquired by New Owners

1.       Whenever a vehicle titled in South Carolina with a “Salvage” brand is assigned by the insurance company, the first buyers or new owners have two options to consider before titling that vehicle in their name:

a)       The first option is to title the vehicle and get a salvage title in their name.  If they opt to get a salvage title, the title will be branded “Salvage – Non-Removable” for the remaining life of that vehicle.

1)       If an individual owner requests a title transaction on a vehicle currently marked only with a “Salvage” brand, the brand on the record will be changed to reflect “Salvage-Non-Removable” before the title is printed or sent for printing, unless the owner is requesting a “Salvage- Rebuilt” title (see b) below).

b)       The second option is to rebuild the vehicle. The vehicle must be rebuilt before the title can be issued in the new owner’s name. Note that only the first buyer or owner obtaining the vehicle after the vehicle has been declared salvage by the insurance company has the option of rebuilding the vehicle.

1)    There is no time limit on this option. The vehicle can be rebuilt at any time after the owner acquires it and before he or she makes application for title in his or her name.

2)    Owners of vehicles with out-of-state titles must have the vehicle rebuilt in the state in which the title was issued and must be issued a salvage-rebuilt title in their titling state before the Department will issue a South Carolina Salvage – Rebuilt title.

3)       Upon completion of rebuilding, the owner and re-builder will have to complete the Form S-2, certifying that the vehicle was rebuilt.  The owner and the re-builder can be one and the same person. 

4)       These vehicles will be required to undergo a vehicle inspection in order to verify the repairs noted on the Form S-2 are completed.  Dealer agents will complete Form DLA-20 Salvage Vehicle Inspection Report.

5)       Once the inspection is complete and the vehicle is certified, the owner may apply for a title with the Salvage-rebuilt brand/legend. 

6)       In order to obtain a title for the vehicle indicating ”Salvage-Rebuilt”, the new owner must present the following:

·         The title to the vehicle, properly assigned;

·         An application for title and registration, (form 400) completed in the name of the new owner;

·         A Form S-2 Owner’s/Re-builder’s Affidavit (attachment #3); 

·         Form DLA-20 Salvage Vehicle Inspection Report;

·         Title and applicable registration fees

 

2.       Vehicles with a Salvage – Water or Salvage – Fire brand will always retain that brand.  New owners cannot have one of these brands changed to Salvage – Rebuilt.

3.       An owner may request a salvage brand/legend to be added to a title for a vehicle that has been damaged less than 75% or has a fair market value of less than $2,000 by submitting a Form TR-3, Request for Salvage Title, along with the title application to the Headquarters’ Title Section (Post Office Box 1498, Columbia, SC 29216-0024).

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Uninsured or Self-Insured Vehicles
  1. Some vehicles are owned by individuals or companies that do not carry collision insurance, or that are part of the uninsured motorist program. Some companies self-insure their vehicles.
  2. An individual or company owner or a lien holder who has repossessed the vehicle (and filed the proper repossession vehicles with the Department) may request a salvage title in the same way that an insurance company requests a salvage title. 
  3. Owners or lien holders must provide the following documentation in order to request a salvage title:

§         The title in the name of the owner or lien holder, or properly assigned to the owner or lien holder;

§         Completed title application (Form 400) in the name of the owner or lien holder;

§         Completed Section H of Form 400 (see Attachment) must indicate that the vehicle is rebuildable, and indicate how the vehicle sustained the damage.

§         The title fee

§         Form TR-3. Applications submitted with a TR-3 must be sent to the Headquarters Titles Section.

§         If another company or agent is obtaining a salvage title on behalf of the owner or lien holder, a Power of Attorney authorizing the company or agent to act on the insurance company’s behalf.

     4.   Provided that the vehicle is rebuildable, upon receipt of the proper documents, the Department will issue to  the customer requesting the salvage title a title branded with one of the following salvage brands: Salvage, Salvage Fire, or Salvage Water.

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Salvage Brand and Legends

Section H of the Form 400 Title Application must indicate whether the vehicle is rebuildable or non-rebuildable, the type of damage, the salvage percent and the calculation of the salvage percent. 

 

1.      Salvage

This brand/legend is used when a vehicle is initially declared as salvage in South Carolina. Once requirements are met, this brand/legend may be changed to:

a)       Salvage rebuilt (see #2)

b)       Salvage non-removable (see #3)

2.      Salvage rebuilt

This brand/legend is used when a vehicle that has a salvage title is transferred to a new owner who has repaired the vehicle, completed the proper documents and had the vehicle inspected by an authorized agent of the Department before titling in his/her name. If a vehicle that has been rebuilt and has a title with a salvage-rebuilt brand subsequently sustains collision, flood or fire damage, the vehicle must be re-branded with the appropriate title brand as if the vehicle had never had the salvage rebuilt brand.

3.      Salvage Non-removable

This brand/legend is used when a vehicle that has a salvage title is transferred from the insurance company to a new owner and the owner has not presented the proper information indicating the vehicle has been repaired and inspected. This brand/legend is carried forward to all subsequent titles. Titles received from out of state that have a “salvage” brand/legend should be marked as salvage non-removable.  In addition, Out of State titles branded “salvage rebuildable” will be assigned a salvage non-removable brand.

4.      Salvage Fire

This brand/legend is used when a vehicle is declared salvage due to damage caused by a fire. This brand/legend should never be removed and stays with the vehicle throughout the history of the vehicle. A salvage percentage is not required on the title application when a vehicle has sustained damage due to fire.

5.      Salvage water

This brand/legend is used when a vehicle is declared salvage due to damage caused by water.  This brand/legend should never be removed and stays with the vehicle throughout the history of the vehicle. A salvage percentage is not required on the title application when a vehicle has sustained damage due to water.

6.   Salvage Non-rebuildable

This brand/legend is used when a vehicle is declared by the insurance company as non-rebuildable. A vehicle for which a salvage non-rebuildable title certificate has been issued can never again be titled, registered, or operated on the highways of South Carolina.  The title contains spaces for reassignment to new owners but the vehicle will not be re-titled. A lien cannot be recorded on a vehicle declared salvage non rebuildable. No registration can be issued to a salvage non-rebuildable vehicle. The vehicle may only be processed as parts and scrap metal by a licensed automobile wrecker, dismantler, or recycler. A red salvage non-rebuildable title must be issued and no further titles can be issued for the vehicle.  ONLY HEADQUARTERS CAN PROCESS APPLICATIONS FOR SALVAGE NON-REBUILDABLE TITLES.

7.   Multiple Salvage Brands

Multiple brands may be used when an insurance company indicates several damage types in Section H of the Form 400, or when a title from out of state is transferred with multiple brands.  Up to five brands/legends are displayed on the title. If more than five brands/legends are required for a vehicle, the title will display “Additional Brands on File”. All odometer legends are listed first and other brands thereafter. The allowable South Carolina salvage brand combinations are:

 

 

Allowed SC Salvage Brand Combinations

Brand 1

Brand 2

Brand 3

Salvage Fire

Salvage Water

 

Salvage Non Removable

Salvage Water

Salvage Fire

Salvage Non Removable

Salvage Fire

 

Salvage Non Removable

Salvage Water

 

Salvage Rebuilt

Salvage Water

 

Salvage Rebuilt

Salvage Fire

 

Salvage Rebuilt

Salvage Water

Salvage Fire

 

 

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Antique Vehicles
If an antique vehicle meets the requirements to be designated as antique, the customer must surrender the title to the department so that the antique legend can be added to the title. As long as the title carries the antique legend prior to the damage, the antique vehicle is exempt from the salvage law. If the vehicle has not been previously titled as an antique, it would fall under the salvage law and the title would receive the appropriate salvage brand/legend. 
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Tax Exemption
Vehicles acquired by insurance companies as salvaged are exempt from ad valorem property taxes and inventory taxes, and the transfers of the vehicles to and from insurance companies are exempt from sales taxes. Customers buying back his/her vehicle from the insurance company are exempt from sales taxes.
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Stolen Vehicles

1.      Stolen Recovered Vehicles

Vehicles that have been reported stolen then recovered after the owner has filed an insurance claim and turned their title over to their insurance company as part of the settlement will have its status updated in the system to “stolen recovered”. These stolen recovered vehicles are titled in the insurance company’s name. These vehicles can be branded salvage if they meet the salvage criteria or if the insurance company decides to “Salvage” the vehicle by completing the Form TR-3 (request for salvage title). Documents needed to issue a title on stolen recovered vehicle:

a)       Title application Form 400 completed, must show the current odometer mileage and percentages of damage 

b)       The original title properly assigned

c)       Bill of sale

d)       Power of Attorney

e)       Form TR-3  (if applicable)

f)         Title fee

2.      Stolen Un-recovered Vehicles 

Vehicles that have been titled in the insurance company’s name and the status of the vehicles are “Stolen Un-recovered”.  The title is not branded salvage unless the insurance company completes the Form TR-3.  In this case the odometer legend must reflect an “odometer discrepancy”.  Documents needed to issue a title on a stolen unrecovered vehicle:

a)       Title application Form 400 completed; current odometer mileage marked as discrepancy

b)       The original title properly assigned

c)       Bill of sale

d)       Power Of Attorney

e)       Form TR-3 (if applicable)

f)         Title fee

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On This Page
South Carolina Salvage Titles
Insurance Companies Declaring Total Loss Claim
Salvage Vehicles Retained by Owner After Total Loss Claim
Salvage Non-Rebuildable Titles Issued to Insurance Companies
South Carolina Salvage Vehicles Acquired by New Owners
Uninsured or Self-Insured Vehicles
Salvage Brand and Legends
Antique Vehicles
Tax Exemption
Stolen Vehicles

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