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.