Insurance Companies Declaring Total Loss Claim

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.

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

Insurance companies can 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 Request for Total Loss Title (SCDMV Form TR-3), in addition to the other required documents.

Vehicles declared a total loss will be marked as “salvage” unless at least one of the following is true:

  • The vehicle is marked “non-rebuildable.”
  • The vehicle has been damaged less than 75% and has not sustained water or fire damage.
  • The value of the vehicle is less than $2,000.
  • The vehicle has been titled as an antique vehicle.

Insurance Company Responsibilities

  • Notify the SCDMV in the event of a total loss claim so the title may be updated with the appropriate salvage brand.
  • Include information on whether the vehicle can be rebuild or not.
  • Include if a crash, fire, or water damage caused the loss.
  • If the vehicle was stole, include if the vehicle was recovered or not.

Getting a Salvage Title

If you're representing an insurance company interested in getting a salvage title, you must complete all of the information below:

If required, the insurance company must sign and complete the Request for Salvage/Total Loss Title (SCDMV Form TR-3).

If another company or agent is getting salvage title on behalf of an insurance company, you must include a Power of Attorney (or letter of agent authorization) that allows the company/agent to act on the insurance company's behalf.

Submit all the complete information to the address below:

SCDMV
Salvage Titles
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0044

You may also visit a branch, but if a vehicle cannot be rebuilt, you must mail your documents to the address above.

Find an SCDMV branch
If the vehicle can be rebuilt, the SCDMV will issue a title with Salvage, Salvage Fire, or Salvage Water to the insurance company.

Salvage Vehicles Kept by Owner after Total Loss Claim

If the insurance company declared a vehicle you own a total loss and you want to keep the vehicle, the company or its agent is required to submit the all of the following documents to the address below.

SCDMV
Salvage Titles
PO Box 1498
Blythewood, SC 29016-0044

  • Application for Certificate or Title and Registration (SCDMV Form 400) in the name of the vehicle's owner
    Section H of this form must include if the vehicle can be rebuilt or not and how the vehicle was damaged. If the vehicle cannot be rebuilt, you must mail your documents in (address above).
  • Title
  • Title fee
  • A letter from the insurance company stating that the vehicle has been declared a total loss and remained with the owner

If required, the insurance company must sign and complete the Request for Salvage/Total Loss Title (SCDMV Form TR-3).

If the vehicle can be rebuilt, the SCDMV will issue a title with Salvage, Salvage Fire, or Salvage Water to the insurance company.

If you choose to keep the vehicle, once you receive the updated title, you may rebuild the vehicle and submit the proper documentation to the SCDMV to have the title changed to Salvage Rebuilt. This must be completed before the vehicle is re-titled after being branded Salvage.