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.
- 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.
- 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).
- It had a retail value of $7,930 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
Questions? Need help?
Call us: 360.902.3900 (TTY: Call 711)