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Salvage Vehicle Titles in Texas

A TX salvage title is issued for cars that have been extremely damaged. A salvaged vehicle has been written off as a total loss by an insurance company after its damages have been assessed.This means that at the time the damage occurred, these vehicles hadan actual cash value lower than the cost to repair them. However, this does not mean that the car is actually worthless.

Adamaged car title helps protect consumers from purchasing excessively damaged vehicles that have been totaled. If a driver purchases a vehicle with this kind of title, the car will need to be rebuilt and inspected before it can be driven again. Review the sections below to learn more about salvage title cars in Texas, how to turn a totaled car back into a drivable, legally-titled vehicle and tips for purchasing a car with a salvage title.

What is the purpose of a salvage title?

Asalvage title is necessary so that any future car buyer can know if the vehicle they are considering has been through extensive damage.The title also warns insurers and finance companies that a vehicle does not meet the expected retail value of a car of the same make, model and year. This is important because not all extensive damage is immediately visible to the average consumer’s eye. Sometimes a totaled car does not appear severely damaged on the surface, particularly if the salvage title was issued for a reason other than a collision. Sometimes, this title can be issued by some states on cars that were stolen instead of wrecked or on cars that have been abandoned. However, the State of Texas does not issue a salvage title in those situations.

Totaled cars that are eventually repaired will be issued a rebuilt title that specifies the type of damage to the vehicle and how it was repaired. This “branding” makes it possible for a buyer to know the car’s full history. Salvage branding is specific, but categories include the following:

  • Type of damage: A brand may indicate damage by fire, flood or another tragic event.
  • Unspecified: This damaged car title brand is used when the specific type of damage is unknown.
  • Other than damage: These types of brands indicate abandoned or stolen vehicles.
  • Owner status: Certain brands reflect the owner’s decision to keep the vehicle, with or without doing repairs.

Which vehicles qualify for a salvage title?

Any totaled car will be issued a TX salvage title if the owner decides to keep it after the insurance company declares it is totaled. These vehicles must have a repair cost that exceeds the cash value of the vehicle before the damage occurred.

Salvaged cars that come into Texas from another state must also receive a Texas salvage title until the vehicle is repaired or sold. If the owner chooses to repair it, a rebuilt title can be issued once the vehicle is road worthy again.

A nonrepairable car, which is given a junk title, is issued to vehicles that the state will not allow to be repaired. These cars can only be sold for parts or sold to a junk yard or scrap metal yard.

Forms and Information Required for a Salvage Title Application

Texas issues one basic salvage title application form. When you complete the application, you must provide detailed information about the vehicle and its history. A TX salvage title application also requires information about the owner and any lienholder details, if there is any type of loan or financing on the car. Applicants who wish to obtain a hard copy of the title must show a valid form of photo ID and pay an additional fee.

How to Apply for a Texas Salvage Title

To apply fora Texas salvage title, applicants need to complete a few simple steps. Furthermore, applications are accepted by mail, and the TX DMV also offers express mail processing for those who need their title in a hurry. Simply complete the application, include fee payment and mail to the address printed on the application.

Salvage Vehicle Buying and Selling Tips

If you want to purchase a salvage title car, it helps to know what to look for and what to avoid. A vehicle with a salvage title can sometimes be turned into a long-lasting car that runs well for years to come, while others are not suitable for anywhere but the junk yard. Follow these tips when deciding to buy a salvaged car:

  1. Have a licensed mechanic thoroughly inspect the vehicle. An expert opinion can help you figure out if the vehicle will serve you well or if it is not worth the trouble to fix.
  2. Order a vehicle history report and try to get a copy of all records related to the vehicle.
  3. Find out as much as you can about the damage behind the salvage title.
  4. Try to find out the total repair estimate from the insurance company, so you know what you might be facing financially.
  5. Note that if you plan to repair and resell the vehicle, it can be hard to find financing and insurance coverage for certain salvage title cars and trucks. Even if you find insurance on a fixed salvage title car, your payout will not be much if you get into an accident.
  6. Also note that these vehicles can be hard to resell, and most car dealers will not accept one as a trade-in.
  7. Never try to hide a rebuilt status when selling the vehicle. It is a permanent part of the vehicle’s history and can easily be uncovered by anyone doing a vehicle record search with the vehicle identification number (VIN). In addition, you can be prosecuted for fraud if you do not disclose the title history.