A certificate of salvage is a document issued by the MVA that establishes the ownership of a vehicle. However, unlike a certificate of title, which is also an ownership document, a vehicle with a certificate of salvage may not be operated on public roads.
A certificate of salvage is needed in the following six situations:
- Case 1 - an insurance company acquires a vehicle as a result of a claim settlement and the certificate of title is defective, lost or destroyed.
- Case 2 - an insurance company wants to sell a damaged vehicle at a public auction.
- Case 3 - an insurance company receives a report that their customer’s vehicle was stolen
- Case 4 - an individual or company buys an abandoned vehicle at a police auction.
- Case 5 - an automotive dismantler or recycler or scrap processor wants to dismantle or scrap a vehicle.
- Case 6 - an individual elects to keep their damaged vehicle..
What is the process for obtaining a certificate of salvage?
A request for the Certificate of Salvage can be made in-person to the Glen Burnie Salvage Unit Counter 104, or by mail or delivery service to the MVA Salvage Unit. Submit an Application for a Salvage Certificate for each case below - Be sure to include the type of business (insurance Company), indicate the vehicle's damage, status and the signature of the company's representative. The application form and other documents required vary by case, as explained below.
Case 1 - When an insurance company acquires a vehicle as a result of a claim settlement and the certificate of title is defective, lost or destroyed, the insurance company may apply for a salvage certificate by completing and submitting each of the following.
- An Insurance Affidavit in Lieu of Title (fee $20.00)
- A copy of the settlement check or other evidence of final payment
- Application for Salvage Certificate, form VR-028 (fee $20.00)
The Affidavit is only to be utilized by the insurance company if one of the selections below apply:
- The cost to repair the vehicle for highway operation is greater than 75% of the fair market value of the vehicle prior to sustaining the damage for which the claim was paid and the vehicle is repairable.
- The vehicle is not re-buildable, will be used for parts only, and is not to be re-titled.
- The vehicle has been stolen.
- The vehicle has sustained flood damage.
- The vehicle has been acquired by an insurance company as a result of a claim settlement and the cost to repair the vehicle is 75% or less of the fair market value of the vehicle prior to sustaining the damage for which the claim was paid.
- Proof of ownership – Properly assign the vehicle’s certificate of title to the insurance company.
- Lien release – A release is required only when the certificate of title indicates that a lien exists.
The resulting certificate of salvage will be marked with a statement indicating the extent of the vehicle’s damage.
- Proof of ownership – Properly assign the vehicle’s certificate of title to the insurance company. If the insurance company does not have the title, a duplicate certificate of title or an insurance affidavit in lieu of title, a copy of the settlement check or other evidence of final payment and a completed Application for Salvage Certificate must be obtained.
- Lien release – a release is required only when the certificate of title indicates that a lien exists.
- Application for Salvage Certificate, form VR-028.
- No salvage certificate will be printed until the vehicle is recovered. MVA will record in its database the information related to the stolen vehicle salvage transaction.
- When the vehicle is recovered, the insurance company must request another certificate of salvage, which will be marked with a statement indicating the extent of the vehicle's damage. If a vehicle is recovered with 75% or less damage, the salvage certificate will be branded "XSALVAGE".
- Auctioneer’s Sales Receipt for Police Sales of Abandoned Vehicles Only – Provided to the buyer by the police. This form is the ownership document for the vehicle. It must be complete and include the vehicle’s odometer reading and the signatures of a representative of the police department, a representative of the governmental sub-division, and the auctioneer. The form must also be notarized.
- Proof of identity – Required only when the application is presented in person. The customer must present a driver’s license or other proof of identity acceptable to the MVA.
- Application of Salvage Certificate, form VR-028.
The Certificate of Salvage will be marked with a message indicating that the vehicle has been "abandoned."
Note: If the vehicle purchased at an auction is marked "for parts only," the MVA can never issue either a certificate of salvage or a certificate of title for the vehicle.
- Certificate of Authority, (form CS-078) – This form is provided to an automotive dismantler and recycler or scrap processor by a police department that originally took custody of an abandoned vehicle. It serves as the ownership document for the vehicle since no certificate of title is available.
Note: The resulting certificate of salvage will be branded "abandoned."
Case 6 - When an individual elects to keep their damaged vehicle, the insurance company must notify the MVA unless the damage to the vehicle is 75% or less of the fair market value (see note below). The following documents are required:
- Proof of Ownership - The vehicle's certificate of title must be submitted.
- Lien Release - A lien release is required only when the certificate of title indicates that a lien exists.
- Maryland Safety Inspection - The customer has to have the vehicle inspected within 90 days of receiving a notice from MVA or the registration will be suspended.
When the damage is greater than 75% of the vehicle's fair market value and repairable or has sustained flood damage, the new Maryland title will be branded "rebuilt salvage" or "flood damage" respectively. The vehicle must pass a Maryland State Safety Inspection within 90 days of receiving notice from the MVA or the registration will be suspended. The customer may return their registration plates to avoid the suspension being placed against the vehicle.
Note: Effective October 1, 2010:
- The cosmetic brand will no longer be used on salvage certificates issued by the MVA, except in the case of corrected or duplicate salvage certificates which were previously branded with cosmetic damage. Titles produced from a salvage certificate with the cosmetic brand will not be branded.
- There is a fee for a Maryland Certificate of Salvage.
- There is a fee for the Insurance Affidavit in Lieu of Title.
6601 Ritchie Highway
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
For telephone questions:
MVA Customer Service Center: