How do I obtain a salvage title in Washington DC? Washington DC

If your vehicle is declared a complete loss due to collision, vandalism, fire, theft, or some freakish act of nature, you'll have to make a decision on whether to rebuild or discard it.

Salvage Title for a Salvage Vehicle in District of Columbia

If you're undaunted by the damage and feel mechanically ambitious enough to repair the vehicle, you'll need to apply for a salvage title with the DMV within 30 days of being notified of your car's damage status and before rebuilding begins.

However, if you decide your vehicle is beyond the hope of repair, and decide to white flag it to a scrap yard, you'll instead need to apply with the DMV for a non-repairable vehicle certificate. This must also be done within 30 days of being notified of your car's plight.

Title for Rebuilt Auto in Washington DC

After the rebuilding process is complete, and you're ready to return the once-damaged car to the road, you'll need to obtain a rebuilt salvage title. This will require a little legwork on your behalf.

First, your vehicle will need to pass a DC safety and emissions inspection. Then, you'll need to visit your local DMV office with:

  • The vehicle's current title.
  • A passed safety and emissions inspection form (this will be given to you at the inspection site after passing).
  • A completed Anti-Theft Inspection (ATI) form.
NOTE: No bill of sale or component part sales receipts are required when applying with the DC DMV.

After submitting, you'll be contacted by the Metropolitan Police's Anti-Theft Unit regarding an inspection date. The police will then examine the car and conduct a thorough background check based on the car's vehicle identification number. If all information clears, the police will complete the certification section on the ATI form, authorizing the DMV to grant you a DC salvage title.

You'll then need return to the DMV and apply for a title and registration

Titles, Used Cars, and the Importance of a Vehicle History Report (VHR)

When shopping for a new used car, be sure to level the playing field, as it were, with the seller by ordering a VHR. This report, which can be ordered online, will provide you with the car's entire vehicle history, allowing you to gauge if the price is right, and/or if the buyer is to be trusted. Among the many facts you'll learn on the report include number of owners, service records and emissions test results.

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