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Salvage Car Titles Explained

Car Titles Explained

When contemplating the acquisition of a salvage vehicle, it is imperative to understand that the rules and regulations regarding vehicle titles vary significantly across different states. Prior to any purchase, it is essential to acquaint yourself with your specific state’s laws and regulations relating to titles that may not be classified as “clean.”

A vehicle’s title is determined by its legal status, which can be established either through a declaration by the seller or via the actual title document. Importantly, the legal status of the vehicle title remains unchanged despite the existence of vehicle history records in third-party databases such as CarFax or other external sources.

Clean Title

A “clean title”, alternatively referred to as a “clear title”, signifies a vehicle with no prior salvage notations. However, it is crucial to recognize that some vehicles holding clean titles may still have a salvage history. For a comprehensive understanding of a vehicle’s history prior to purchase, you can authenticate the vehicle’s history by accessing carfax.com or comparable websites.

Theft Title

A “theft title” is a variety of clean title assigned to a vehicle that was earlier reported stolen but has subsequently been recovered. Typically, these titles bear a “theft” brand.

Rebuildable Salvage

A “theft title” is a variety of clean title assigned to a vehicle that was earlier reported stolen but has subsequently been recovered. Typically, these titles bear a “theft” brand.

NY 907A

A “New York 907A” is an ownership form issued by an insurance company for a vehicle that has been deemed a total loss due to fire, vandalism, collision, theft, or flood within New York State. However, it’s vital to note that most other states, such as Pennsylvania, will not recognize a New York 907A as proof of ownership. Purchasing a vehicle with a NY 907A necessitates scheduling a salvage vehicle inspection in New York, the process for which can be found on the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website. After successful inspection, you will receive a New York Salvage Certificate via mail, enabling you to undertake the reconstructed title process within your state.

Damaged Title / Rebuilt Title

“Damaged Title” or “Rebuilt Title” are general terms for a rebuildable vehicle with a salvage history. These terms encompass vehicles that have been declared a total loss, undergone repairs, and subsequently received a rebuilt or reconstructed title.

Salvage Receipt

A “Salvage Receipt” is a term utilized in some states, such as Texas, to signify a salvage title. This document, issued by a state agency or insurance company when a vehicle is declared a total loss, can be used to transfer ownership of the vehicle to another entity.

Unrebuildable / Junk Title

An “Unrebuildable” or “Junk Title” denotes a vehicle that cannot be rebuilt and is only suitable for parts or scrap. These vehicles are typically sold with a bill of sale, but the purchaser is responsible for determining the laws of their country or state regarding the usage of these types of documents.

Bill of Sale

An “Unrebuildable Salvage” title is accorded to a vehicle deemed a total loss due to fire, vandalism, collision, theft, flood or other incidents and is beyond repair. These vehicles can only be sold as parts and can never be retitled or reregistered. Often, these vehicles are listed as “EXPORT ONLY.”

Scrap Title

A “Scrap Title” is a variant of the unrebuildable salvage/junk title, indicating the vehicle is only good for parts or raw materials. Some states and countries accept these documents as proof of ownership, but it is up to the individual to determine their usability.

Certificate of Destruction

A “Certificate of Destruction” is a specific type of unrebuildable salvage or junk title, designating that these vehicles can only be utilized as a source for parts or raw materials within the United States. However, this title type often holds significant appeal for overseas buyers. In certain countries, where the regulations permit the importation and repair of vehicles with this title type, it can provide an economical solution. Despite these vehicles being categorized as irreparable in the United States, they can be repaired and put back into use in those countries where permit. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for potential international buyers to confirm the acceptability and specific regulations related to these types of titles in their home country.


 It’s crucial to be aware that the process of retitling a vehicle, regardless of the type of title it holds, may differ based on your place of residence. Before purchasing a vehicle, it is advisable to consult with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for relevant information on how to proceed with this. Please be aware that it is the obligation of the purchaser or their representative to validate and comply with the specific laws and regulations in their state or country. Bidgodrive cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided on its website and as such, it is crucial for purchasers to do their own research and due diligence.