Friday, 07 May 2021 12:04

What Does it Mean to ‘Total’ a Vehicle?

Written by Gary Wickert, Claims Journal


...internet focused “junk-my-car” solicitation companies, tow-to-acquire companies, charity organizations and other companies that buy used and salvage vehicles from the public for resale---engages in a practice of title skipping to hide its part in the chain of ownership of the total loss vehicle.


In some states, such as Florida, if the vehicle is damaged to 80% of its pre-accident ACV, it is considered a salvage vehicle. In other states, such as Minnesota, the vehicle becomes a salvage vehicle when the insurance company declares it to be a “total loss” and the vehicle is worth at least $5,000 and is less than 6 years old.


This means that in some states, a vehicle worth less than $5,000 or older than 6 years cannot be deemed salvage, making those who buy vehicles which fit this description open to fraud and unsafe vehicles.


In most states, vehicles which carry a salvage title may not be registered and driven on public roads. In order to resell the vehicle and operate it on the public roadways, the title must be “rebranded” with a “rebuilt salvage” brand.


The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is a system that allows the titling agency to instantly and reliably verify the information on the paper title with the electronic data from the state that issued the title. NMVTIS is designed to protect consumers from fraud and unsafe vehicles and to keep stolen vehicles from being resold.


Insurance carriers are required to provide...