A salvage vehicle is a vehicle damaged by collision, flood, or other occurrence to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle for safe operation exceeds its fair market value; or a vehicle that has been declared a salvage vehicle by an insurer or other state or jurisdiction, but is not precluded from further registration and titling (41-1a-1001 UCA). A rebuilt/restored vehicle is a salvage vehicle that has been repaired and restored to operation.
Note: A vehicle that has been "salvaged" or "rebuilt/restored" will be issued a different kind of Utah title, referred to as a "branded" title. A salvage vehicle's Utah title will state: "Salvage." If the vehicle has been rebuilt, the title will say "rebuilt/restored."
Utah law allows, under limited circumstances, some salvage vehicles to be rebuilt and to have the "brand" removed from the title. But in most cases, a rebuilt/restored salvage vehicle will have a branded title.
However, other states have less stringent laws. Rebuilders will ship wrecked cars to these states, and rebuild them–sometimes well, oftentimes not–because these states do not regulate the quality of these repairs. The vehicles are then re-titled without the "brand," and then are sold to unsuspecting dealers or individuals.
Utah will not issue an unbranded title to a vehicle that has been branded in another state–even if the out-of-state title given to the buyer does not have a brand on it. So sometimes a purchaser will receive a clean out-of-state title, only to have Utah then brand it. A salvage vehicle with a branded title is worth thousands of dollars less than a vehicle with an unbranded title.
An operator of a motor vehicle auction shall provide a purchaser of a salvage vehicle a disclosure statement. See Utah Code Section 41-3-201(3)(e)(ii) for the required wording of the disclosure statement.
For more information on selling salvage vehicles, click here.
For motor vehicle title history on a vehicle, click here to check the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS).
The best advice is to spot a one-time wreck before you buy it. These vehicles can look good but there are some telltale signs:
Keep your eyes open, ask a lot of questions and if you have doubts, walk away.
When a dealer comes into possession of a salvage or rebuilt-restored vehicle, the dealer, before he negotiates for the sale of the vehicle, must give written notice to the customer and the prospective lien holder that a salvage certificate or a branded title has been issued for the vehicle (41-1a-1004). The dealer must also prominently display the form in the lower passenger-side corner of the windshield when the vehicle is displayed or offered for sale. This disclosure form must be used by non-dealers as well. However, non-dealers do not need to place the form in the windshield while the vehicle is on display or being offered for sale.
Yes, if the vehicle received major damage to only one major component part or major damage to one component part and damage to a second component part that takes less than 10 hours to repair, the vehicle may be eligible for an unbranded title. The vehicle will require a before-repair inspection by an authorized inspector from MVED, and may require an interim- and after-repair inspection.
No, if the vehicle has already been repaired or is a flood vehicle, it is not eligible to have the brand on the title removed.
No, if the title is already branded by another state or jurisdiction it is not eligible to have the brand removed in Utah.
Motor Vehicle Information
P.O. Box 30412
Salt Lake City, UT 84130