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Changing salvage title to rebuilt title


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Question: In the state of Nebraska, can a salvage title be changed to a rebuilt or reconditioned title? If so, how to go about it, where to go and how much does it cost.

Answer: Yes, in Nebraska vehicles with salvaged titles can be changed over to a "previously salvaged" title (comparable to rebuilt/reconditioned title) after the vehicle is repaired and determined roadworthy in an inspection.

If you are buying back a vehicle that was totaled out by your insurance company then it will have a salvage title when you receive it back. According to the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, when an insurance company acquires a salvage vehicle through payment of a total loss settlement due to damage, a Salvage Certificate of Title must be issued in the name of the insurance company.

If, after the insurance company has paid a total loss settlement on a vehicle that meets the definition of salvage, the owner (insured) of the damaged vehicle chooses to retain ownership, the insurance company must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles. The NE DMV will then enter the salvage brand onto the computer record of the vehicle.

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The insurance company is also required to notify the insured of their responsibility to obtain a Salvage Certificate of Title within thirty (30) days after the settlement of loss. Once the Salvage Certificate of Title has been issued, prior to operating the vehicle on public roads, the insured is required to have a Vehicle Inspection performed and a title issued that will be branded "Previously Salvaged". This brand must be carried forward on any subsequent titles.

After the Previously Salvaged Certificate of Title has been issued the insured must make application for a new vehicle registration.

In Nebraska, a salvage vehicle is defined as a vehicle that is a late model vehicle that has been wrecked, damaged, or destroyed to the extent that the estimated total cost of repair to rebuild and restore the vehicle to its condition immediately before it was damaged exceeds 75% of the retail value of the vehicle at the time it was damaged.

A late model vehicle is currently defined by Nebraska as a vehicle that is:

  • is 7 years old or less, as determined by the manufacturer's model year designation, or;
  • has a retail value of more than $10,500 until January 1, 2010.

The NE DMV also notes that the salvage designation also applies if the owner of a vehicle voluntarily obtains a salvage branded Certificate of Title on the vehicle, regardless of the damage, age or value of the vehicle.

So in Nebraska once a vehicle with a Salvage Certificate of Title has been repaired, a Vehicle Inspection must be performed and a Vehicle Inspection Certificate must accompany the application for title, before a new title can be issued and the vehicle can be registered. The new title is required to have the words "Previously Salvaged" branded on the face under the designation, Legends. All brands must be carried forward on any titles issued thereafter and will also appear on any initial and subsequent registrations issued for that vehicle.

The County Sheriff conducts vehicle inspections. The fee for a Sheriff's Inspection is $10.00. For information regarding Inspection Station locations and hours of operation you will need to contact the designated County Official in your county of residence.

You will be required to produce ownership documentation at the time of inspection. If there is a lien holder or leasing company who has possession of the title document, you will need to contact the designated County Official in your county of residence so that they can request the title from the lien holder or leasing company. Ask that the County Official notify you when the title has arrived so that you can obtain a copy of the title for the Vehicle Inspection.

Once the vehicle has passed inspection, a completed and signed inspection form will be given to you. This form must be presented to the designated County Official along with the application for Certificate of Title and the Salvage Certificate of Title when applying for a Previously Salvaged Certificate of Title.

The inspection expires ninety (90) days after the date of the inspection. If the form expires prior to your application for title, you will need to return to the Sheriff's Office for re-inspection of the vehicle.

A Salvage or Previously Salvaged Certificate of Title is obtained by submitting the salvage vehicle's Certificate of Title and a properly completed Application for Certificate of Title and the passed inspection form to any designated County Official. The NE DMV has a list of County Officials with contact information.

The fee for a Previously Salvage Certificate of Title is $10.00 according to the current fee schedule listed by the Nebraska DMV. You can contact the County Official where the application for title is will be submitted for information regarding acceptable methods of payment and to verify the costs of changing over a salvage title to a "previously salvaged" title.


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