Car icon Motor Vehicles Salvage Titles

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 the insurance company is unable to obtain a properly assigned certificate of title from the previous owner, special provisions have been made, refer to Insurance Company Affidavit for Affirmation of Ownership of a Salvaged Vehicle Obtained in Settlement of a Total Loss.

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 Department of Motor Vehicles will then enter the salvage brand onto the computer record of the vehicle.

An insurance company may notify the Department on a form of their own design or, as a courtesy, the Department has a form available for download at Notice of Owner-Retained Salvage. (If the insurance company elects to use their own form, it must contain all information requested on the Department of Motor Vehicles Notice of Owner-Retained Salvage form.)

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.

A salvage vehicle is 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; OR
  • has flood damage resulting from being submerged in water to the point that rising water has reached over the floorboard, has entered the passenger compartment, and has caused damage to any electrical, computerized, or mechanical components.
    • Flood damage specifically does not apply to a vehicle that an inspection, conducted by an insurance claim representative or a vehicle repairer, indicates:
    • has no electrical, computerized, or mechanical components damaged by water; or
    • had one or more electrical, computerized, or mechanical components damaged by water and all such damaged components were repaired or replaced.

Late model vehicle is a vehicle that:

  • is 7 years old or less, as determined by the manufacturer's model year designation, or
  • has a retail value of more than $11,500 until January 1, 2020, when it increases to $12,000.


Cost Of Repairs:

The estimated or actual retail cost of parts needed to repair a vehicle, plus the cost of labor computed by using an hourly labor rate and time that are customary and reasonable. Retail cost of parts and labor rates may be based upon collision estimating manuals or electronic computer estimating systems customarily used in the automobile insurance industry.

Retail value means the actual cash value, fair market value, or retail value as:

  • set forth in a current edition of any nationally recognized compilation, including automated data bases, or;
  • determined according to a market survey of comparable vehicles with respect to condition and equipment.

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.

If an Out-of-State title is presented with any indication of damage, the brand will be carried forward along with the name of the jurisdiction that issued the previous title, on the Nebraska Certificate of Title. This includes, but is not limited to, the following notations:

  • Damaged
  • Flood
  • Junked (in those states where this is not a death certificate)
  • Manufacturer Buyback
  • Non-Highway Use (not eligible for registration)
  • Previously Salvaged
  • Rebuilt
  • Reconstructed
  • Repaired
  • Total Loss
  • Any other language that would indicate damage

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.

A Salvage Certificate of Title is obtained by submitting the salvage vehicle's Certificate of Title and a properly completed Application for Certificate of Title to any designated County Official (refer to the County Officials Listing for contact information).

The fee for a Salvage Certificate of Title is $10.00. Please contact the designated County Official where the application for title is submitted for information regarding acceptable methods of payment.


Questions regarding Salvage and Previously Salvaged Certificates of Title for Motor Vehicles may be addressed by email or by phone at (402) 471-3918 .