What You Should Know About Oklahoma Salvage Title Laws

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Oklahoma salvage title laws are administered through the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Oklahoma used car salvage title laws are pretty good for consumers when compared to other states. Insurance companies may not like them as much. Rebuilt titles in Oklahoma can also be a good value.

The best aspect of the law is a low threshold for declaring a vehicle salvaged: if the cost to make a vehicle that is 10 years or newer roadworthy is more than 60% of its fair market value at the time of the loss.

In almost all cases across the country, salvage title is given to any vehicle that has sustained damage worth 75% or more of its value. Requirements are going to vary by state. In Florida, a car has to be damaged to 80% of its value before the accident. Vehicles in Minnesota are considered salvaged when they are declared "repairable total loss" by an insurance company, were worth at least $5,000 before the damage or are less than six years old.

Salvage Titles in the State of Oklahoma

Here is the official language from the state of Oklahoma when it comes to salvage titles (bold emphasis is from the state regulations):


(E) Salvage title when damage is greater than sixty percent (60%) of value. Should the owner indicate that the vehicle had been damaged and the cost of repairing it to a roadworthy condition amounted to more than sixty percent (60%) of its fair market value at the time of loss, the vehicle is to be treated as if it were entering Oklahoma with a salvage title.

This applies regardless of whether the damage was due to theft, collision or other occurrence.

710:60-5-53. Salvage Titles

(a) Salvage vehicle defined. A salvage vehicle is a vehicle ten (10) model years and newer which has been damaged by collision or other occurrence to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle for safe operation on the highway exceeds sixty percent (60%) of its fair market value at the time of loss.

(b) Determining classification as a salvage vehicle. To determine the 10 year model age limit for this purpose, subtract 9 from the current latest manufacturers model on sale. July 1 is the generally accepted date that new model vehicles go on sale. For example, prior to July 1, 2006, the latest manufacturers model on sale were 2006 models. Therefore, during the one (1) year period ending June 30, 2006 (7/1/05 through 6/30/06), a ten year old vehicle would have been a 1997 (2006-9) model. During that period, 1996 and older models were exempt from the salvage requirements. Beginning July 1, 2006, 2007 model vehicles officially (per this guideline) went on sale, resulting in 1997 models becoming exempt from the salvage requirements. This formula for determining the age of a model year will apply to all such determinations regarding salvage and rebuilt vehicles.

(c) Change of classification. Vehicles over 10 model years old may go in to, or come out of, salvage at any time. No inspection is required to bring such vehicles out of salvage.

(d) Out-of-state salvage titles. Vehicles over 10 model years old entering Oklahoma with an out-of-state salvage title may receive either a salvage title or standard (green) title with a salvage date listed.

(e) Notification by insurance companies. An insurance company paying a loss on a vehicle where the cost of repairing the vehicle for safe operation on the highway exceeds 60% of its market value, or pays a claim for a flood-damaged vehicle as defined in 47 O.S. § 1105, is required to notify the vehicle owner to surrender the title to the Oklahoma Tax Commission or a motor license agent so that it may be replaced by a salvage title. The Motor Vehicle Division will also be notified by the insurance company. The notice shall include the estimated total damage percentage determination of the actual cash value made by the insurance company to repair the vehicle for safe operation on the highway.

(f) Transfer salvage title to insurance company on payment of total loss due to theft; removal of salvage notation. Any vehicle 7 model years old or newer on which an insurance company has paid a total loss due to theft must be transferred to the insurer by a salvage title.

However, the statutes provide that the salvage notation may be removed if the vehicle is recovered and has suffered damage amounting to less than 60% of the value of the vehicle. Certification to that effect, in the form of a letter on the insurance companies letterhead, will be required.

(g) License plate not affected by salvage classification; current registration generally required. The license plate from a vehicle entering salvage status need not be surrendered. However, registration must be current on a vehicle entering salvage status, unless it is being titled by a salvage dealer.

(h) Flood damaged brand. A salvage or rebuilt vehicle which was damaged by flooding, or a vehicle which was submerged at a level to or above the dashboard of the vehicle and on which an amount of loss was paid by the insurer, shall have the notation "Flood Damaged" listed on the face of the Oklahoma title.

(i) Multi-state motor vehicle salvage processing centers. Insurance companies licensed by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and which maintain a multi-state motor vehicle salvage processing center in this state may be issued an Oklahoma original salvage title on an unrecovered stolen vehicle without a visual inspection of the vehicle identification number (VIN) or odometer.

For a vehicle to qualify, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The vehicle has been stolen and not yet recovered;
  2. An out-of-state title, assigned to the qualifying insurance company, must be submitted. An Oklahoma title may not be issued if an existing Oklahoma title record is on file reflecting a VIN inspection "hold"; and,
  1. One of the following documents, verifying the theft of the vehicle, must be submitted: (A) Stolen vehicle report; (B) Insurer's proof of loss; or, (C) A statement from the insurer verifying that the vehicle was stolen and has not yet been recovered.

Rebuilt Titles

In Oklahoma, you are also going to come across something called a rebuilt title. This refers specifically to vehicles that once held a salvage title but have now been fixed to a roadworthy condition. It also means the vehicle has undergone a rebuilt vehicle inspection before it can be given this title. Vehicles with this designation, at least in Oklahoma, are a much better deal than those sold with salvage titles because work has been done to fix them and been inspected by a trained official.

710:60-5-54. Rebuilt Titles

(a) A salvage vehicle ten (10) model years old or newer, that has been repaired to a roadworthy condition must undergo a rebuilt vehicle inspection by a Motor License Agent before it may be put into use.

(b) The vehicle owner must complete a "Rebuilt Vehicle Inspection Request" (OTC Form 788-B) and submit it to the Motor License Agent.

(c) If an assigned serial number is needed, the owner must contact the Oklahoma Tax Commission Motor Vehicle Division, Title Section.

(d) The assigned serial number must be permanently affixed to the vehicle before the rebuilt inspection is performed.

(e) The Motor License Agent will designate the date, time and location of the inspection within ten (10) working days of receipt of the request.

(f) If the inspection location is not the place of business of the rebuilder, the Motor License Agent shall issue an "Authorization for Travel and Inspection" (OTC Form 788-C), authorizing the applicant to operate the vehicle en route to and from the location for the inspection. This form does not relieve the operator of the vehicle from the Oklahoma Financial Responsibility laws, nor does it allow the operation of the vehicle without a current safety inspection.

(g) The inspection is to be performed by the Motor License Agent or by persons employed by the Motor License Agent.

(h) All vehicle damage shall be repaired before the examination is conducted.

(i) The rebuilt vehicle inspection shall consist of all the following:

  1. Comparison of the vehicle identification number (VIN) with the number recorded on the ownership records.
  2. Inspection of the vehicle identification number and the VIN plate to detect possible alteration or other fraud.
  3. Interpretation of the vehicle identification number recorded on the ownership documents to assure that it accurately describes the motor vehicle in question. Motor License Agents are to use the VIN analysis system (VINA) incorporated into the Motor Vehicle Computer System, to verify that the VIN accurately describes the motor vehicle.
  4. Inspection of the odometer of the vehicle to detect rollback or alteration.

    (j) The owner of the vehicle shall present to the Motor License Agent:

    1. The salvage title;
    2. Receipts for all parts placed on the vehicle. The Agent shall validate the parts used and return the receipts to the owner; and,
    3. Proof of current liability insurance. An "Affidavit of Non-Use In Lieu of Liability Insurance" (OTC Form 797) is not acceptable.

      (k) The Motor License Agent or employee will entirely complete a "Rebuilt Vehicle Inspection" (OTC Form 788-A). The entire inspection is to be completed, even if the vehicle fails one or more portions of it. If a vehicle fails a rebuilt inspection, the Motor License Agent shall contact the Motor Vehicle Division, Title Corrections, to ensure placement of a "stop flag" on the vehicle record.

      (l) If a vehicle fails a rebuilt inspection:

      1. An Oklahoma rebuilt title will not be issued unless written authorization for issuance of a rebuilt title is obtained from an Oklahoma law enforcement agency.
      2. The original (top) copy of the OTC Form 788-A is given to the vehicle owner.

        (m) If a vehicle which has previously failed a rebuilt inspection is issued written authorization for issuance of a rebuilt title by an Oklahoma law enforcement agency, the owner must:

        1. Return to the same Motor License Agency that performed the rebuilt inspection;
        2. Submit the original (top) copy of the OTC Form 788-A; and
        3. Submit the letter from the Oklahoma law enforcement agency authorizing the rebuilt title issuance.

          (n) The Motor License Agent must contact the Motor Vehicle Division, Title Section, for authorization to issue the rebuilt title and for removal of the "stop flag" from the vehicle record.

          (o) If a vehicle passes the inspection, the original (top) copy of the OTC Form 788-A is to be attached as supporting documentation to the rebuilt title receipt submitted in the Motor License Agent's semi-monthly report.

          (p) The second (bottom) copy of the OTC Form 788-A is retained by the Motor License Agent regardless of whether the vehicle passes or fails the inspection.

          (q) The rebuilt inspection fee is paid only at the time the rebuilt title is issued. If the owner refuses to title and register the vehicle when the inspection is completed and passed at the inspecting agency, the Motor License Agent is not to release the original (top) copy of OTC Form 788-A to the owner.

          (r) The Motor License Agent may not be held liable for any damage to the vehicle occurring during the performance of the inspection, however the Motor License Agent may be held liable for any damage to the vehicle caused by negligent acts or omissions in the performance of the inspection.