After an accident, a vehicle may be considered a total loss and unsafe for being on the road. Insurance companies may offer the owner of the vehicle the option to buy back the car at a severe discount. However, a new title, marked as “salvage,” is issued with the vehicle. The owner has the option to scrap the vehicle or rebuild it so the vehicle is road-worthy. The state of Ohio has a set guideline for dealing with vehicles with a salvage title.
Ohio requires you apply for a salvage title for wrecked vehicles within 30 days of the insurance company declaring the vehicle totaled. The insurance company may then choose to allow the owner to keep the vehicle. You cannot drive the vehicle with a salvage title. The state of Ohio imposes a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail term of up to one year if you are caught driving a vehicle with a salvage title.
Once the vehicle is repaired and road worthy, you may obtain a rebuilt title. However, before a rebuilt title is issued, you must apply for a vehicle inspection. The paperwork for application is available at any of the deputy registrars offices in Ohio. The fee for the paperwork is $50. Fill out the application and return it with the filing fee to obtain a receipt number. This number is required to make the vehicle inspection appointment.
You need a receipt for the various major parts used to repair the vehicle or any that cost $100 or more. Registration numbers or other identification numbers located on repair parts must remain on the part. The vehicle may be modified, such as tinted windows instead of clear or bucket seats instead of bench seats. However, all repairs must be done in compliance with street legal vehicle regulations. For instance, cracked windshields, damaged or non-working head lights and tail lights or a lack of seat belts are not allowed in a rebuilt vehicle.
The inspection takes place at designated salvage inspection locations throughout the state. The 10 locations are in Massillon, Cleveland, Columbus, Bucyrus and Findlay. Other locations include Blue Ash, Piqua, Jackson, New Concord and Warren. Arrive early for the inspection so you don't need to reschedule. The inspector may require the vehicle remain overnight for a more thorough inspection. Also, you may be asked to remove parts for the inspector to complete the inspection. The inspector can impound the vehicle if any parts are stolen. Two-party sales receipts must be notarized. Once the vehicle passes inspection, the salvage title is returned to the title office and you will receive a rebuilt salvage title. The vehicle is now street worthy.
- Wreck image by Gudellaphoto from