CA DMV: How to Keep My Vehicle, Which Was Declared a Total Loss

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  1. California allows keeping a totaled car
  2. California's Totalled Cars: Fate of License Plates Revealed
    1. Reporting a Totaled Car to California DMV: Step-by-Step Guide

California allows keeping a totaled car

California allows keeping a totaled car in certain circumstances. When a car is declared totaled by an insurance company, it means that the cost of repairs exceeds a certain percentage of the car's value. In California, if you choose to keep a totaled car, you must obtain a salvage title from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This salvage title indicates that the car has been declared a total loss.

Keeping a totaled car can have some advantages. You can choose to repair the car yourself or sell it to a salvage yard for parts. However, it's important to note that a salvage title can affect the car's resale value and ability to get insurance coverage in the future.

It's recommended to consult the DMV and your insurance company for specific guidelines and requirements when keeping a totaled car in California.

California's Totalled Cars: Fate of License Plates Revealed

California's Totalled Cars: Fate of License Plates Revealed

In California, when a car is declared totaled, the fate of its license plates is revealed. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has specific guidelines on what to do with these plates. Here's what happens to license plates from California's totaled cars:

1. Surrendered to the DMV: The first option for owners of totaled cars is to surrender their license plates to the DMV. This can be done either by visiting a local DMV office or by mailing the plates to the address provided by the department. Surrendering the plates ensures that they are properly disposed of and not misused.

2. Retained by the Owner: Another option is for the owner to retain the license plates from their totaled car. In this case, the plates must be marked as "SALVAGED" or "DESTROYED" to indicate that the vehicle is no longer in use. These plates cannot be transferred to another vehicle and must be returned to the DMV if the owner decides to sell or dispose of them.

3. Transferred to a New Vehicle: If the owner of a totaled car purchases a new vehicle, they have the option to transfer the license plates to the new vehicle. However, certain conditions must be met, such as the new vehicle being of the same type or class as the totaled vehicle. Additionally, the owner must pay the necessary fees and comply with any other requirements set by the DMV.

4. Destroyed by the DMV: If the license plates are not surrendered or retained by the owner, the DMV will destroy them to ensure they are no longer in circulation. This prevents any potential misuse or fraudulent activities associated with these plates.

It's important for owners of totaled cars in California to follow the proper procedures outlined by the DMV regarding license plates. This helps maintain the integrity of the licensing system and ensures public safety.

Reporting a Totaled Car to California DMV: Step-by-Step Guide

Reporting a Totaled Car to California DMV: Step-By-Step Guide

1. Gather necessary information:
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Driver's license number
- Insurance policy details
- Accident report, if applicable

2. Determine if your car is considered totaled:
- A car is typically considered totaled if the cost of repairs exceeds its actual cash value (ACV) or if it meets certain damage criteria set by the insurance company.

3. Contact your insurance company:
- Notify your insurance company about the accident and provide them with all the required information.
- They will guide you through the claims process and determine if your car is indeed totaled.

4. Obtain a salvage title:
- If your car is deemed totaled, the insurance company will issue a salvage title.
- This title indicates that the car has been significantly damaged and cannot be operated on public roads without repairs.

5. Complete the Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (REG 488C):
- Download the REG 488C form from the California DMV website.
- Fill out the form accurately, providing all necessary details about the totaled car.

6. Submit the form and required documents to the California DMV:
- Visit your local DMV office or mail the completed form to the address provided on the form.
- Include the salvage title, driver's license copy, insurance information, and any other requested documents.

7. Pay the required fees:
- There may be fees associated with reporting a totaled car, such as salvage title fees or duplicate title fees.
- Check the California DMV website or contact your local DMV office for the exact fee amounts.

8. Receive the salvage certificate:
- Once the DMV processes your application and verifies the information, they will issue a salvage certificate.
- This certificate serves as proof that your car has been reported as totaled.

9. Inform the insurance company of the salvage certificate:
- Provide a copy of the salvage certificate to your insurance company.
- They may require this document for further processing or to finalize your claim.

Remember to follow the applicable laws and regulations of California when reporting a totaled car to the DMV.

To keep your vehicle, which was declared a total loss by the CA DMV, you can consider the following steps:

1. Contact your insurance company: Discuss the situation with your insurance provider and understand the options available to you.

2. Negotiate with the insurance company: If you believe your vehicle still holds value, try negotiating with your insurance company to reach a fair settlement.

3. Obtain an independent appraisal: Get a professional appraisal to determine the actual worth of your vehicle. This can be used as evidence during negotiations.

4. Provide supporting documents: Gather all relevant paperwork, such as maintenance records, receipts, and photographs, to support your claim.

5. Understand salvage title laws: Familiarize yourself with salvage title laws in your state to comprehend the implications and requirements for keeping a totaled vehicle on the road.

Remember, each situation may be unique, so it's essential to consult with professionals, such as an attorney or a DMV representative, to ensure you take the appropriate steps. Good luck!


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