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Georgia State Title Processing Procedures

  1. What form of title must an insurer obtain in connection with the sale of a vehicle that has been acquired through the settlement of a claim?
  2. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Certificate of Title (aka “Clean Title”)?
  3. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Bill of Sale where the vehicle is 1985 model year or older?
  4. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Certificate of Title marked “Salvage” (aka “Salvage Title”)?
  5. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle for “parts only”?
  6. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a recovered theft vehicle recovered substantially intact with no substantial damage, where title is still in the name of the insured?
  7. What steps must an insurer take in Georgia to process an owner-retained vehicle?
  8. What legal duties are imposed upon a lienholder following satisfaction of the lien?


  1. What form of title must an insurer obtain in connection with the sale of a vehicle that has been acquired through the settlement of a claim?

    Certificate of Title

    A Certificate of Title (“clean title”) may only be obtained for a stolen vehicle that has been recovered with the public manufacturer's vehicle identification number plate intact and if the vehicle: (i) is undamaged; (ii) has only cosmetic damage; or (iii) has been damaged but only to the extent that its restoration to an operable condition will not require the replacement of two or more major component parts. [See Code of Georgia § 40-3-2]

    Certificate of Title marked “Salvage” (“Salvage Title”)

    If the vehicle is 1986 or newer, the vehicle must be sold on a Salvage Title if an insurer has paid a total loss claim and the vehicle has not been repaired, regardless of the extent of damage to such vehicle or the number of major component parts required to repair such vehicle. As stated above, this shall NOT include any stolen motor vehicle which has been recovered with the public manufacturer’s vehicle identification number plate intact and if the vehicle (i) is undamaged; (ii) has only cosmetic damage; or (iii) has been damaged but only to the extent that its restoration to an operable condition will not require the replacement of two or more major component parts.

    Major component part means any one of the following subassemblies of a motor vehicle:

    1. Front clip assembly (fenders, grille, hood and bumper);
    2. Rear clip assembly (quarter panels and floor panel assembly);
    3. Engine and transmission;
    4. Top assembly, with the exception of soft tops;
    5. Frame; or
    6. Complete side (fenders, doors, and quarter panel).
    If it has been determined that the vehicle will be sold on Salvage Title, and the damage to the vehicle is the result of flood or fire, a “flood damaged” or a “fire damaged” designation shall be indicated on the face of the Certificate of Title. [See Code of Georgia §§ 40-3-2, 40-3-36, and 40-3-36.1; Georgia Admin. Code § 560-10-13-11]

    Bill of Sale

    If the vehicle is 1985 model year or older, the vehicle is not required to be titled in Georgia, and can be sold on a Bill of Sale. Additionally, if the vehicle can only be sold as scrap metal or parts, the Certificate of Title will be returned to the Motor Vehicle Division for cancellation, and the vehicle will be sold on a Bill of Sale. [See Code of Georgia §§ 40-3-2, 40-3-4(14)(A), 40-3-36.1]

    If the owner or authorized agent of the owner has not obtained a title in his or her name for the vehicle to be transferred, or has lost the title for the vehicle to be transferred, he or she may sign a statement swearing that, in addition to the foregoing conditions, the vehicle is worth $750.00 or less and is at least 12 model years old. The statement described in this paragraph may be used only to transfer such a vehicle to a licensed used motor vehicle parts dealer under Code Section 43-47-7 or scrap metal processor under Code Section 43-43- 1. [Code of Georgia §40-3-36(2)] back to top

  2. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Certificate of Title (aka “Clean Title”)

    This only applies to recovered theft vehicles without damage. See Section 6, below. back to top

  3. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Bill of Sale where the vehicle is 1985 model year or older?

    The insurer shall provide Copart with a Certificate of Title or a comparable ownership document issued by another state or jurisdiction (either endorsed over to the insurer by insured or endorsed by insurer accompanied by a power of attorney from insured to insurer), or bill of sale, an odometer disclosure statement, and Lien/Security Interest Release (T-4).

    Copart will submit these documents along with a letter containing a complete description of the vehicle and the appropriate fee to the Motor Vehicle Division for cancellation.

    Copart, acting under a power of attorney for the insurer (T-19), will then sell the vehicle at auction using a Bill of Sale. [See Code of Georgia § 40-3-4(14)(A)] back to top

  4. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Certificate of Title marked “Salvage” (aka “Salvage Title”)?

    The insurer shall provide Copart with a Certificate of Title or a comparable ownership document issued by another state or jurisdiction (either endorsed over to the insurer by insured or endorsed by insurer accompanied by a power of attorney from insured to insurer), Lien/Security Interest Release (T-4), and an odometer disclosure statement.

    Copart will submit these documents along with Application for a Salvage Title (MV-1S) and the appropriate fee to the Motor Vehicle Division for processing.

    Thereafter, the Motor Vehicle Division shall issue a Certificate of Title marked “Salvage” (Salvage Title) in the name of the insurer.

    Copart, acting under a power of attorney for the insurer (T-19), will then sell the vehicle at auction and reassign the insurer’s Salvage Title to the purchaser.

    (Note: If it is determined that the vehicle will be sold on Salvage Title, and the damage to the vehicle is the result of flood or fire, a “flood damaged” or a “fire damaged” designation shall be indicated on the face of the Salvage Title.) [See Georgia Code Ann. §§ 40-3-2, 40-3-36, and 40-3-36.1; GA Admin. Code § 560- 10-13-11] back to top

  5. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle for “parts only”?

    If vehicle is 1986 or newer, the insurer shall provide Copart with a Certificate of Title or a comparable ownership document issued by another state or jurisdiction (either endorsed over to the insurer by insured or endorsed by insurer accompanied by a power of attorney from insured to insurer), and an odometer disclosure statement.

    If vehicle is 1985 or older, the insurer shall provide Copart with a bill of sale from the insured to the insurer.

    Copart will submit these documents along with a description of the vehicle and the appropriate fee to the Motor Vehicle Division for cancellation.

    Thereafter, Copart, acting under a power of attorney for the insurer (T-19), will then sell the vehicle at auction using a Bill of Sale. [See Code of Georgia § 40-3- 36] back to top

  6. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a recovered theft vehicle recovered substantially intact with no substantial damage, where title is still in the name of the insured?

    When a vehicle has been stolen, the insurer shall provide Copart with a Certificate of Title or a comparable ownership document issued by another state or jurisdiction (either endorsed over to the insurer by insured or endorsed by insurer accompanied by a power of attorney from insured to insurer), an odometer disclosure statement with last known mileage, Lien/Security Interest Release (T- 4), and a letter from the insurer with (i) the date when the vehicle was stolen, (ii) the address where vehicle was stolen, and (iii) the police department where vehicle was reported as being stolen.

    After receipt of these documents, Copart will submit these documents along with a Title Application (MV-1) and the appropriate fee to the Motor Vehicle Division for processing.

    Thereafter, the Motor Vehicle Division shall issue a Stolen/Unrecovered Certificate of Title in the name of the insurer. Upon receipt, Copart will forward the Stolen/Unrecovered Certificate of Title to the insurer for safekeeping.

    If the vehicle is recovered with the serial plate intact, and (1) is undamaged, (2) has cosmetic damage only, or (3) restoration of the vehicle would require the replacement of no more than one major component part, then the Stolen/Unrecovered Certificate of Title, and a signed statement on insurer letterhead documenting (1) when and where the vehicle was stolen, (2) when and where the vehicle was recovered, (3) the condition of the vehicle at the time of recovery, listing any damages at the time the vehicle was recovered, (4) that the serial plate was intact at the time of recovery; (5) VIN number, year, make and model, will be returned to Copart by the insurer in order to obtain a Certificate of Title.

    Copart, acting upon a power of attorney for the insurer (T-19), will then sell the vehicle at auction and reassign the insurer’s Certificate of Title to the purchaser. [See Code of Georgia §§ 40-3-2(9) and (11)(B); 40-3-37; Georgia Admin. Code § 560-10-13-02] back to top

  7. What steps must an insurer take in Georgia to process an ownerretained vehicle?

    Pursuant to Code of Georgia § 40-3-36(B), the insured is required to do the following:

      A motor vehicle owner who retains possession of a damaged vehicle which is a salvage motor vehicle as defined in paragraph (11) of Code Section 40- 3-2 shall surrender the license plates and registration for such vehicle, shall not operate such vehicle upon the roads of this state, and shall not sell, trade, or otherwise dispose of such vehicle prior to obtaining a salvage certificate of title for such vehicle. back to top

  8. What legal duties are imposed upon a lienholder following satisfaction of the lien?

    If any security interest or lien listed on a certificate of title is satisfied, the holder thereof shall, within ten days after demand, execute a release in the form the commissioner prescribes and mail or deliver the release to the owner, provided that as an alternative to a handwritten signature, the commissioner may authorize use of a digital signature as long as appropriate security measures are implemented which assure security and verification of the digital signature process, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the commissioner.

    The security interest holder or lienholder may retain custody of the certificate of title until such security interest holder's or lienholder's claim has been satisfied. The security interest holder or lienholder having custody of a certificate of title must deliver the certificate of title to the next lienholder or security interest holder within ten days after such custodial security interest holder's or lienholder's lien or security interest has been satisfied and, if there is no other security interest holder or lienholder, such custodial security interest holder or lienholder must deliver the certificate of title to the owner.

    The owner may then forward the certificate of title, the release, the properly executed title application, and title application fee to the commissioner or the commissioner's duly authorized county tag agent, and the commissioner or authorized county tag agent shall release the security interest or lien on the certificate or issue a new certificate and mail or deliver the certificate to the owner.

    A person who willfully fails to mail or deliver a release of security interest or lien to the owner within ten days of the time required above shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor shall be punished by fine not to exceed $1,000 or by confinement in the county or other jail, county correctional institution, or such other places as counties may provide for maintenance of county inmates, for a total term not to exceed 12 months, or both.

    [See Code of Georgia § 40-3-56(a)(1); 40-3-26(c); 40-3-56(b); 40-3-91; 17-10-3] back to top

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