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Montana 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 ("clean title")?
  3. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Salvage Certificate?
  4. 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?
  5. What steps must an insurer take in Montana to process an owner-retained vehicle?
  6. 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?

    (6) "Salvage certificate" means a certificate of title issued by the department for a salvage vehicle that may be used to retitle the vehicle.
    (7) "Salvage vehicle" means a vehicle damaged by collision, fire, flood, accident, trespass, or other occurrence to the extent that the owner, an insurer, or other person acting on behalf of the owner determines that the cost of parts and labor makes it uneconomical to repair the vehicle.
    (8) "Salvage vehicle purchaser" means a person, other than an insurer, who purchases or otherwise obtains possession of a salvage vehicle.

    [Montana Code § 61-3-210]

    (1) An insurer acquiring ownership of a vehicle that is less than 5 years of age that the insurer determines to be a salvage vehicle shall surrender the certificate of title to the department within 15 days after acquiring the certificate of title. If the insurer has not sold the salvage vehicle prior to the time of surrendering the certificate of title, the insurer shall apply for a salvage certificate on a form prescribed by the department. If the certificate of title names one or more holders of a perfected security interest in the vehicle, the insurer shall secure and deliver to the department a release from each secured party of the secured interest.
    (2) Upon receipt of a properly executed certificate of title and a salvage certificate application from an insurer, the department shall issue a salvage certificate to the insurer within 5 working days of the date of receipt of the application. Upon receipt of a salvage certificate issued by the department, an insurer may possess, retain, transport, sell, transfer, or otherwise dispose of the salvage vehicle. The salvage certificate is prima facie evidence of ownership of a salvage vehicle.
    (3) If the insurer sells a salvage vehicle within the 15-day period established in subsection (1) prior to surrendering the certificate of title, the insurer shall complete a salvage receipt on a form prescribed by the department. The insurer shall deliver the original salvage receipt to the salvage vehicle purchaser only after obtaining a clear title and lien release. Prior to disposing of the salvage vehicle, the salvage vehicle purchaser shall apply for a salvage certificate by completing the salvage receipt and submitting it to the department. The insurer shall deliver a copy of the salvage receipt with the surrendered certificate of title to the department. Upon receipt of the certificate of title from the insurer and the application from the salvage vehicle purchaser, the department shall issue a salvage certificate to the salvage vehicle purchaser that is prima facie evidence of ownership.
    (4) If an insurer determines that a salvage vehicle will remain with the owner after an agreed settlement, the insurer shall notify the department of the settlement on a form prescribed by the department. Upon receipt of the notice, the department may require the owner to surrender the certificate of title in compliance with this part, regardless of whether ownership of the salvage vehicle was obtained in a jurisdiction not requiring the surrender of the certificate of title or a comparable ownership document.
    (5) At the time of surrender of a certificate of title for a salvage vehicle not acquired by an insurer, the department shall issue a salvage certificate to the owner. Upon receipt of a salvage certificate issued by the department to a noninsurer, the owner may possess, retain, transport, sell, transfer, or otherwise dispose of the salvage vehicle. A salvage certificate is prima facie evidence of ownership of a salvage vehicle.
    (6) A fee of $5 must be paid to the department for the issuance of a salvage certificate.
    (7) A salvage vehicle owned by or in the inventory of a motor vehicle wrecking facility on October 1, 1991, is exempt from the provisions of this section if the owner of the facility has complied with the provisions of 75-10-513(2).

    [Montana Code § 61-3-211]

    (1) When an insurance company or its adjuster has taken possession of a motor vehicle as a result of settling an insurance claim and transfers ownership of the motor vehicle, it shall deliver to the transferee at the time of transfer a certificate of title signed and acknowledged by the registered owner or owners before the county treasurer, a deputy county treasurer, or a notary public.
    (2) If the certificate of title names one or more holders of a perfected security interest in the motor vehicle, the insurance company or its adjuster shall also secure and deliver to the transferee a release from the secured party of the security interest.

    [Montana Code § 61-3-205]

  2. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Certificate of Title ("clean 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), an odometer disclosure statement, and a release of any liens.

    Copart will submit these documents along with Application for Certificate of Title (MV-1) to the Motor Vehicle Division for processing.

    Thereafter, the Motor Vehicle Division shall issue a Certificate of Title in the name of the insurer.

    Copart, acting under a power of attorney for the insurer, will then sell the vehicle at auction and reassign the insurer’s Certificate of Title to the purchaser. [Montana Code § 61-3-202]

  3. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Salvage Certificate?

    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, a release of any liens, and a damage report.

    Copart will submit these documents along with Application for a Salvage Certificate of a Vehicle (Form MV-206) to the Motor Vehicle Division for processing.

    Thereafter, the Motor Vehicle Division shall issue a Salvage Certificate in the name of the insurer.

    Copart, acting under a power of attorney for the insurer, will then sell the vehicle at auction and reassign the insurer’s Salvage Certificate to the purchaser. [Montana Code § 61-3-210 & 61-3-211]

  4. 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, a release of any liens, and a police report.

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

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

    If the vehicle is recovered, the Certificate of Title along with a damage disclosure and police report will be returned to Copart by the insurer in order to obtain the appropriate title depending upon the year of the vehicle and the damage to the vehicle.

    Copart, acting upon a power of attorney for the insurer, will then sell the vehicle at auction and reassign the insurer’s appropriate Certificate of Title to the purchaser.

  5. What steps must an insurer take in Montana to process an ownerretained vehicle?

    If an insurer determines that a salvage vehicle will remain with the owner after an agreed settlement, the insurer shall notify the department of the settlement on a Notice of Total Loss Payoff "Owner-Retained Salvage Vehicle" (MV-205) prescribed by the department. Upon receipt of the notice, the department may require the owner to surrender the certificate of title in compliance with this part, regardless of whether ownership of the salvage vehicle was obtained in a jurisdiction not requiring the surrender of the certificate of title or a comparable ownership document.

    [Montana Code § 61-3-211(4)]

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

    A secured party or lienholder who has a perfected security interest in a vehicle and who fails to file a satisfaction of the security interest or lien within 21 days after receiving final payment is required to pay the department $25 for each day that the secured party or lienholder fails to file the satisfaction.

    [Montana Code § 61-3-103(5)]



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