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West Virginia 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 Salvage Certificate of Title?
  3. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Salvage Certificate of Title branded "Flood Damage"?
  4. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Salvage Certificate of Title branded "Fire Damage"?
  5. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to obtain a Cosmetic Total Loss Certificate of Title in the name of the insured (if the insured retains possession of the vehicle)?
  6. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Cosmetic Total Loss Salvage Certificate of Title (if insurance company keeps the vehicle)?
  7. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on Nonrepairable Motor Vehicle Certificate?
  8. 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?
  9. 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?

    Pursuant to West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10:

    (a) In the event a motor vehicle is determined to be a total loss or otherwise designated as "totaled" by any insurance company or insurer, and upon payment of an agreed price as a claim settlement to any insured or claimant owner for the purchase of the vehicle, the insurance company or the insurer shall receive the certificate of title and the vehicle except that an insured or claimant owner may choose to retain possession of a cosmetically damaged vehicle, as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection. The term "total loss" means a motor vehicle which has sustained damages equivalent to seventy-five percent or more of the market value as determined by a nationally accepted used car value guide. The insurance company or insurer shall within ten days determine if the vehicle is repairable, cosmetically damaged or nonrepairable and surrender the certificate of title and a copy of the claim settlement to the division of motor vehicles. If the insurance company or insurer determines that the vehicle is repairable, the division shall issue a "salvage certificate", on a form prescribed by the commissioner, in the name of the insurance company or the insurer. The certificate shall contain on the reverse thereof spaces for one successive assignment before a new certificate at an additional fee is required.

      (1) Upon the sale of the vehicle the insurance company or insurer shall endorse the assignment of ownership on the salvage certificate and deliver it to the purchaser. The vehicle shall not be titled or registered for operation on the streets or highways of this state unless there is compliance with subsection (c) of this section. The division shall charge a fee of fifteen dollars for each salvage title issued.

      (2) If the insurance company or insurer determines the damage to a totaled vehicle is exclusively cosmetic and no repair is necessary in order to legally and safely operate the motor vehicle on the roads and highways of this state, the insurance company or insurer shall upon payment of the claim settlement submit the certificate of title to the division.

        (A) The division shall, without further inspection, issue a title branded "cosmetic total loss" to the insured or claimant owner if the insured or claimant owner wishes to retain possession of the vehicle, in lieu of a "salvage certificate." A fee of five dollars shall be charged for each "cosmetic total loss" title issued. The terms "cosmetically damaged" and "cosmetic total loss" do not include any vehicle which has been damaged by flood or fire. The designation "cosmetic total loss" on a title cannot be changed.

        (B) If the insured or claimant owner elects not to take possession of the vehicle and the insurance company or insurer retains possession, the division shall issue a cosmetic total loss salvage certificate to the insurance company or insurer. The division shall charge a fee of fifteen dollars for each cosmetic total loss salvage certificate issued. The division shall, upon surrender of the cosmetic total loss salvage certificate issued under the provisions of this paragraph, and payment of the five percent privilege tax on the fair market value of the vehicle as determined by the commissioner, issue a title branded "cosmetic total loss" without further inspection.

      (3) If the insurance company or insurer determines that the damage to a totaled vehicle renders it nonrepairable, incapable of safe operation for use on roads and highways and which has no resale value except as a source of parts or scrap, the insurance company or vehicle owner shall request that the division issue a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate in lieu of a salvage certificate. The division shall issue a nonrepairable motor vehicle certificate without charge.

        (b) [intentionally omitted]

        (c) [intentionally omitted]

        (d) The owner or title holder of any motor vehicle titled in this state which has previously been branded in this state or another state as "salvage," "reconstructed," "cosmetic total loss," "cosmetic total loss salvage," "flood" or "fire" or an equivalent term under another state's laws shall, upon becoming aware of the brand, apply for and receive a title from the division of motor vehicles on which the brand "reconstructed," "salvage," "cosmetic total loss" "cosmetic total loss salvage," "flood" or "fire" is shown. A fee of five dollars will be charged for each title so issued. (e) If application is made for title to a motor vehicle, the title to which has previously been branded "reconstructed," "salvage," "cosmetic total loss," "cosmetic total loss salvage," "flood" or "fire" by the division of motor vehicles under this section and said application is accompanied by a title from another state which does not carry the brand, the division shall, before issuing the title, affix the brand "reconstructed," "cosmetic total loss," "cosmetic total loss salvage," "flood" or "fire" to the title. The privilege tax paid on a motor vehicle titled as "reconstructed" "cosmetic total loss," "flood" or "fire" under the provisions of this section shall be based on fifty percent of the fair market value of the vehicle as determined by a nationally accepted used car value guide to be used by the commissioner.

        (f) The division shall charge a fee of fifteen dollars for the issuance of each salvage certificate or cosmetic total loss salvage certificate but shall not require the payment of the five percent privilege tax. However, upon application for a certificate of title for a reconstructed, cosmetic total loss, flood or fire damaged vehicle, the division shall collect the five percent privilege tax on the fair market value of the vehicle as determined by the commissioner unless the applicant is otherwise exempt from the payment of such privilege tax. A wrecker/dismantler/rebuilder is exempt from the five percent privilege tax upon titling a reconstructed vehicle. [remainder intentionally omitted]

        (g) A certificate of title issued by the division for a reconstructed vehicle shall contain markings in bold print on the face of the title that it is for a reconstructed, flood or fire damaged vehicle.

      NOTE: Fee schedule has changed from above information. See local DMV for actual fees. back to top
  2. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Salvage Certificate of 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 or accompanied by a power of attorney), an odometer disclosure statement, a release of any liens, and an ACV.

    Copart will submit these documents along with a Salvage Certificate Application (SV-1) and the appropriate fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles for processing. [Note: Although West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a) requires that a copy of the claim settlement be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Motor Vehicles does not enforce this rule.]

    Thereafter, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue a Salvage 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 Salvage Certificate of Title to the purchaser. [West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10] back to top

  3. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Salvage Certificate of Title branded "Flood Damage"?

    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 or accompanied by a power of attorney), an odometer disclosure statement, a release of any liens, and an ACV.

    Copart will submit these documents along with a Salvage Certificate Application (SV-1) and the appropriate fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles for processing. [Note: Although West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a) requires that a copy of the claim settlement be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Motor Vehicles does not enforce this rule.]

    Thereafter, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue a Salvage Certificate of Title branded "Flood Damage" 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 of Title branded "Flood Damage" to the purchaser.

    [West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10] back to top

  4. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Salvage Certificate of Title branded "Fire Damage"?

    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 or accompanied by a power of attorney), an odometer disclosure statement, a release of any liens, and an ACV.

    Copart will submit these documents along with a Salvage Certificate Application (SV-1) and the appropriate fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles for processing. [Note: Although West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a) requires that a copy of the claim settlement be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Motor Vehicles does not enforce this rule.]

    Thereafter, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue a Salvage Certificate of Title branded "Fire Damage" 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 of Title branded "Fire Damage" to the purchaser.

    [West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10] back to top

  5. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to obtain a Cosmetic Total Loss Certificate of Title in the name of the insured (if the insured retains possession of the vehicle)?

    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 or accompanied by a power of attorney), an odometer disclosure statement, a release of any liens, and an ACV.

    Copart will submit these documents along with a Cosmetic Total Loss Certificate of Title Application (SV-5) and the appropriate fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles for processing. [Note: Although West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a) requires that a copy of the claim settlement be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Motor Vehicles does not enforce this rule.]

    Thereafter, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue a Cosmetic Total Loss Certificate of Title in the name of the insured. This Cosmetic Total Loss Certificate of Title will be returned directly to the insured.

    [West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a)] back to top

  6. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on a Cosmetic Total Loss Salvage Certificate of Title (if insurance company keeps the vehicle)?

    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 or accompanied by a power of attorney), an odometer disclosure statement, a release of any liens, and an ACV.

    Copart will submit these documents along with a Salvage Certificate Application requesting a Cosmetic Total Loss Salvage Certificate of Title (SV-1) and the appropriate fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles for processing. [Note: Although West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a) requires that a copy of the claim settlement be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Motor Vehicles does not enforce this rule.]

    Thereafter, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue a Cosmetic Total Loss Salvage 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 Cosmetic Total Loss Salvage Certificate of Title to the purchaser.

    [West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10] back to top

  7. What documents must an insurer provide to Copart in order to sell a vehicle on Nonrepairable Motor Vehicle 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 or accompanied by a power of attorney), an odometer disclosure statement, a release of any liens, and an ACV.

    Copart will submit these documents along with a Salvage Certificate Application requesting a Nonrepairable Motor Vehicle Certificate (SV-1) and the appropriate fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles for processing. [Note: Although West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a) requires that a copy of the claim settlement be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Motor Vehicles does not enforce this rule.]

    Thereafter, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue a Nonrepairable Motor Vehicle 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 Nonrepairable Motor Vehicle Certificate to the purchaser.

    [West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10] back to top

  8. 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 or accompanied by a power of attorney), an odometer disclosure statement, a release of any liens, and a police report.

    After receipt of these documents, Copart will submit these documents along with a cover letter requesting a Certificate of Title in the insurance company’s name stamped "Unrecovered Theft" and the appropriate fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles for processing. [Note: Although West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10(a) requires that a copy of the claim settlement be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Motor Vehicles does not enforce this rule.]

    Thereafter, the Division of Motor Vehicles shall issue a Certificate of Title in the insurance company’s name stamped Unrecovered Theft. Upon receipt, Copart will forward the Certificate of Title to the insurer for safekeeping.

    If the vehicle is recovered, the Certificate of Title and a notarized letter on insurance company letterhead requesting the appropriate title depending upon the damage along with an ACV will be returned to Copart by the insurer in order to obtain the appropriate title depending upon 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.

    [West Virginia Code § 17A-4-10] back to top

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

    Pursuant to West Virginia Code § 17A-4A-7:

    An owner upon securing the release of any lien or encumbrance upon a vehicle shown upon the certificate of title issued therefor may exhibit the document evidencing such release, signed by the person or persons making the release and acknowledged before a notary public or someone authorized by the laws of this state to take acknowledgments of deeds, and this document together with the certificate of title shall be returned to the division; or the lienholder may release the lien by endorsing across the lien in his or her favor on the face of the title or closely adjacent thereto the following words or words of similar effect or purport: "This lien, this day fully paid, satisfied and released, this ....... day of ..........," and duly signing and executing said endorsement and acknowledging the same before a notary public and having the notary public execute a certificate of the acknowledgment in the form required for releasing deeds of trust in this state; or when it is impossible to secure either such release from the beneficiary or holder of the lien, the owner may exhibit to the division whatever evidence may be available showing that the debt secured has been satisfied, together with a statement by the owner under oath that the debt has been paid and the certificate of title to such vehicle. The division when satisfied as to the genuineness and regularity thereof shall issue to the owner either a new certificate of title in proper form or an endorsement or rider showing the release of the lien or encumbrance which the division shall attach to the outstanding certificate of title. For the purposes of this article, the term release shall mean either an electronic or paper transaction format.

    Pursuant to West Virginia Code § 17A-4A-8:

    It shall be unlawful and constitute a misdemeanor for a lienor who holds a certificate of title either electronically or in a paper format as provided in this article to refuse or fail to execute a release as provided for in the next preceding section, or to refuse or fail to surrender the certificate of title to the person legally entitled thereto within fifteen days after the lien shall have been paid and satisfied. back to top



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