Salvage/Non-Repairable Vehicles

Tenn. Code Ann. Section 55-3-201, Public Chapter 691 (2016)


  • Tennessee’s salvage law covers motor vehicles with a manufacture year of less than ten (10) years, however
    • light duty trucks with a GVWR greater than 9,000 pounds are exempt from the provisions of the salvage law
  • A "Salvage Vehicle” is a passenger motor vehicle which has been wrecked, destroyed, or damaged to the extent that the repair costs would exceed 75% of the retail value of the vehicle.
  • A “Salvage Certificate” also known as a Salvage Title is an ownership document for salvage vehicles.
  • A “Non-repairable vehicle” is a passenger motor vehicle which is incapable of safe operation for use on roads or highways and which has no resale value, except as a source for parts or scrap.
  • A “Non-repairable Certificate” also known as a non-repairable title is an ownership document issued by the state to the owner of a non-repairable vehicle.


  • No vehicle deemed as salvage or non-repairable can be registered in or operate on the roads and highways of the state of Tennessee
  • These certificates or titles serve only to establish ownership of the vehicle.
  • An owner of a motor vehicle may elect to designate a vehicle as a salvage or non-repairable vehicle, without regard to the extent of the damage and repairs
  • Ownership of a salvage vehicle may be reassigned on the back of the salvage certificate or on a title extension form(s) until repaired and the rebuilt vehicle process is completed
  • Ownership of a non-repairable vehicle may be reassigned on the back of the non-repairable certificate two (2) times, then a new non-repairable certificate must be issued


  • The applicant (owner, lienholder, insurance company, etc.) completes the Application for Tennessee Salvage/Non-repairable Certificate,
  • The applicant chooses “Salvage Certificate” or “Non-Repairable Certificate” by checkbox.
  • The application must be supported by:
    • the original certificate of title concerning the vehicle
    • power of attorney (if necessary)
  • When entering information onto a salvage or non-repairable certificate and a mistake is made, do not scribble or erase, simply line once through the incorrect information and write the correct information, then complete an affidavit as to why the change was made.
  • Any other alteration or erasures voids the document.
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