My car was totaled after the accident and I salvaged it from the insurance company. I didn't realize I had to pay more fees to the California Department of Motor Vehicles and do some extra things. Does anyone know if the DMV requires a "Brake and Light Certificate" in order to re-register a salvaged vehicle?

  • In the future, don't sign your car over the the insurance company to begin with. Just make them pay out a claim for the value of the vehicle minus whatever deduction they claim they'd sell it for. Mar 15 '14 at 22:43
  • @R.. Yeah. Lesson learned for sure! First accident in 20 years of driving, so I'm not too accustomed to dealing with the insurance company :) Mar 16 '14 at 22:54
  • 1
    To clarify, the arrangement you probably want in a situation like this is to sign an agreement with the insurance company that you agree the damages are just under the threshold that would constitute a total loss. Alternatively you can challenge their valuation of the vehicle and take them to court for the damages; if the vehicle value is low enough that you can use small claims court, you may essentially automatically win. Mar 17 '14 at 3:56

According to the California DMV webpage How to Reregister a Salvage Vehicle, it says:

You will need…

  • An Application for Title or Registration (REG 343) form (PDF)
  • Proof of ownership
  • A Verification of Vehicle (REG 31) form or CHP inspection certificate
  • Brake and light adjustment certificates
  • Appropriate fees

You may also need…

  • An Application for Salvage Certificate or Nonrepairable Vehicle Certificate (REG 488C) form
  • Smog certification
  • Weight certificate
  • Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment Form (REG 262)
  • Statement of Facts (REG 256) form (PDF)
  • Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (CGW) (REG 4008) form
  • Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Application and Certification (REG 4017) form To surrender existing license plates

So, to answer your question, it appears you will need the Brake and light adjustment certificates. Please note towards the bottom of the CA DMV site, there is an exception listed as to the need of the certificates, but that looks pretty remote.

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