What is a Certificate of Destruction?

When an insurance company pays for a claim on a vehicle and ends up taking ownership, they might process the title with a certificate of destruction. This means that the intention is for the car to be destroyed and it won’t ever be allowed on the road again. It’s also not likely that this car will get registered again.

Sometimes vehicles that have a certificate of destruction still appear to be in good working condition. The only reason the insurance deemed it otherwise was for their liability. If that car were to cause an accident because of an existing defect, they could get into a lot of trouble.

Insurance companies also issue certificates of destruction if the airbags are damaged, the frame is weakened or they don’t want to spend the money on an inspection. Typically, the car gets sold to a junkyard.

Whether you’re facing a certificate of destruction, salvage title or some other form of title branding, we are experts in the field and are ready to help you.

Purpose of a Certificate of Destruction

There are numerous purposes for having this certificate. First, it releases any responsibility of the car. It further proves that the vehicle:

  • Is off the road

  • Is no longer registered

  • Has been processed accordingly

In addition, any time you scrap your car, a reputable company should provide you with this Certificate of Destruction. It’s the last stage of transferring ownership. If you don’t receive one promptly, make sure you follow up to cover your bases. You don’t want to be in a situation where it’s your word against theirs.

If You Don’t Receive a Certificate of Destruction

If you scrap your car and don’t receive this certificate, the car is probably still registered in your name. This leads to numerous issues.

To begin with, your car won’t be legally considered to be off the road. It’s a common scam to be told your vehicle got scrapped while the dealer makes some repairs and sells it to another buyer. If you feel comfortable taking their word for it, that’s your choice.

Just imagine what might happen to you if someone else drives an unsafe vehicle that’s registered to you. Furthermore, what if they used it to partake in illegal activities? These are all scenarios you don’t want to deal with.

It’s also essential that you examine your Certificate of Destruction for authenticity. Many people have fallen victim to the common tactic for scrap yards who issue false documents. They have often named them things such as Certifications of Destruction, Documents of Destruction or Certificates of Collection.

Getting a Certificate of Destruction

Before you turn your vehicle over to the scrap yard, you want to do your research to ensure their reputation is top-notch. Don’t do business with anyone that seems to operate a shady business. In today’s day and age, you have all the tools you need to verify that a company is legitimate.

Start by checking their Google reviews online. Then, meet with the company and trust your instincts. If they seem shifty, chances are you’re right.

It’s also possible that the yard has a rating with the Better Business Bureau. If they are in good standing, this is often a reliable sign you can trust them. If you aren’t already doing business with a salvage yard, your car dealership might be able to point you in the right direction. Chances are, they know who’s reliable in the business and who to stay away from.

When you work with a reliable junkyard, they will have you fill out all your information. They’ll also provide you with some sort of receipt regarding the transaction. Make sure you get that before they take your vehicle.

Once the car is in their possession, they should process the Certificate of Destruction. This proves you are no longer legally bound to that vehicle in any way.

Certificate of Destruction vs. Salvage Title

There’s a lot of confusion over the difference between a salvage title and a certificate of destruction. Sometimes, if a vehicle is considered a total loss, there’s still the option to request a salvage title.

Let’s make it easy to understand. The Certificate of Destruction is basically the car’s death certificate. It states that the vehicle’s life is over. It’s not meant to be operated on the road and there’s no permission given to rebuild it. The car is only good for parts and scrap metal. You won’t be able to sell this car in the future; it’s worthless.

The salvage title is something completely different. Most states utilize a formula that breaks down the cost of repairs versus the current value. If the cost to repair the car is less than the value, you might be able to get a salvage title.

A salvage title allows you to repair the vehicle and put it back on the road. Keep in mind that you must have it inspected and jump through a few hoops before receiving a regular title again. If there’s any chance you think you could rebuild your car, then you need to have a salvage title. If you only plan on selling it for parts, a certificate of destruction is sufficient.

Will a VIN History Report Show the Certificate of Destruction?

Absolutely. Running our $10 VIN Check will show you the status of a car title. If you are planning to purchase a vehicle and want to see what you’re getting into, it’s always wise to run this scan and get informed.

If you’ve sold a vehicle to the junkyard and are concerned whether it received the certificate of destruction, you could also run this check. This would offer you some peace of mind regarding what happened to your car.

Why Title Gods?

All business related to car titles is confusing. Most average drivers have a hard time navigating the world of titles. Whether you want to retrieve a lost title or get information on your salvage title, we are available to help you. Contact us today and let us deal with the headaches.

We are not attorneys. This article is not legal advice.

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