Under the Mandatory Vehicle Branding program, insurers, self- insurers (fleet owners), auctioneers, importers, salvagers and anyone who deals in used vehicles, are required to determine whether severely damaged and written off (‘total loss’) vehicles they insure or obtain should be branded either ‘Irreparable’ or ‘Salvage’. They must notify the ministry of the brand through a Notification of Vehicle Brand form. The ministry applies the brand to the vehicle’s registration information so that it will appear on the vehicle permit, vehicle abstracts and the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) for that vehicle. The brand identifies the condition of the vehicle to potential buyers. This is how the program helps to protect consumers buying used vehicles.
If your vehicle sustains severe damage and is written off by your insurance company, your insurance company must notify you and the ministry of the brand requirement. If you do not receive a claim settlement through an insurance company, you must have the brand determined by an authorized mechanic at a Type 6 Motor Vehicle Inspection Station. The ministry website has a list of these facilities — visit www.mto.gov.on.ca for details.
There are four brands:
- A vehicle which has never had a brand applied in Ontario automatically has the brand ‘None’ applied to its registration documents. However, this does not mean that the vehicle has never been damaged in a collision, was never branded in another jurisdiction or was not rebuilt prior to the mandatory branding program.
- The brand ‘Irreparable’ means that damage to the vehicle was so severe that the vehicle can be used for parts or scrap only. It cannot be rebuilt, and it can never be driven in Ontario.
- The brand ‘Salvage’ means that the damaged vehicle can be repaired or rebuilt. It cannot be registered as fit to drive in Ontario. Once the vehicle has been repaired or rebuilt, and if it can pass a structural inspection to ministry standards, the owner can obtain a Structural Inspection Certificate and have the vehicle branded as ‘Rebuilt’.
- The brand ‘Rebuilt’ means that the vehicle has been previously branded as ‘Salvage’, but has been rebuilt and has passed a structural inspection to ministry standards. If the vehicle can pass a safety inspection (Safety Standards Certificate), the owner can have it registered as fit to drive in Ontario.
Motorcycles that have been written off must be branded ‘Irreparable’; they cannot be branded ‘Salvage’.
Trailers, traction engines, farm tractors, mopeds, motorized snow vehicles, street cars or motor vehicles with a model year of 1980 or earlier are exempt from the mandatory branding program.