What Does Rebuilt Title Mean?

What does rebuilt title mean and should you have one? Read on to find out.

Regardless of how little you spend on things, you would still jump at the first chance of a discount or bargain. Thus when it comes to finding an affordable car, one option to consider is purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title. Many people are unfamiliar with rebuilt titles, so we’ll provide some useful information regarding rebuilt titles.

The main advantage of buying a rebuilt car is the low price. These vehicles undergo additional checks and inspections to reduce the risk of ending up with a faulty car while still offering a significantly discounted price. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential downsides. The main drawback lies in the uncertainty surrounding the deal. You won’t know the full history of the car, details of the rebuilding process, or how long the vehicle will last before experiencing problems.

This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about rebuilt titles, including their meaning and the major pros and cons of buying a car with such a title. Reading through this guide before making any car purchase decisions is crucial.

What does a rebuilt title mean?

A rebuilt title is often associated with used vehicles that do not have a “clean” title due to their history of significant damage or other issues. Such damage can result from major accidents, manufacturer buybacks due to lemon law claims, or even odometer rollback incidents.

When a vehicle is given a rebuilt title, it means that it had previously suffered severe damage, leading an auto insurance company to declare it a total loss, commonly known as being “totaled.” However, the vehicle has been restored despite its past condition through repair and reconstruction efforts. Before it can be legally driven on public roads, the repair vehicle typically undergoes an inspection by local laws. This inspection ensures that the vehicle meets safety and roadworthiness standards.

Most pre-owned cars accompany a perfect title that guarantees the new proprietor gets a vehicle ready to rock ‘n roll. Be that as it may, if a pre-owned car had been associated with a significant mishap, gone through a manufacturer buyback because of an effective lemon law guarantee, or had its odometer moved back, it could accompany a rebuilt title.

A rebuilt title, for the most part, implies that eventually, the vehicle was so severely harmed it’s anything but a real total misfortune — or “totaled” — by an accident coverage organization. If the same vehicle goes for sale with a rebuilt title, somebody has gone to the extent of fixing or reconstructing it to work appropriately. Contingent upon neighborhood laws, the fixed vehicle would probably need to go through an investigation before it tends to be driven on open streets.

A rebuilt title mirrors that a vehicle has been restored after being given a salvage title, which would have come about because of harm due to collision, fire, flood, or even a manufacturer buyback keeping an effective lemon-law guarantee. A few states give certain conditions for their titles, bringing about state-explicit assignments like flood or lemon titles. However, not all states issue rebuilt titles, one of the numerous distinctions that make issues for utilized vehicle customers. Such irregularities simplify it for salvage and other unfortunate titles to be washed (that is, adjusted through corrupt methods), concealing a vehicle’s rough history from possible purchasers. However, on account of rebuilt titles, fluctuating principles mean there’s no assurance a vehicle bearing such a brand will be protected or solid.

The term ‘rebuilt’ and other related terms are expansive and can have various implications and implications. We should explain a couple of the words you can run over while you’re looking for a used car.

  • ‘Salvage’ title alludes to a vehicle considered an all-out misfortune by a safety net provider. It may be for many reasons, including robbery, fire, flood, or crash.
  • At the point when a salvage vehicle has been fixed and confirmed for use out and about by and by, the title can be changed to a ‘rebuilt’ status.
  • The term ‘branded title’ alludes to a vehicle title that is not, at this point, a perfect title. It may be considered a salvage, rebuilt, garbage, or flood vehicle.

What are the different types of titles?

A car’s title functions like a house deed, legal documentation of the vehicle’s ownership, and legitimizing the transaction. To obtain a car title, the process is typically handled by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and registered with the federal government, often issued by the Secretary of State for the specific state.

The title must be transferred to the new owner when selling a car. Similarly, when buying a vehicle from a private seller, you must have the title transferred to your name.

 Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

Various car titles exist, but we’ll focus on the key one’s here.

  • Clear/Clean Title: The most desirable title is a clear title, indicating no impediments to selling the car, such as outstanding debts, damages, or illegal practices. This type of title allows you to obtain car loans in most cases, and it is given when a car leaves the manufacturing product line.
  • Salvage Title: A salvage title is typically associated with a car that has experienced a significant accident, leading to a loss of around 75% of its original value. It is labeled as a “total loss” by the insurance company. Other reasons for rebranding a title to salvage include fire, water, hail, theft, or natural disasters. After receiving a salvage title, there are two potential paths for the car:
    • Junk Title: The car is sold to a junkyard for disassembly, parts sales, and scrapping. It is not legally drivable in most states as it’s considered suitable only for junk metal and unsafe for road use.
    • Rebuilt Title: Alternatively, the car can be rebuilt by a skilled mechanic who fixes all the issues following its total loss. The car can be legally sold and driven on the road with a rebuilt title.

The other title types include

  • Bonded Title
  • Reconstructed Title
  • Affidavit Title
  • Water Damage Title
  • Odometer Rollback Title
  • Dismantled Title

What’s the difference between a rebuilt title and a salvage title?

Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they represent distinct categories.

A salvage car is a vehicle that has experienced significant damage, either due to an accident with structural implications or other costly forms of damage such as flood damage, hail storms, riots, or theft. In such cases, the insurance company decides to declare the vehicle as “totaled” because the expenses of repairing it exceed its resale value.

For insurance agencies, a total loss typically refers to repair costs ranging from 70% to 90% of the vehicle’s resale price. As a result, salvage title cars can not be registered, driven, or sold in their current condition.

 Image Source: Samcrac/Youtube
Image Source: Samcrac/Youtube

Things being what they are, is a salvage title equivalent to a junk title? Garbage and salvage titles are different. Another method of saying “junk title” is “non-repairable title.” States hold non-repairable titles for vehicles that have a lot of harm. In addition to this, no measure of fixing can report them as drivable or roadworthy. In this way, there are just two decisions an individual has. The vehicle’s parts can be sold for somebody with a junk title vehicle.

The individual with the salvage title can likewise decide to obliterate the vehicle. At the point when you have a junk title vehicle, that vehicle must be for parts and maybe offered to a junkyard. A salvage vehicle can be set as it were again with the assistance of an expert permit vehicle rebuilder. A rebuilt title is a vehicle with a rebuilt title, a salvage title that has been fixed or fixed. Before there is a change made on the vehicle’s title from salvage to rebuilt, the vehicle should pass an extensive examination.

On the other hand, a car with a rebuilt title has undergone repairs and passed state inspection. It is now ready for resale, allowing buyers to purchase the vehicle, obtain insurance coverage, and legally operate it.

Should you buy a car with a rebuilt title?

This depends upon your circumstance. From one perspective, it may very well be a decent arrangement. Vehicles should pass thorough assessments in certain states to get a rebuilt title. Also, the resale worth could be substantially less because the vehicle had a salvage title at a certain point. This implies you could fundamentally save some cash. There could be a few downsides. Since it passed the state examination doesn’t mean the vehicle is destined to be ok for the long stretch. Also, it may very well be hard to guarantee your vehicle. What’s more, returning to esteem, while you may get it to get it on the off chance that you intend to sell it eventually, you likely won’t get close to however much you would with a vehicle with a spotless title.

 Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

A vehicle with a rebuilt title may even be more challenging to sell than a vehicle with a clean title. Purchasers can be careful about rebuilt titles because a rebuilt title, as a rule, implies that the vehicle has been in an awful mishap or even added up to before. Potential purchasers hoping to put their cash into a vehicle can be careful about rebuilt titles due to any issues arising from past mishaps. A couple of interesting points before purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title are:

  • How the car was damaged
  • The extent of the damage
  • The process of vehicle repair and the location of the repair
  • Whether a professional or certified mechanic examined the car
  • Whether your insurance company will cover a car with a rebuilt title.

Since a vehicle with a rebuilt title passed state assessments doesn’t ensure security over the long haul. Do your examination and altogether inspect the vehicle before choosing one. A couple of things that can help decide if the vehicle will be great are analyzing the vehicle’s alignment and frame. A vehicle with a ton of outer elements may demonstrate the main sign that the vehicle is a lemon. Ultimately, you must get an expert mechanic to check the motor.

Is a car with a rebuilt title a good deal?

It depends. A great deal relies upon local state laws. The more thorough the examination prerequisites, the more you can rely on a rebuilt vehicle to be dependable. On the off chance that you believe the review cycle, you can conceivably net some huge savings. Then again, a rebuilt vehicle title accompanies a few disadvantages. For example, if you don’t believe the review procedure, you could wind up taking care of the bill from your pocket for some exorbitant fixes. In addition, the lower resale also accompanies a drawback; if you need to exchange your vehicle later on, you’ll need to endure a similar 20 to 40 percent value loss because of the sort of title.

How does a car get a salvage or rebuilt title?

 Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

If a vehicle causes a lot of harm with fixes adding up to between 70 – 90% of the vehicle’s worth, then, at that point, the insurance agency may consider the vehicle as an absolute loss. When that assurance has been made, a state engine vehicle organization changes the vehicle’s title from clean to either salvage or junk. After being given a salvage title, you can’t drive, sell or register the vehicle until it has been fixed. The guarantor normally sells the salvage vehicle to an outsider keen on fixing it or stalling it down for parts. If the vehicle is fixed, it should pass security necessities before being given a rebuilt title by the engine vehicle organization. Giving the fixed vehicle a rebuilt title enlightens the purchaser about the vehicle’s set of experiences.

What is a rebuilt title for a car?  Will that make the car a “bad” car?

The short response to this inquiry is no. Vehicles with a rebuilt title are not terrible vehicles. Loads of vehicles with a rebuilt title are useful for multiple reasons. One explanation that a rebuilt title vehicle is a decent vehicle is its cost. Heaps of time, a vehicle with a rebuilt title is many dollars less expensive. Be that as it may, there are a few negatives. One impediment to a vehicle with a rebuilt title is the chance of struggling to sell it when you need another vehicle. Some autonomous vehicle arrangements won’t acknowledge salvage or rebuilt title vehicles for trade-ins. If you discover a vendor that acknowledges those salvage and rebuilt title vehicles, they will give you an incentive for that vehicle. Consequently, you may be in an ideal situation for selling the vehicle secretly and telling the potential purchaser you have a rebuilt title or salvage title vehicle.

What does a rebuilt title mean for insurance purposes?

Since you realize that a rebuilt title is a vehicle that has recently held a salvage title and has gone through certain fixes, what’s the significance here for protection? Even though your rebuilt title is protected to drive, not all vehicle insurance agencies will hurry to give you inclusion to your rebuilt title vehicle. Heaps of insurance agencies won’t include a rebuilt title vehicle. Those organizations offering inclusion will ask that your vehicle goes through certain tests.

 Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

Furthermore, despite having a type of inclusion for your rebuilt title vehicle, your vehicle will doubtlessly not meet all requirements for impact or extensive protection inclusion. With a salvage title, there is no alternative for vehicle protection. A salvage vehicle title shows the vehicle has been considered a total misfortune. It’s additionally too risky to even think about working.

Should I stay away from cars with a rebuilt title?

Generally, you should avoid vehicles with a rebuilt vehicle title. Even though a rebuilt vehicle title expresses that the car is protected, there are several entanglements with this sort of vehicle. For instance, your rebuilt title vehicle might be running great for a couple of months; however, you may start to observe a few issues later. If you are a mechanic and are searching for a vehicle with extraordinary parts, then, at that point, purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title might be to your greatest advantage. Regardless of whether you have an independent venture where you sell vehicle parts, purchasing a car with a rebuilt vehicle title may help the business. While salvaged or rebuilt vehicles are modest or savvy, you must understand what vehicle you’re looking at, paying little heed to your motivation for and with it.

How to determine if a rebuilt title car is right for you?

If you’ve discovered a vehicle with a branded title you’re truly considering, stop briefly; take a full breath. Before resolving to salvage or Rebuild the Title vehicle, there are a couple of inquiries to pose.

  • Would I be able to see the receipts?” If the current proprietor is the person who had the vehicle fixed, demand a definite breakdown of the fixes to decide how altogether it was done and if talented specialists utilized quality parts.
  • Where were the fixes finished?” Ensure fixes were done at a legitimate shop. If an amateur mechanic finishes it, you’re taking your risks.
  • Have you insured it as a marked title?” You can get a thought if a rebuilt vehicle is insurable if the current proprietor had the option to safeguard it. If they haven’t, it ought to send up warnings.
  • Was there a frame or powertrain harm?” Two regions where individuals will, in general, compromise on fixes are the costly ones – the edge and the motor and transmission. On the off chance that the mishap influenced these, be cautious with how you continue.
  • Have the fixes been assessed?” If it’s a salvage vehicle you’re considering purchasing, decide whether the dealer has had fixes assessed as of now. Provided that this is true consider the chance of additional expenses from hidden harms.

If you got the appropriate responses to these inquiries, we recommend that a specialist investigate how well the vehicle was fixed or re-established. The last thing you need is to wind up with a lemon vehicle. Moreover, remember to take the vehicle on various test drives to ensure it handles well, chugs along as expected, and doesn’t make any clever commotions!

What should I look for when buying a vehicle with a rebuilt title?

In the first place, check the vehicle’s experiences to determine what caused the salvage title status. In certain states like Ohio, something harmless as a neglected vehicle could procure the salvage title differentiation. Then, check whether you can figure out who accomplished the maintenance work. Explore the internet, noticing Google surveys, their Better Business Bureau grade, and your state’s Attorney General’s office to check whether they accomplish quality work. Doing these things will help you acquire a superior handle on what you’re managing for that vehicle.

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Image Source: Canva

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Pros and cons of a rebuilt title

Despite their checkered past, it’s anything but consistently an impractical notion to buy a vehicle with a rebuilt title. Here are a few upsides and downsides, beginning with the pros:

 Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

Pros of purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title:

  • Is less expensive: The expense is notably lower. A vehicle with a rebuilt title should sell for a significantly less amount as compared to a car with a clean title.
  • It isn’t as bad as you might think: The harm may not be as terrible as you suspected. There are numerous explanations behind a vehicle being pronounced a total misfortune. It might be fine if the rebuilt vehicle is fundamentally strong and just requires some costly new parts that the insurance agency would not like to pay for. However, in the event that it endured more serious harm, coming about in, for instance, a distorted or broken edge, it very well may be a bet that does not merit taking. Ensure to inquire why the vehicle must be rebuilt, fix the harm, and check the VIN at the NICB site. If you’re not an auto master, consider paying a reliable technician to look it over for you.
  • Potential Bargains: In some cases, a rebuilt title vehicle may have suffered relatively minor damage and has been thoroughly repaired. If the repairs were done properly, it could offer good value for money.
  • Availability of Unique Models: Rebuilt title vehicles sometimes include rare or older models that may be challenging to find with a clean title.
  • Opportunity for Car Enthusiasts: For automotive enthusiasts on those with mechanical skills, buying a vehicle with a rebuilt title can present an opportunity to work on and restore a vehicle.

Cons of purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title:

  • Previous harms can reappear later: Regardless of whether you attempted to review the vehicle before finalizing the trade, vehicles are intricate machines, and things can turn out badly. Mechanical issues that had all the earmarks of being fixed could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in fixes. One kind of harm to be particularly careful about is flooding, which may not be quickly self-evident but can mess major up as metal consumes.
  • Difficulty getting insurance: It may be more challenging to get insurance. Your vehicle may be fit as a fiddle, yet a rebuilt title can raise a huge alarm to some insurance Sometimes, a safety net provider may decline to sell you impact or comprehensive insurance, which covers harm to your vehicle, yet will consent to sell you liability insurance, which covers injury you cause to others or their property. Risk inclusion is obligatory for drivers in every state, except collision and comprehensive are discretionary.
  • Difficulty Reselling: It could be hard to sell. At the point when you presently don’t require the vehicle or have chosen to exchange up, your vehicle’s rebuilt title could drive away possible purchasers.
  • Difficulty Insuring: Many insurance companies hesitate to provide comprehensive coverage for rebuilt title vehicles. If coverage is available, it’s often more expensive than for clean-title cars.
  • Uncertain Safety and Reliability: One of the most significant drawbacks of a rebuilt title is the uncertainty surrounding the extent and quality of the repairs. Not all rebuilt vehicles are restored to factory standards, and safety or reliability issues could arise later.

Before purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title, it’s crucial to have it thoroughly inspected by a trusted mechanic. Research the vehicle’s history and repair records, and consider the risks of buying a previously salvaged vehicle.


Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

What’s required to have my car earn a rebuilt title?

Each state has specific regulations governing the process of obtaining a rebuilt title, with variations in stringency. Contacting your state’s motor vehicles department for detailed instructions is advisable to initiate this process. However, in general, you will likely need to fulfill the following requirements to change your vehicle’s title to “rebuilt” after repairs:

  • Obtain a salvage certificate from your vehicle’s insurance company.
  • Subject your vehicle to an inspection conducted by an authorized third party.
  • Undergo an examination from specific state or county departments, as required.
  • Provide a signed statement of the repairs carried out by an authorized third party.
  • Furnish proof of ownership for the vehicle.

Remember that the specific requirements may differ by state, so thorough research on your state’s regulations is crucial to obtaining a rebuilt title for your vehicle.

Is a salvage-titled vehicle right for me?

Acquiring a salvage-titled vehicle can be a worthwhile endeavor if you are willing to invest time in finding a suitable option. Contrary to popular belief, salvage titles are not exclusively given to severely damaged vehicles; many salvage-titled cars are still in decent drivable condition after proper repairs. If you have expertise in mechanics or access to a reputable and cost-effective mechanic, purchasing a salvage-titled vehicle could be prudent.

What should I look for when buying a vehicle with a rebuilt title?

Before purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title, conduct a comprehensive assessment to ensure a smooth and informed buying process:

  • Utilize services like Carfax to investigate the vehicle’s history and ascertain the reason behind its salvage title status. Even seemingly minor issues could lead to such a distinction in some states.
  • Research the individuals or garages responsible for the repair work and evaluate the quality of their services. Check consumer reviews on platforms like Google, consult the Better Business Bureau for ratings, and review any complaints lodged with your state’s Office of consumer affairs.

Opting for well-rated and reputable repair sources can ease the buying process.

Should I Buy a Car With a Rebuilt Title?

Purchasing a car with a rebuilt title entails a degree of risk and uncertainty. If you are willing to take the gamble and all goes well, it might lead to a rare and cost-effective purchase. However, it could end up costing you more than buying a car with a clean title initially.

How does a rebuilt title affect the value of a car?

Cars with rebuilt titles usually have diminished market value due to their significant damage history. Compared to similar models with clean titles, vehicles bearing rebuilt titles could have a depreciation ranging from 20% to 40%, potentially amounting to thousands of dollars in reduced value.


Now that you have read this article, you know all about what the rebuilt title means. At the point when a vehicle with a salvage title has been fixed, it’s anything but a rebuilt title. This advises the purchaser of the past history of the vehicle. To get a rebuilt title, it’s anything but a progression of tests to guarantee it’s protected to drive in certain states. In any case, in different states, there probably won’t be a prerequisite to illuminate planned purchasers regarding the vehicle’s set of experiences.

Charles Bains

Charles Bains

Charles Bains started his insurance career as a marketing intern before pounding the pavement as a commercial lines agent in Orlando, FL. As an industry journalist, his articles have appeared in a variety of trade publications. His insurance television career, short-lived but glorious, once saw him serve as the expert adviser on an insurance-themed infomercial (yes, you read that correctly). Having recently worked for various organizations, coupled with his broader insurance knowledge, Charles is able to understand our client’s needs and guide them accordingly. He is a gem for Insurance Noon as his wide area of expertise and experience have been beneficial in conducting further researches to come up with solutions and writing them in a manner which is easy for everyone including beginners to comprehend.

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