What Is A Rebuilt Title?

What is a rebuilt title and how does it work? Read on to find out.

When shopping for a second-hand car, you might have come across the phrase “rebuilt title”. If you do not know much about cars, this term can be quite confusing. You might be wondering what exactly was “rebuilt,” the car, or the title? What is a rebuilt title? Given below is a thorough explanation of a rebuilt car title and what it means for your potential purchase.

What is a rebuilt title?

Every brand new car comes with a clean title. However, in the event that a vehicle is seriously harmed and pronounced a total loss, it’s called a salvage title. Although many salvage titled vehicles are taken to junkyards and get squashed later, some are given a second chance with a rebuilt title. If the salvaged vehicle is fixed and repaired to make it safe to drive, it is issued the rebuilt title. There are both benefits and disadvantages to purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title.

At the point when the expense of fixing a vehicle harmed in an accident moves toward the vehicle’s Kelley Blue Book esteem, vehicle insurance agencies typically pronounce it as a total loss as opposed to paying to have it fixed. Often at times the vehicle is actually repairable, yet the safety net provider decides not to have it fixed on the grounds that it will be excessively expensive. Moreover, on some occasions, the vehicle has endured massive damage that it can’t be fixed to factory standards. A salvage titled vehicle may not be roadworthy and can even be difficult to register contingent upon the state. In any case, when a vehicle is repaired so that it   is back in a drivable condition and passes a state investigation to demonstrate that it is safe to drive, it gets a rebuilt title.

A rebuilt title for the most part implies that a vehicle was so severely harmed at some point that it was declared totaled by an accident protection organization. Hence, in the event that the same vehicle goes discounted with a rebuilt title, somebody has gone to the extent of fixing it to work appropriately. Contingent upon nearby laws, the fixed vehicle would probably need to go through an examination before it very well may be driven on open roads.

How does a rebuilt title work?

At the point when developers repair a vehicle with a salvage title to drivable condition, they should have the vehicle assessed before they can trade it. In certain states, a rebuilt vehicle should pass a more thorough examination than one that has a perfect title. As a rule, just a legitimately approved controller — normally an exceptionally trained government representative — can lead the review. The examiner may carry out a thorough assessment. This incorporates testing the vehicle’s horsepower and analyzing parts like lights, mirrors, tires, and wheels, alongside parts that are permanently fixed to the vehicle, like bolts, brackets, and welds. The tests will decide whether the vehicle meets the state’s vehicle code.

On the off chance that the vehicle passes examination, it’s seen as prepared for the road and qualified for a rebuilt title. The investigation and recertification measures, and the charges they bring about, shift by state. After recertification, the vehicle will still have a rebuilt title to alarm future purchasers of its harm history. A few states brand rebuilt titles with the kind of harm the vehicle supported, like fire, flood, or water harm, just like the case in Georgia. A rebuilt title may likewise demonstrate that the vehicle was once viewed as salvage, or that it was destroyed. Because of wellbeing concerns, numerous insurance agencies will not give collision or comprehensive inclusions or discretionary inclusions, like rental vehicle repayment or emergency aides, for vehicles with rebuilt titles.

Rebuilt title vs. salvage title

It is not an easy task to fix a totaled vehicle and make it sufficiently operable to get a rebuilt title. At the point when a vehicle is pronounced a complete loss by an insurance organization, it gets a salvage title. These vehicles are considered hazardous to drive on open streets and the salvage title cautions potential purchasers that the vehicle is seriously harmed. In addition to this, salvage vehicles are regularly sold “with no guarantees,” with the aim that whoever buys one will probably either attempt to rebuild it or use it for parts to fix different vehicles. In the event that it’s the previous, the new proprietor can apply for a rebuilt title from their state branch of engine vehicles after fixes are finished.

Some corrupt vendors may endeavor to conceal the way that a vehicle had been totaled by moving it to another state, fixing it, and applying for another, clean title — a cycle known as “title washing.” To assist with combatting that double dealing, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers a free online help called VINCheck that allows planned buyers to check the vehicle ID number (VIN) to see whether an insurance organization has recently declared it as a total loss.

What to look for when buying a vehicle with a rebuilt car title?

Before you do anything else, get a vehicle history report, either from your state’s DMV or from another trustworthy source, and figure out why the vehicle was salvaged. Harm caused to the frame of the car, specifically, is something you should mull over. A dented frame should be realigned, which requires huge metalwork and regular welding. Obviously, a terrible repairman can butcher the work, leaving you with hidden harm.

A skewed frame puts a huge strain on a few of your vehicle’s frameworks. The drivetrain, brakes, and directing will all have to redress. In addition to this, it can also make your tires wear unevenly. Then again, in certain states, perfect vehicles can be salvaged in the event that they’ve been deserted. In the present circumstance, you can get a clean vehicle at a lofty rebate.

The subsequent stage is to discover where the vehicle fixes occurred. See whether it’s anything but a respectable foundation or if the repairman is known for compromising. With the multiplication of online audits nowadays, that data is not difficult to track down. You must also make a point to survey the maintenance records and receipts. This will permit you to check the extent of the work. In the event that anything appears to be even marginally off, have the vehicle assessed by a trustworthy technician. It merits burning through many dollars on an assessment that could save you thousands of dollars in repairs later on.

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

In the event that you’ve discovered a vehicle with a branded title you’re genuinely considering, stop briefly; take a full breath. There are a couple of questions to pose prior to focusing on a salvage or rebuilt title vehicle.

  • “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 repairs to decide how completely it was done and if quality parts were utilized by gifted specialists.
  • “Where were the repairs finished?” Ensure repairs were done at a trustworthy shop. In the event that it was finished by a lawn mechanic, you’re taking your risks.
  • “Have you protected it as a branded title?” You can get a thought if a rebuilt vehicle is insurable if the current proprietor had the option to safeguard it. In the event that they haven’t, it ought to send up warnings.
  • “Was there frame or powertrain harm?” Two regions where individuals will in general compromise on repairs are the costly ones – the frame and the motor and transmission. In the event that these were influenced in the mishap, be exceptionally cautious with how you continue.
  • “Have the repairs been assessed?” If it’s a salvage vehicle you’re considering purchasing, decide whether the vender has had repairs assessed as of now. Assuming this is the case, consider the chance of additional expenses from covered up harm too.

On the off chance that you got the appropriate responses to these inquiries, it is advised to request for a trustworthy mechanic to do an assessment to decide how well the vehicle was fixed or reestablished. The last thing you need is to wind up with a lemon vehicle. Furthermore, remember to take the vehicle on different test drives to ensure it handles well, drives in a smooth manner, and doesn’t make any funny sounds.

Can you insure a car with a rebuilt title?

Vehicles with rebuilt titles can be protected, however the cycle is more troublesome than for vehicles with clean titles. Regularly, rebuilt vehicles can demonstrate testing to protect. Numerous safety net providers won’t offer comprehensive inclusion on rebuilt vehicles, just liability inclusion. In the event that you do figure out how to discover comprehensive and collision inclusion, you’re at risk of higher charges and lower payouts. The justification for this is twofold:

  • There may be hidden damage that wasn’t found during the inspection. Thus, there is an increased risk of failure.
  • A car with a rebuilt title is less valuable and the payouts are lower.

Most insurance organizations will compose a liability strategy for a rebuilt title vehicle yet are frequently reluctant to broaden a full inclusion strategy. Since it’s now difficult to allot an exact worth to a rebuilt salvage title vehicle and the safety net provider will most likely be unable to decide if harms were because of a specific occurrence or as of now existed, it’s harder to get discretionary inclusion — like collision and comprehensive. As per Kelley Blue Book (KBB), a rebuilt salvage title vehicle is normally worth 20% to 40% short of one that has a spotless title. In the event that you make a comprehensive or collision guarantee on a rebuilt salvage vehicle, you ought to be ready for a much lower insurance payout from your transporter.

Another issue is the higher danger of wellbeing concerns. Reconditioned salvage title vehicles may have issues that were not addressed in the reclamation interaction and can prompt risks out and about. For instance, a mechanic may neglect certain primary or arrangement issues, or even hold back on specific methods during the rebuilding to help benefit. Vehicle insurance organizations understand the dangers of the present circumstance and regularly accept rebuilt salvage title vehicles will be bound to bring about an insurance guarantee. In any case, you may in any case have the option to completely cover the vehicle. We talk about how you can safeguard your salvage title vehicle beneath.

Is a rebuilt title bad for insurance?

To put it plainly, yes. A rebuilt title sends up a warning to safety net providers that your vehicle is more hazardous to guarantee, and possibly bound to have issues that could prompt a claim. Therefore, numerous insurance organizations basically don’t protect rebuilt title vehicles. Yet, vehicle insurance is needed in pretty much every state, and has inclusion even in the states where it’s not legitimately required. So in the event that you intend to drive a rebuilt title vehicle, you should investigate which vehicle insurance organizations will compose strategies for rebuilt titles. On the off chance that you as of now have vehicle insurance for your different vehicles and you’re considering purchasing a rebuilt title vehicle, reach out to your guarantor and inquire as to whether they’ll safeguard your rebuilt title vehicle.

How to get rebuilt salvage title car insurance

A few safety net providers will not cover rebuilt salvage title vehicles — regardless of whether you simply need liability insurance — so be set up to look around with numerous transporters. In the event that you need full inclusion collision protection, with comprehensive inclusion, you’ll need to contact a few guarantors to get contending cites.

  • Compare at least three to four quotes when shopping for rebuilt car insurance.
  • Every insurance company will not charge extra for rebuilt title vehicles, but some insurers will add a surcharge of up to 20%.
  • If the amount that you’re paying in car insurance exceeds the amount you saved by purchasing a rebuilt car, then you should think twice.

Shop around and analyze cites when purchasing vehicle insurance, yet the restricted alternatives with regards to safeguarding a rebuilt title vehicle make it even more imperative to request however many statements as could be allowed. Whenever you’ve discovered a safety net provider that will cover a rebuilt salvage vehicle, you’ll ordinarily have to furnish them with the accompanying to get a statement and buy an arrangement:

  • Certified mechanic’s explanation: This is needed by most safety net providers to confirm that the vehicle is good to go.
  • Photographs of your vehicle: Pictures of your vehicle — and video at times — will be fundamental in the event that you need full inclusion insurance. The photographs serve as “before” pictures that the guarantor can compare harm with on the off chance that you make a case.
  • Your vehicle’s original repair estimate: The original repair estimate ought to be given to you when you buy a rebuilt title vehicle, as it subtleties the harms and enhancements made to the vehicle. By getting the original repair estimate from the rebuilder or the insurance organization that totaled the vehicle, you give the insurance organization evidence that all harm has been repaired.

Is a car with a rebuilt title a good deal?

It depends. A ton relies upon local state laws. The more thorough the review prerequisites, the more you can depend on a rebuilt vehicle to be solid. In the event that you believe the assessment interaction, you can conceivably net some critical reserve funds. Then again, a rebuilt vehicle title accompanies a few disadvantages. For a certain something, in the event that you don’t believe the assessment cycle, or if a decent examiner has a terrible day, you could wind up paying for some expensive repairs. In addition to this, the lower resale esteem accompanies a drawback; in the event that 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.

Guidelines for rebuilt vehicles vary

On the off chance that the vehicle is repaired, in numerous states it should be examined and eventually a “rebuilt title” can be given for the vehicle from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A repaired vehicle with a rebuilt title can be driven on the road. The rules for getting a rebuilt title change by state. For instance, the territory of Florida requires a vehicle to have a salvage title if the insurance organization announces the vehicle a complete misfortune. These titles by and large demonstrate whether the vehicle can be repaired and driven or should be gotten rid of.

In some different states, they “brand” or imprint the vehicle’s title when the gauge of estimate arrives at a specific level of the vehicle’s retail value (New York and Louisiana, assign it at 75%). The guidelines can be intricate for rebuilt and salvage vehicles. For instance, the Georgia Department of Revenue takes note of that any individual who buys a salvage or destroyed engine vehicle to reestablish or modify it should be authorized as a rebuilder. In Nevada, vehicles that have had certain repairs should be titled as rebuilt regardless of whether they don’t meet the meaning of a salvage vehicle. This applies to any vehicle that has had at least one of the accompanying significant parts supplanted:

  • Cowl assembly
  • Rear clip assembly
  • Roof assembly
  • Floor pan assembly
  • Conventional frame coupled with one additional major component
  • Complete front inner structure for a unibody

Prior to buying a rebuilt vehicle, it ought to be thoroughly looked at by your own mechanic. You additionally should verify whether the vehicle can be guaranteed with your present safety net provider since their endorsing rules may not permit them to compose approaches for vehicles with salvage or rebuilt titles. Numerous accident protection transporters basically don’t offer arrangements for rebuilt vehicles. Or then again, if an arrangement is offered, it could be just for liability and not a wide range of vehicle insurance – like collision and comprehensive inclusions – in light of the fact that it’s too difficult to even think about deciding a rebuilt vehicle’s actual worth. On the off chance that you buy a vehicle with a rebuilt title you’ll need to look around and contrast vehicle insurance rates with track down the right vehicle insurance organization for your necessities. Search for safety net providers, like Progressive, that permit full inclusion on vehicles with marked titles.

Should you avoid buying a car with a rebuilt title?

On the off chance that a vehicle has been recently harmed badly enough to warrant a salvage title, from the outset, it may appear to be not keen to take a risk on it. Serious harm can bargain a vehicle’s underlying respectability, so regardless of whether repairs were adequately comprehensive to procure it a rebuilt title, it probably won’t work the manner in which the maker proposed it to or even completely consent to government principles. Notwithstanding, it’s anything but unprecedented for a salvaged vehicle to never have had underlying harm. If so and if it’s been repaired by a trustworthy shop utilizing manufacturing plant parts, it tends to be just about as protected as an original vehicle with a spotless title.

In the event that resale value is imperative to you, a rebuilt vehicle isn’t the right pre-owned car for you. Since salvage vehicles with rebuilt titles sell for less than those with clean titles, you can frequently catch an extraordinary arrangement on a satisfactory vehicle on the off chance that it was accurately rebuilt. However, recall, it tends to be hard to sell such a vehicle later on and is worth less than the same vehicle with a clean title. So if you are not planning to keep the car for a long while, you may not need a vehicle with a rebuilt title.

Pros and cons of a rebuilt title

Here are some pros and cons of a rebuilt title:


The expense is especially low. A vehicle with a rebuilt title should sell for significantly less than a same model with a clean title.

The harm may not be just about as awful as you suspected. There are numerous explanations behind a vehicle to announce a complete loss. In the event that the rebuilt vehicle is fundamentally solid and just required some costly new parts that the insurance organization would not like to pay for, it could be fine. However, in the event that it endured more extreme harm, coming about in, for instance, a distorted or broken frame, it very well may be a bet that does not merit taking. Make certain to inquire as to why the vehicle must be rebuilt and how it was dealt with, fix the harm, and furthermore check the VIN at the NICB site. In the event that you’re not an auto expert yourself, consider paying a reliable mechanic to look it over for you.


Past harms can pop up later. Regardless of whether you attempted to investigate the vehicle completely prior to concluding the exchange, vehicles are unpredictable machines and things can turn out badly. Mechanical issues that give off an impression of being fixed could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs. One type of harm to be particularly careful of is flooding, which may not be quickly self-evident yet can mess major up as metal consumes.

It very well may be more earnestly to get insurance. Your vehicle may be fit as a fiddle, however a rebuilt title can be radioactive to some insurance organizations. Sometimes, a safety net provider may decline to sell you collision or comprehensive insurance, which covers harm to your own vehicle yet will consent to sell you liability insurance, which covers harm you cause to others or their property. Liability inclusion is obligatory for drivers in basically every state, except collision and comprehensive are discretionary.

It might be difficult 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 expected purchasers.


Now that you have read this article, you know all about what is a rebuilt title. Vehicles with rebuilt titles have had a bad past. The “rebuilt” accreditation implies a vehicle was once salvaged — thought about a complete loss — however repaired and now drivable.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.

Insurance Noon is the world's leading source of insurance related content on the web, focusing on industry news, buying guides, reviews, and much more.