Rebuilt Title means that the vehicle has had a serious damage. You can safely buy such a vehicle only when you know what exactly happened. That is why it is critically important to check vehicle history by VIN.

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(all vehicle types)

Rebuilt title means….

The major problem that the term rebuilt title cannot be interpreted unequivocally due to diversity or title branding legislation in different states in the US and Canada. In fact, some states don’t even have a “Rebuilt” title for reconstructed cars - rebuilt title meaning is delivered by adding a salvage affix to a clean title. Original car value and damage/loss estimate practices also impact vehicle title branding immensely.

Rebuilt title means that the vehicle that has been totaled by an insurance company after significant damage or theft and got a salvage title was then reconstructed and recognized operational and roadworthy after a mandatory technical inspection. However, in different states salvage and rebuilt title laws and criteria for salvaging a vehicle or recognizing it operational differ significantly. As a rule, the vehicle is totaled when repair costs exceeded 70% of the original vehicle value (the percent differs from state to state). For insurance companies, it is not so money-losing to pay the owner total loss compensation than repair the vehicle. Totaled vehicles become the property of the insurance company and get a salvage title.

Totaled cars have two ways to go: for parts to junk yards, if the vehicle is considered irreparable by the appraiser, or for reconstruction, if the vehicle is considered reparable. Here, human factor also has its impact. There were cases when the vehicles without severe damage were sold for parts and obvious junk was sold at salvage auctions as repairable vehicles. You can only guess what the actual condition of the rebuilt title was car before reconstruction. In addition, the laws regulating who, how and where can buy junk or reparable vehicles also vary from state to state. For example, in some states only junk yards can buy “junk” cars for parts, in some states just anyone can do so (such cars may then be rebuilt and re-sold). In some states, a vehicle may end up with a rebuilt title after theft recovery .

For example, a friend of mine who reconstructs cars told me that sometimes cars seized from drug dealers or stolen cars found after the insurance company paid the owner, end up at salvage auctions, along with flood damaged or crashed cars. Some day, any of them may get e rebuilt title. It goes without saying which ones are in a better technical condition and are safer to drive, having the same title.

Another example: a car with a $4000 damage keeps a clean title after repairs because repair costs didn’t exceed 70% of the car’s cost. The same make and model but 3 years older with the same or even less severe damage will get a salvage title because repair costs will exceed 70% of its value, although the vehicle was properly maintained, carefully driven and the mileage is not sky-high.

Summing up all of the above, rebuilt title means neither good or bad. A rebuilt car be a good deal or a junk. What actually matters is:

  • The reason why is was salvaged. Get the car history report, get as much detail as possible. Possibly, get reports from several providers. Make sure it’s not a flood damaged car - I would recommend to run away from water damages vehicles in the first place. Airbag deployment in the history is also quite tricky.
  • Current technical condition. Hire a mechanic and ask him to inspect and test-drive the car thoroughly. Show him the history report and ask his option based on all the information you dispose of. An expert may draw more valuable conclusions from the car history report report than a common buyer.

If you love the car, like the price and your mechanic gives you a green light, then rebuilt title means a great deal for you. Buy it and enjoy driving! Chances are that you will be able to sell it when the time comes at a decent price. You may also want to check rebuilt title facts and FAQ section to find the answers to some of your questions.

Rebuilt Title means that the vehicle has had a serious damage. You can safely buy such a vehicle only when you know what exactly happened. That is why it is critically important to check vehicle history by VIN.

Enter VIN (all vehicle types):