Rebuilt Title Value: Is It Worth It?
Does a rebuilt title affect car value? While the answer is obviouly yes, the real value of a Rebuilt Title vehicle depends on the type and severity of damage it received. That is why it is so important to check vehicle history by VIN and get as much data as you can.
Estimating rebuilt title value is the biggest issue associated with rebuilt vehicles. You may be certain just about one thing: rebuilt title affects value and being a good buy or not often depends on what you prioritize in a vehicle. Even estimating the damage and the value of what's left of the car after a crash or hurricane (very roughly, this is what is called 'savlage value') is easier than doing the same with repairs already done and parts put into a rebuilt vehicle. Mostly because the quality of repair and the actual amount of work done are frequently under question unless you personally control every stage of the procedure. We hope the information below helps you with rebuilt vehicle valuation.
Rebuilt Title Value: Problems
The value of rebuilt title car is lower than before it got a salvage title, with a good reason for that. Generally, a salvage title is given to damaged vehicles with estimated repair costs exceeding 70-80% of the vehicle's actual cash value (in different states the percent is different). Upon completion of all major repairs resale value of a rebuilt car is decreased by 30%-50% compared against similar non-branded cars. This means that you can expect to get only 30-40% of value for that price added to savlage value instead of 70-80%, for instance, at the expense of using parts dismantled from 'junk / parts only' vehicles. And there is always at least one compromise on your side to compensate for the discount. The compromise may be obvious, like remaining cosmetic damage, missing audio system or other not so vital elements, age and wear of the car or replacement parts, loss of warranty and collision/comprehensive coverage. The hidden compromises with a visually flawless car may include assuming the proper quality and amount of repair done on functional elements, the quality and origin the parts, relying on reputability of the mechanic or the body shop . You can drive safely and with confidence with a few scratches all over its body but you can't do without a new engine or airbags if those need to be replaced as a result of a severer damage. You can use used parts to reconstruct a salvage vehicle, which makes the price of repair lower than the one calculated by the insurance companies with the use of new parts. The value drop and issue ranges are way too large for a big ticket, so consider the following issues before you buy:
First and most important, a car in a Rebuilt status is not a good investment for later resale or trade-in. It can be great from safety and operability viewpoints but not as an investment because selling a rebuilt title car may be a serious problem in future unless you get prepared from the very start and keep all the documentation regarding the damage, the repair and the parts to present to your buyer. I would say that buying a car with a rebuilt title works as a long-terem solution without a prospect to resell at a good price, a purchase for a long time use. Or it can be great if you are a car expert. If you hope to sell it later and buy something else with that money plus some extra, you'd better buy one with a clean history. No matter how good the current condition of the car, rebuilt title may devalue the car by 50% or even more compared with similar makes and models that were not previously totaled out - just because it was salvaged and keeps the brand permanently. For every new owner its more and more difficult to estimate how much the value drops. In addition, most dealerships will not take rebuilt title as a trade-in. A rebuilt vehicle is great for those who plan to drive it for a long time, possibly until it dies.
By definition, a rebuilt title means that a salvage title vehicle was properly repaired and recognized roadworthy after passing a mandatory inspection by the state DMV. This means that rebuilt title operability should be at least approximately the same as it was before salvaging. But how can you know that all repair jobs were done properly and the car is actually safe and rigid? Especially, considering that the dealers want to profit as much as possible from selling a rebuilt title car and invest as little as possible. That's why new parts are almost never used in order to lower reconstruction expenses, and the used parts usually come from other salvage or junk cars, those that were recognized non-repairable. The quality and operational properties of such parts are lower in comparison with new parts. For example, parts coming from salt water damaged vehicles may function properly much shorter period than you expect. A replaceent airbag (is installed at all) may come from a dismanteld vehicle stored in humid conditions or even stay in a vehicle with broken windowns exposed to rains, show or heat. This means that you safety will be compromised. I'm not pointing at any specific inspectors or clerk, but 1) bribery may take place where car inspections take place, so closing eyes at certain issues is not uncommon 2) some states don't pay as close attention to safety aspects as to legal origin of replacement parts during inspections.
In most cases maintenance of a rebuilt car is more expensive than of a normal car. Deduct these expenses from rebuilt salvage title value.
How to Estimate Value of Rebuilt Title
- Rebuilt title car value depends on the damage done to the vehicle and age of the vehicle, remember this rule. The more severe the damage, the less the value. The term "total loss" does not necessarily mean that the functional damage was severe. It means that estimated repair costs are too high for the insurance company because they exceeded approximately 70% of its ACV. Multiple broken minor elements, dents, scratches, broken glass elements, tires, costly wheel rims, ripped out audio systems, etc. may run up really high - almost the full market value of older vehicles! But major functional parts may still be relatively or completely intact, and yet such vehicles frequently end up at salvage auctions.
As a rule, these are 5-year-old and older cars which were in generally good condition before being totaled but the cost or repairing minor damages was not economically sound because of its depreciation due to age. Such rebuilt cars are the best deals. Very often, these are hail damaged rebuilt titles. However, the price may be corresponding. Another good option is an insurance buyback. Very often car owners are surprised by the desicion of the insurance company to total a vehicle because of a damaged bumper, for instance. They prefer to buy it back, get repaired, continue driving and win financially. As a rule, such vehicles are sold privately and you can get a good discount because the owner himself not just didn't have to overpay but even could have won extra cash.
The newer the salvaged car, the more severe the damage. This method of defining the value of a rebuilt salvage works for any vehicle - a car, a motorcycle, a motorhome, a truck.
- To start with, buy a detailed car history report to know as much as possible about the damage and the vehicle's journey to the seller. Make sure the damage is not serious and the car didn't change states before it was given a rebuilt title (cars with a serious damage not eligible for reconstruction in one state may be eligible in another state!). Ask questions, get documents, just learn as much as possible about the damage and match data obtained from different sources.
- If the history checks out and agrees with other information you obtain, hire a mechanic to inspect the car and ask him to make a full list of what needs to be repaired or replaced right now, what will need to be repaired soon and what is out of order. Take into account all this when estimating rebuilt car value and bargaining. Make sure all the calculated costs plus purchase price don't exceed the cost of a similar non-rebuilt car - that does happen. And only then make your decision.
So, if you asked me how much does a rebuilt title affect value my answer would be it's not rebuilt title but the damage and age that have major effect on the value. The term 'rebuilt title' is not enough for proper estimate. Whether a rebuilt vehicle is worth it or not largely depends on what you want to get from it.
Rebuilt Title Car Value and Insurance
If you manage to find full coverage for your rebuilt title car, expect it to be valued around 50% of the retail cost of its non-salvaged counterparts. However, the premium should also the lower. Just remember to shop around well ahead to find a company that covers rebuilt titles, especially if you want full coverage. Also, please note that the input in the form of investment in labour (if you choose to repair the vehicle on your own) will not be taken into account by a prospect buyer or the unsurance company issuing the policy on a rebuilt vehicle.
Rebuilt car value calculator
Does such a calculator exist? There is no universal rebuilt title calculator, we can only outline a price guide, a few factors that affect value. It's not so easy to determine the value of a car rebuilt title because the simple formula of the average value of similar makes and modeles depricated by a spesific percent won't work here. Generally, the decrease in value will range between 20 percent and 50 percent. With every reconstructed vehicle the value drop is calculated individually and the estimate will be very proximate. It depends on a few factors, like using new or used parts (engine, transmission), whether all minor defects were repaired on not (some cosmetic damage may remain), the regulations of a specific state that govern the issue of rebuilt titles and minimun requirements to grant the vehicle a roadworthy status. Also, you cannot estimate the quaility of the work done, only an expert can do that. For this reason, if you can get a great deal from a reliable body shop because you have relatives or a trusted friends there it's a better idea to buy a car with a salvage status and have it fixed for personal use. The loss estimated, say, $3000 will hurt the value.
There is another factor affecting resale value of rebuilts. This is demand for specific makes and models. Some rebuilt models may be sold for up to 90% of KBB or NADA value of similar vehicles due to being hot in the market. While other not so much wanted models with similar damage may be offered for 50% of the blue book value for weeks or months without success. Thus rebuilt vs clean title value and so price difference range may be up to 40%.
Rebuilt title value for motorcycle, truck, RV
It is basically the same as with used rebuilt cars. Just mind that motorcyles are easily assembled from stolen parts. Make sure all the parts are legal if you are just planning to apply for a rebuilt title. Confirming the legality of major used parts, like engine, in mandatory in most states.
Trade in value
Trade in value for rebuitls can be pretty low and generally such vehicles are not welcome by dealers. For a dealder or a body shop even a salvage vehicle sold 'as is' may be a better choice. There are 2 reasons for that
- It can be purchased for a really low price and they can estimate the investment, both work and parts, required to restore the vehicle becuse they know hurt value. With a rebuilt vehicle, the investment has already been done but it's hard to estimate the quality of work. The dealer won't run risk and will request maximun price reduction.
- The dealer sees the damage as is, there is no need to go at lenghts of searching for any hidden defects, especially is they were disguised by the previous rebuilder.