What Rebuilt Title Means
What does a Rebuilt brand mean? For a car, a motorcycle or any other type of vehicle - first and most important, that the value of the vehicle is notably decreased because once it was written off by an insurance company as total loss and now is back on the road. However, the indication Rebuilt (as well as Revived of Reconstructed - depending on the state) means that the vehicle was fixed to meet the a number of requirements according to the state law and after a mandatory technical inspection can be legally used on public roads as fully operational and roadworthy.
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.
Also, 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 3 ways to go: for recycling as scrap metal or for parts to junk yards, if the vehicle is considered irreparable by the appraiser. Or to be repaired, if appraised as 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 this case, auction photos often provided as a part of vehicle history check by VIN, can be of great help. 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 without any physical damage.
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 minor damage will get a salvage title because repair costs will exceed 70% of its value, although the vehicle was properly maintained and keps, carefully driven and the mileage is not sky-high. You can only tell which one is better seeeing the vehicle history with service and mileage records (a record about servicing also includes mileage, besides service description)
The vehicle has been damaged so severely that the cost of repairs exceeded about 75% of it's market value before the damage. Be careful and check out its history by VIN to know what exactly happened to the car and why it was written off. There are great several-year-old buys that receive only cosmetic damage and still get totaled because their value was already significantly deprecated before the damage due to age, but the amount and cost of work required to fix and polish their exterior remains the same.
Selling the vehicle will range from not so easy to next to impossible. As you are now wondering what rebuilt title means, so will you buyer (if a private buyer). The dealers will buy such a vehicle unwillingly or give your the price much lower than you expect. Selling a rebuilt car as a trade-in will be hard. The car may be running well and serve you flawlessly, but don't count on its selling value. To avoid disappointment, be ready just to part with the money paid for it and not get any of it back when you want to change the car.
As as as insurance is concerned, you won't have problems with liability coverage as the vehicle is in a roadworthy status and deemed safe, but getting full coverage with a rebuilt car title won't be easy. Check the major insurance companies like GEICO, StateFarm of Progressive - these have been known to work with problem vehicles. As to financing, in most cases the only way to finance a rebuilt title is get an unsecured personal loan.
What rebuilt title means in Florida
Florida vehicles are reasonably a subject of particular concern for used car shoppers - the state is notorious for floods and hurricanes and, consequentially, for supplying used car market with water damaged vehicles, one of the worst types of vehicles. In this state, not just salvage but previously junk or assembled from parts vehicles can be titled. More about FL rebuilt title....
What rebuilt title means in Michigan
In Michigan, a Rebuilt Salvage title means that a vehicle has been totaled by the insurance company, then repaired and passed an inspection by a certified salvage inspector, who verifies that the parts used in repairs were legally obtained and do not belong to stolen vehicles, and also that it complies with the state's safety requirements and all Michigan Vehicle Code equipment.
What rebuilt title means in Indiana
In Indiana, a rebuilt title means that a vehicle received a substantial damage when estimated repair cost exceeded 70% of the fair market value or the damage was caused by a flood, and later was repaired, inspected by the police officer for stolen parts used in repair and recognized operable and roadworthy. Rebuilt title vehicles in Indiana can be previously flood damage or have not actual miles. However, both must be indicated in the title. Rebuilt title disclosure is mandatory for the seller.
What rebuilt title means in Texas
A Texas rebuilt title means that a car or any other vehicles was built primarily from parts that are not factory originals. As a rule, these are the vehicles that once received such an extensive damage that the cost of repair exceeded the value of the vehicle. However, TX law states very clearly that the vehicles that were junked, deemed non-repairable or designated for parts or dismantling only, cannot receive a Rebuilt title. More about TX rebuilt title....
What rebuilt title means in Ohio
In Ohio, a rebuilt title means that a vehicle was repaired using parts(!) obtained legally.The vehicle has been destroyed, dismantled, or changed in such a way that it lost its character as a motor vehicle, or has been altered in a manner that it was not the same vehicle as described in the title, and, as a result, got a salvage title, but later was reconstructed, inspected by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and recognized roadworthy. Such vehicles receive Rebuilt Salvage title. Unlike in Michigan, in Ohio, the only purpose of the mandatory inspection run by Highway Patrol or local DMV is to verify that the parts used in repairs are not stolen and were obtained legally. This means that these inspections do not guarantee the safety of the rebuilt title car or the quality of repair!