Have you recently been used car shopping and came across a deal that sounded too good to be true? The price seemed like a great deal, so you started to read the ad in more detail. Eventually, you discovered why the car was priced the way it was. It was a rebuilt title! But what exactly is a rebuilt title, and should it prevent you from buying that car you like? We will tell you everything you need to know about rebuilt titles and help you decide whether to move forward with a purchase.
What Is A Rebuilt Title?
A rebuilt title means that the vehicle was once considered a total loss and has undergone restoration to make it safe and ready for the road once again. The car had a salvage title at one time, and then the title was given a rebuilt designation once the restoration was complete. Now that might sound complicated, but what does a rebuilt title mean?
When a car is first produced, it is issued a clean title. A clean title means that the car has never been in a significant accident or been totaled. If the vehicle is involved in an accident like a collision, flood, fire, or other and suffers extensive damage, the insurance company will consider it a total loss. Once this happens, the clean title is no longer valid, and the vehicle is issued a salvage title. Cars with a salvage title cannot be driven on the road because they are considered dangerous and not in good operating condition.
However, mechanics and repair shops will often buy these salvage cars at a low price and repair them. While salvage car prices are not usually as low as scrap car prices, these repair shops can still buy them cheap. Once the repairs are completed, the car can then be issued a rebuilt or reconstructed title. This signifies that the vehicle was once totaled, but it has now been repaired to be roadworthy again. Each state has its laws concerning rebuilt cars, but nearly all states require a vehicle inspection before issuing the rebuilt title. This helps to ensure that the vehicle has indeed been repaired correctly and is safe to drive.
Rebuilt Title VS Salvage Title
Cars with a rebuilt title once had a salvage title, but they are now repaired and in a drivable condition. The general public can buy and sell rebuilt title cars just like vehicles with a clean title. In some cases, you might even see a car with a rebuilt title for sale at your local dealership.
So, what is a salvage title? Salvage vehicles, on the other hand, can only be bought and sold by licensed salvage dealers. This means that the average Joe cannot accept a salvage vehicle and attempt to repair it independently. The repair shop must be licensed to perform this work before a salvage car can be converted to a rebuilt car. Again, these laws are in place to ensure that the work performed on these vehicles is done correctly. It helps keep the driver of the car as well as other drivers on the road safe.
The other big difference is the cost of these vehicles. Salvage cars are typically much cheaper because they cannot even be driven. Rebuilt title cars have gone through extensive repairs, so they usually cost more. However, they are still going to be cheaper than a used car with a clean title. The fact that the vehicle has sustained flood damage or collision damage that rendered it a total loss in the past will ultimately lower the vehicle’s value.
4 Tips For Buying A Car With A Rebuilt Title
If you have found the perfect vehicle, but it has a rebuilt title, then you should keep these tips in mind as you consider the purchase.
— Check With Your Insurance Company
Make sure to discuss this situation with your insurance agent before making the purchase. Some car insurance companies will not insure vehicles with a rebuilt title. In some cases, they might only offer you liability coverage instead of full coverage or comprehensive coverage on the car. Since most states require auto insurance coverage now, make sure to look into this before buying the vehicle. On a similar note, some banks will not give car loans on used cars with rebuilt titles.
— Know The Value Of The Car
You likely already know that a previously damaged car is worth less than one that has never been in an accident. But just how much lower is the value? Make sure that you know the proper value of the rebuilt vehicle so that you do not pay too much for it. Also, be aware that the resale value will continue to go down, and this means that you can expect to get less for it when you eventually want to sell the vehicle or perform a trade-in at some point down the road.
— Research The Vehicle’s History
You already know the vehicle has been in an accident, but getting more details is often helpful. Use CarFax, Autocheck, or other vehicle history services to get a complete vehicle history report and find out what type of damage the vehicle sustained and who did the repairs. You might even be able to get the repair costs to help give you an idea of just how bad the damage was. This can also help identify potential odometer rollback issues, as those can be common on salvage and rebuilt cars.
— Perform An Inspection
You will want to take a test drive in the vehicle to make sure that everything seems normal, but you really should do more than that. Take the car to a trusted mechanic and have a full inspection performed. Even though a state inspection had to be performed, the rules on those vary state to state. You want to have your mechanic take a closer look at the car and check it out to identify potential problems.
Should You Buy A Rebuilt Title Car?
This is a personal decision that you will have to make, and some potential buyers feel very strongly one way or the other. Some people would never buy a car with a rebuilt vehicle title, while others would have no issue with it. Rebuilt title cars are less expensive than new cars, so you could potentially save yourself a lot of money on the purchase. If you have no problems knowing that the vehicle was once totaled, go ahead and buy that car and enjoy it! Remember that your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has approved the repairs and determined that the vehicle is safe to operate!
The Bottom Line
A rebuilt title signifies that a car has suffered significant damage and was previously designated a salvage car. However, the necessary repairs have been completed, and the vehicle is once again safe to operate. Before buying one, however, remember that your insurance company might not cover the car, and you may not be able to get a car loan. As long as you are aware of the potential downsides, then you can ultimately save a ton of money by buying a car with a rebuilt title.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the downside of a rebuilt title?
The downside of this title status is that the car was once totaled, and it has had significant repairs performed, which could lead to potential problems in the future with the vehicle. In addition, it can be more challenging to obtain insurance coverage or a loan for rebuilt title vehicles.
Can you insure a car with a rebuilt title?
The answer to this question differs on a case-by-case basis, and it depends on your specific state, insurance company, and the type of damage suffered by the vehicle. If you are looking at a car with a rebuilt title, you should call your insurance company with the details to determine whether you will obtain coverage.
Are rebuilt titles better than salvage?
Yes! Salvage title cars cannot be driven on the road, nor can they be purchased by the general public. Only licensed repair shops can buy these vehicles and perform repairs on them. Once they are repaired and pass a state inspection, then they will be issued a rebuilt title. Rebuilt cars can be driven like normal and bought and sold like a regular used car.
Is a rebuilt title a deal-breaker?
Not necessarily. As long as you do your homework and know the potential downsides of a rebuilt title, then you might decide to go ahead and purchase the vehicle. You can save a lot of money going this route, and if you plan to keep the car for an extended period of time, the lower resale value might not make much difference to you.