What is a Rebuilt Title – An Ultimate Guide

Yes, motorists may have many reasons to purchase used cars. It could be to save money or to attract cheaper financing options. Whatever reason you have, when shopping for a used car, it’s possible to come across a car with a rebuilt title. What is a rebuilt title, anyway? Is it a good or bad idea?

If you’re hunting for your next used car, read to the end. This article, an ultimate rebuilt title guide, will answer all the crucial questions regarding a rebuilt title. It’ll also differentiate salvage and rebuilt titles. You’ll learn the crucial factors to consider before buying a car with a rebuilt title.

What is a rebuilt title?

When you see a rebuilt title on a car, the car has incurred significant damage or was declared a total loss due to a collision or other reasons and was later repaired and made safe to drive. There are advantages and disadvantages to cars with rebuilt titles.

Sometimes insurance companies declare a repairable accident car a total loss because it’ll cost much to repair it. Other times, the damage can be so severe that it can not be repaired to the factory standards.

If you live in Texas, you may wonder, what does a rebuilt title mean in Texas? Likewise, you may ask, ‘what is a rebuilt title in Maryland,’ if you live there. It all means the same thing in whichever part of the country you live in. However, the conditions may differ from state to state.

how to get a rebuilt title

Rebuilt Title vs. Salvage Title: Differences To Be Aware Of

A salvage title is an official notice that a vehicle has been damaged beyond repair to a factory standard or declared a total loss by an insurance company that paid for the damage claim.

Sometimes, the vehicle is involved in a severe collision, and the repair cost is more than the car’s value. In such a situation, the insurance company will settle the owner for the car and take the damaged car.

Whereas a rebuilt title deals with a car that once hold a salvage title or declared a total loss and was later repaired or rebuilt. Sometimes, rebuilt cars cannot meet the manufacturer’s standard. This, however, will cause it to have reliability or safety issues.

A can be salvaged because of any of the following areas;

  • Severe damage from flooding
  • The vehicle has experienced fire damage
  • The vehicle has experienced severe collision
  • The former owner returned the car because of the warranty and re-manufactured it for resale.

If you are looking for how to turn the rebuilt title into a clean title, there’s no legitimate way to do this. A rebuilt title is meant to last forever. However, the only way to change rebuilt title to a clean title is via title washing. Title washing refers to an illegitimate or fraudulent means of removing a car title from a car. Dubious sellers use title washing to clean anything that’ll reduce the value of a car. These include liens or rebuilt and salvage title brands.

Having seen the meaning of a rebuilt title and the difference between salvage and rebuilt titles, let’s look at the pros and cons of rebuilt titles.

Pros And Cons Of Buying A Car With A Rebuilt Title

When considering purchasing a car with a rebuilt title, there are some pros and cons you should consider. It will help you decide if it is what you want.

what is a rebuilt title

Pros of a Vehicle with a Rebuilt Title

You can view the vehicle documentation status

When a vehicle incurs significant damage, there should be documentation after the repair. The documentation should contain the parts and labor needed to fix the car. If the seller refuses to issue you this document, you can decline the transaction. A reputable organization or person won’t mind presenting this document at request unless they have something to hide.

You have the right to know what happened to the car and where the owner repaired it. This will also let you know if a licensed facility did the repair works or a non-licensed mechanic.

You can check the vehicle history through DMV

If the organization or person you want to buy the vehicle from is not providing you with the information you need, you can check the vehicle’s history. Reach out to your local motor vehicle department to get critical information about the car. You can extract data using third-party services like Autocheck.

It is important to know why the authorities issued the car a salvage title and the repairs done to restore it. This will help you maintain the vehicle in the future.

The vehicle has to pass state inspection

Most consumers are afraid of buying a car with a rebuilt title because they are afraid of the problems it may give. Before a vehicle gains the ‘rebuilt title,’ it must pass state inspection. This shows that the vehicle may be good at meeting your driving expectations.

Salvaged cars can be a good source of parts

If you’re a mechanic or love working underhood, a salvaged car can be a great investment. You can decide to rebuild the vehicle to your make and model and satisfy your standards. You can also take parts from it and fix other cars.

Cons of a Vehicle with a Rebuilt Title

You will need a second opinion before making the purchase

Even though we explained a vehicle needs to pass state inspection to earn the ‘rebuilt title,’ that doesn’t mean the vehicle meets the factory standard. Hence, it’s important to get a second opinion on the rebuilt title car you want to purchase. Although, this is essential when buying any used car.

People judge books by their cover. Do not judge a car by its exterior look. Carry out a thorough inspection by a certified mechanic. Inexperienced mechanics may do improper rebuilt in a repair garage.

The owner may remove the new parts after getting a rebuilt title

You should have a little cynicism when purchasing a rebuilt car. All vehicles in this state suffered catastrophic damages and were once inoperable. The car owner can work with a mechanic to fix new parts on the vehicle to get a rebuilt title and remove the parts afterward.

This is a good reason your mechanic should inspect components thoroughly before closing the deal.

A rebuilt title last forever

Once a vehicle is totaled, it retains that status forever. No matter the level of repair and how well the car runs after the repair, it still retains the rebuilt status. That means the vehicle will always have a low resale value compared to other used cars without this title.

Although, this demerit isn’t profound for popular vehicle makes and models. This is a major factor to consider when purchasing a car with a rebuilt title.

The restoration process can be faked

There can be safety issues with vehicles with rebuilt titles. The mechanic that restores the vehicle may fake the restoration process. For instance, a mechanic can restore a vehicle without installing airbags. This can result in a loss of life in case of a collision.

Most re-builders can cut corners by using money-saving tactics when restoring salvaged vehicles. So, make sure your mechanic inspects all the safety features thoroughly.

Voided insurance

Your insurance may be voided. Therefore, review your insurance policy or contact the agent to know what’s possible in your case. The insurance agencies that may provide coverage would require full coverage if you bought a car with a rebuilt title.

This is because it is difficult to determine the value of a car with a rebuilt title.

Dealerships may not accept it for a trade-in

The resale of the car becomes difficult. Dealerships may not accept the vehicle for a trade-in with another transaction. You need to discuss this with the dealership forehand.

Even if you have ‘Chris fix’ to rebuild the car for you, it is not enough to convince anyone. You don’t need to purchase a car with a rebuilt title because it is cheaper without considering your long-term expectations.

It may be difficult to resale the vehicle

If you bought a car with a rebuilt title, you need to maintain it properly. Sometimes, some makes and models are more problematic than new ones or fairly used ones.

That makes it difficult to resale when you want to upgrade to get something better. You may end up making peanuts from this transaction.

Some damages are not repairable

Some vehicle damages go beyond repair. There’s a difference between structural loss and being ‘totaled.’ Issues with the vehicle frame or chassis, such as bent chassis from collision, are not repairable. A bent frame may pose a danger to the driver and passengers in future incidents.

If any part of the frame is bent, look for another car to buy unless you want to use the parts to repair another vehicle.

Crucial Considerations Before Deciding For Rebuilt Title

When motorists ask what is a rebuilt title in Alabama or any province, they want to make sure the car is not issued to junkyards. Here are the factors to consider:

Ask Your Insurance Agent

Ask your insurance company to know if they insure rebuilt cars. Most reputable insurance companies will not offer coverage on salvaged cars. If vehicles in this state get damaged, the repair will be very high.

Some reputable insurance companies don’t even insure rebuilt cars. Therefore, it’s essential to ask your insurance agent before closing the deal.

Extreme Caution is Ultimate Safety

Don’t take sellers for their words when buying a car with a rebuilt title. You can’t certify if the re-builders repaired the vehicle properly without taking extreme caution on your inspection. Always let your mechanic inspect the vehicle and confirm everything is in good condition.

Get All the Crucial Information

Get all crucial data on the rebuilt car you intend to buy. Confirm the extent of the damage, where the former owner repaired the vehicle, and if the damage affects the vehicle structure.

You don’t want to gamble with your money. Therefore, you need answers to the questions above. You can ask the owner for repair documents or request a report from CarFax or DMV of your state.

Expect Comparatively a Low Price

The common reason people buy used cars is to save, especially when purchasing a rebuilt car. After considering the above factors, you need to ensure the price is comparatively low. Kindly note that the vehicle will become expensive in the long run because of repairs and maintenance.


Q: Are Rebuilt titles a good idea?

Whether you are wondering, ‘is a rebuilt title bad or good?’ You need to understand that a car with a rebuilt title has once incurred severe damages. At that point, an insurance company marked it as a total loss or ‘totaled.’

While rebuilt cars are cheaper than clean cars to purchase, others are lemons that you should avoid. Therefore, when considering a car with a rebuilt title, have a mechanic inspect it thoroughly, especially the safety components.

Q: Will USAA insure a car with a rebuilt title?

Yes, USAA insures a car with a rebuilt title. If your car was once salvaged and earned a rebuilt title after repair and inspection, USAA will offer full insurance coverage. However, if the car still holds a salvage title, no reputable issuer will offer you coverage.

It is because salvaged cars are not reliable and safe to drive. It is illegal to drive salvaged cars.

Q: Can you drive a car with a rebuilt title in Florida?

If you ask, ‘what is a rebuilt title in Florida?’ It is the same as in Texas. Of course, you can drive a rebuilt car in Florida. All you need to do is repair your salvaged car, go for inspection, and get a rebuilt title and a license plate. Once you have these, you can legally drive your car in Florida.

Q: Can you get full coverage on a rebuilt title in Florida?

Yes. You can get full insurance coverage on a rebuilt car in Florida. However, it may be hard to get an insurance company that will offer you full coverage in Florida. Some companies may not write policies on a rebuilt car.

Q: Can you get full coverage on a rebuilt title in Texas?

Yes. You can get full coverage vehicle insurance in Texas, but it can be difficult to see the insurer. Most providers are afraid to offer coverage because they can’t determine if the cause of the repair is resolved or pre-existing.

Q: How do you negotiate a total loss?

Do you think your vehicle is worth more than what your insurer offers you during an auto total? Here are the step-by-step guides to follow when wondering how to negotiate a total loss.

Determine the value of the car. This includes checking the make, model, and other factors like body styling. After that, decide if the initial offer is too low. If you think the offer is too low, negotiate with your insurance adjuster.

If your negotiation with the insurer yields no positive result, hire an attorney. An attorney knows how totaled negotiation works and how to fight the insurance company. Once you and the insurer settle put the terms in the paperwork. This helps to ensure no one deviates from the agreed settlement.

Final words

This article has provided sufficient information on the subject, ‘what is a rebuilt title?’ As explained earlier, cars with rebuilt titles are cheaper to purchase but become expensive in the long run and hard to resale.

Most buyers are repulsive about cars with rebuilt titles and consider them more or less junk. Consider the pros and cons of rebuilt title cars and decide if you really want these cars.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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