Salvaged Vehicles

Things to Know about a Rebuilt Car Title


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What is a Rebuilt Car Title?

Usually, to get a rebuilt car title, a car has gone through some event that caused extensive damage, and has been rebuilt to a drivable state. A rebuilt title, also known as a salvage title or reconstructed title, is used to inform the consumer of a vehicle's history. Rules may vary from state to state, but once a car has been titled as "salvage," it will appear in a history report as such; even if the car is titled in different states. A rebuilt title significantly reduces the value of a used car, and there are two primary ways a car can be given a salvage title.

Insurance Total Loss

An Insurance total loss can cover accidents, natural disasters and theft. This occurs when the insurance company deems that the repairs to the vehicle are not economically practical. For instance, if the blue book value of a vehicle is $12,000, and the repair estimates are $10,500, the insurance company may pay the claimant blue book value rather than having the car repaired. In matters of theft, a salvage title may be issued for a vehicle that is recovered after a claim has been paid, even though damage may be minimal.

Impounded and Seized Vehicles

Sometimes seized, impounded or unclaimed vehicles may be given a salvage title in order to be sold to junk yards, repair shops or auction houses. In these cases vehicle damage, unpaid repairs or storage fees may exceed the value of the car. The vehicles are sold as salvage to recoup some of the costs. Titling the car salvage significantly reduces the price of the car.

Buying a Car with a Rebuilt Title

Buying a car with a rebuilt title should be considered carefully. Some states require minimal inspections to declare a rebuilt car road-worthy, while others are more thorough. Check with the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for questions regarding these inspections. It is highly recommended that any rebuilt car be inspected by a certified mechanic and even a reputable body shop.

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