How to Buy a Car with a Rebuilt Title – Buying a car with a rebuilt title can be a great way to save money on a vehicle that has been repaired and restored to good working condition. However, it also comes with some risks and challenges that you need to be aware of before you make a purchase.
In this article, we will explain what a rebuilt title is, how it affects the value and insurance of a car, and what steps you should take to buy a rebuilt car safely and confidently.
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What is a Rebuilt Title?
A rebuilt title is a type of title that indicates that a vehicle was previously declared a total loss by an insurance company and issued a salvage title. A salvage title means that the vehicle was so badly damaged that it was not worth repairing or that it was unsafe to drive on public roads. Some common causes of salvage titles are:
- Heavy damage from an accident
- Extensive flood or hail damage
- Fire damage
- Damage resulting from theft or vandalism
- Odometer rollback or fraud
However, some salvage vehicles can be repaired and restored to roadworthy condition by qualified mechanics or rebuilders. These vehicles can then be inspected by the state and issued a rebuilt title, which allows them to be registered and driven legally. However, the rebuilt title will always remain on the vehicle’s history report, such as the Carfax Report1, as a permanent record of its past damage.
How Does a Rebuilt Title Affect the Value of a Car?
One of the main advantages of buying a car with a rebuilt title is that it is usually much cheaper than a similar car with a clean title. A clean title means that the car has never been declared a total loss or had any major damage in its history. Depending on the extent and quality of the repairs, the condition of the vehicle, and the demand for the model, you can expect to pay anywhere from 20% to 40% less for a rebuilt car than for a comparable clean car.
However, there are also some drawbacks to buying a car with a rebuilt title. For one thing, you may have difficulty reselling it in the future, as many buyers will be wary of its history and reliability. You may also have trouble finding financing for a rebuilt car, as many lenders will consider it too risky to lend money on. Additionally, you may face higher depreciation rates for a rebuilt car, as its value will drop faster than a clean car over time.
How Does a Rebuilt Title Affect the Insurance of a Car?
Another challenge of buying a car with a rebuilt title is finding adequate insurance coverage for it. Many insurance companies will refuse to insure rebuilt cars, or will only offer liability coverage, which pays for the damages you cause to others in an accident, but not for your own vehicle. This is because insurance companies view rebuilt cars as more likely to break down or have hidden problems that could lead to costly claims.
However, some insurance companies may be willing to insure rebuilt cars, especially if you can provide proof that the vehicle has been repaired properly and inspected by the state. You may also need to get an appraisal from an independent mechanic or appraiser to determine the actual value of your rebuilt car. This way, you can get an accurate quote for comprehensive collision coverage, which pays for the damages to your own vehicle in case of theft, vandalism, fire, or collision.
How to Buy a Car with a Rebuilt Title Safely and Confidently
If you decide to buy a car with a rebuilt title, you need to do your homework and take some precautions to ensure that you are getting a good deal and not buying a lemon. Here are some tips to help you buy a rebuilt car safely and confidently:
Check the vehicle history report
Before you buy any used car, you should always check its vehicle history report from sources like Carfax or AutoCheck. This will show you important information about the car’s past, such as its previous owners, accidents, repairs, recalls, mileage, and title status. You should avoid buying cars that have multiple salvage titles from different states, as this could indicate title washing, which is when someone tries to remove the salvage brand from the title by moving the car across state lines.
Inspect the vehicle thoroughly
You should also inspect the vehicle carefully before you buy it, preferably with the help of an experienced mechanic or inspector. You should look for signs of poor or incomplete repairs, such as mismatched paint colors, uneven gaps between body panels, rust or corrosion, leaks or cracks in the engine or transmission, electrical problems, airbag deployment indicators, or warning lights on the dashboard. You should also test drive the vehicle and pay attention to how it handles, accelerates, brakes, steers, and sounds.
Ask for documentation
You should also ask the seller for documentation of the repairs and inspections that were done on the vehicle. You should ask for receipts, invoices, warranties, or certificates from the mechanic or rebuilder who fixed the car, as well as the state inspection report that approved the car for a rebuilt title. You should also ask for a copy of the salvage title and the rebuilt title, and make sure they match the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car.
Negotiate the price
Finally, you should negotiate the price of the car with the seller, based on your research and inspection. You should compare the price of the rebuilt car with similar clean cars in your area, and factor in the cost of any additional repairs or maintenance that may be needed. You should also consider the value of any warranty or guarantee that the seller may offer, as well as the availability and cost of insurance for the car. You should aim to pay a fair price that reflects the condition and history of the car, but also leaves you some room for savings and potential resale value.
In conclusion, Buying a car with a rebuilt title can be a smart way to save money on a vehicle that has been repaired and restored to good working condition. However, it also comes with some risks and challenges that you need to be aware of before you make a purchase. By following the tips in this article, you can buy a rebuilt car safely and confidently, and enjoy driving it for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions (F&Qs)
Can you insure a car with a rebuilt title in Texas?
Yes, you can insure a car with a rebuilt title in Texas. Although insurance companies in Texas won’t insure a car with a current salvage title, you can get coverage if you have the vehicle repaired and inspected by a state-certified mechanic. If it’s declared safe to drive, the DMV will issue the car a rebuilt title. According to Texas rebuilt title laws, vehicles with broken windshields and damage to the engine or body will not get a rebuilt title until the damage is repaired. Only then you can use the vehicle on public roads and insure it.
Can you insure a car with a rebuilt title in Ohio?
Yes, you can insure a car with a rebuilt title in Ohio. Although insurance companies in Ohio won’t insure a car with a current salvage title, you can get coverage if you have the vehicle repaired and inspected by a state-certified mechanic. If it’s declared safe to drive, the DMV will issue the car a rebuilt title.
Can you insure a rebuilt title in NC?
Yes, you can insure a car with a rebuilt title in North Carolina. Although insurance companies in North Carolina won’t insure a car with a current salvage title, you can get coverage if you have the vehicle repaired and inspected by a state-certified mechanic. If it’s declared safe to drive, the DMV will issue the car a rebuilt title.
Can you insure a rebuilt title in Alabama?
In Alabama, a vehicle with a salvage title cannot be insured under any circumstances. However, if the vehicle is repaired and inspected by a state-certified mechanic, it can be issued a rebuilt title. Once the vehicle has a rebuilt title, it may be possible to obtain auto insurance for it, although it may be difficult and the vehicle’s resale value will be reduced as a result.
What is a rebuilt title in California?
In California, a rebuilt title can be given to both salvage and junk vehicles. Such vehicles get the status of “revived” vehicles. A salvage vehicle is one that can be fixed after being deemed a total loss by the insurance company because repair costs were approximately the same or greater than its market value immediately before it received the damage, as opposed to junk cars, which are non-operable dismantled vehicles because they were wrecked, abandoned, or low-value vehicles. Correspondingly, these repaired vehicles will have “revived salvage” and “revived junk” titles.
What does a rebuilt title mean in Illinois?
In Illinois, a rebuilt title is issued to a vehicle that was previously declared salvaged due to theft, abandonment, structural or severe cosmetic damage, or another form of total loss that has been repaired and/or inspected by a licensed rebuilder. The Illinois Vehicle Code defines a rebuilt vehicle as: “A vehicle for which a Salvage Certificate has been issued and which subsequently has been put back into its original or operating condition by a licensed rebuilder and which has met all the requirements of a salvage vehicle inspection.”
How to Buy a Car with a Rebuilt Title