A Quick Guide to Rebuilt and Salvage Titles

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

If you’ve ever looked at the cost of buying a new vehicle, then you’ll know it comes at an expense. What they say about losing thousands of dollars as the car rolls off the forecourt is certainly true to some extent, and this is why so many people buy used cars. 

If you are shopping for a used car, you might be tempted to look at salvage and rebuilt titles. These cars are different from the typical used car, and is this post; we will explain everything you need to know and explain why insurance for a rebuilt or salvage works a little differently to traditional auto insurance. 

Salvage Titles Explained

This type of title is given to vehicles that sustain significant damage and have either been deemed by an insurance company to be a total loss, or the cost of repairs outweigh the value of the vehicle. Between states, the regulations for salvage titles do vary, so make sure you double-check with you DMV as to what your current state guidance is. 

What are the pros and cons of buying a salvage car?

Despite perception, a salvage titled vehicle isn’t always a bad deal, and the cars themselves might not always be in such a bad way. Here’s the lowdown on why buying a salvage titled vehicle might be a good option. 

PRO #1 – You can get a great price

This is probably the biggest advantage; saving money! If you are not particularly handy with repairs yourself, then you should get a clear picture of the extent of the repairs and the cost attached to them. 

PRO #2 – Sometimes the damage is not actually ‘that’ bad

It’s not uncommon for people to assume that a salvage title is going to be costly to repair, but this isn’t always true. If there is simply cosmetic damage and a few minor repairs, this could leave you in a favorable position of not actually needing to do too mechanical works. This won’t be the case with all salvage titles, of course, but it’s certainly worth keeping an open mind. 

CON #1 – You cannot drive the vehicle on a public road

If the vehicle you buy has a salvage title, then you won’t be able to drive it on the road until the repairs have been fully taken care of. It’s important for you to understand what you are doing in order to pass the vehicle through any relevant safety checks. 

If the vehicle is beyond repair, then it will get a non-repairable title. This means the vehicle is only ever going to be good for parts. 

CON #2 – You may not have an accurate picture of the vehicle’s health

This point could actually apply to almost any used vehicle sale, but it’s even more important to factor into a salvage title purchase. Use all available services, such as Carfax, to see the exact reason why the vehicle has a salvage title in the first place. 

If a bent frame or water damage is on the list, it’s usually a good idea to avoid such vehicles due to the unpredictability and associated costs. 

Salvage Car Inspections

Using a third-party to inspect a salvage vehicle is the best way to determine whether or not you should buy it. The cost of an inspection could be at least $100, but it’s a worthy investment to help you get a clear picture of the vehicle’s true condition. It can also be a great negotiation tool. Inspectors can be hired to work from their place of business, or you can take them with you to view a vehicle. 

Aside from what you can see on the outside and what the seller is telling you, inspections will also review flood, fire, and frame damage, along with being able to spot any poor or substandard repair work. There’s no absolute guarantee that they will be able to find each and every issue that is present on a vehicle, but a solid second set of eyes from a skilled inspector can help you unearth some of the hidden issues that an otherwise untrained eye might not be able to spot. 

Can you buy insurance for a salvage title car?

Once any outstanding repairs have been undertaken, and the inspections have been passed with your local state body, you can then apply for a rebuilt title for your vehicle. Once you have this, you can drive and insure your vehicle. We’ve covered all of the important questions about rebuilt titles in the next section. 

Rebuilt Titles Explained

This is a type of title that is given to a salvage car that has been repaired and has passed through a state inspection. The vehicle can be used on public roadways, and you can sell on a vehicle with a rebuilt title as well. 

How can you get a rebuilt title for a vehicle?

Prior to making an application to obtain a rebuilt title, you’ll need to ensure that all of the repairs have been fully taken care of. The first major step forward in the process will be to get an inspection carried out. Requirements do vary from one state to the next, so be sure to check out your local DMV guidelines and fees. 

When you make an application, you’ll usually need to pay the fee, provide the current salvage title, serial numbers and receipts for the parts you purchased, and clear color pictures of the vehicle in its former damaged state. 

We’re Here for You

We want to help you find the right auto insurance for your needs. If you contact us directly, our team will be happy to offer guidance about the different types of coverage you might need to buy; we can also get prices from the best insurers and present you with a range of options to choose from. 

More from Insurance Maestro

Bodily Injury and Property Damage

Buying auto insurance should be easy. But sometimes there’s so many options and different coverage options that knowing exactly what your buying

Car Insurance for College Students

When you consider the cost of going to college, including your food, lodgings, and tuition, it’s a pretty big commitment. It’s no

Skip to content