What is a Rebuilt Title?

When a vehicle that was previously considered salvage is reconstructed, it is given a rebuilt title. Before being permitted on the road, most states mandate an examination by a licensed garage or body shop, as well as the state department of motor vehicles. Such vehicles can offer affordable choices for purchasers.

rebuilt title checklist
A repair checklist helps the rebuild process.


Usually, cars with rebuilt titles have suffered extensive damage due to an accident, fire, or flood. If the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds its value, the insurance company designates it as a salvage title. Such vehicles are commonly referred to as “totaled,” indicating that they have been completely destroyed. Legally, the owner of a salvage vehicle cannot operate it on public highways or acquire valid license plates, but they may sell it to an automotive center to utilize it for parts or restoration.


After the vehicle has been repaired and restored, its owner can request an inspection and then relinquish the salvage title to the DMV in exchange for a title that denotes it as “rebuilt.” The vehicle is now permitted on highways once more and can be registered. The rules and regulations for acquiring a rebuilt title differ by state.


Cars with rebuilt titles offer potential purchasers the chance to own models that may have been beyond their financial reach otherwise. Although a vehicle might have sustained significant cosmetic damage, it could still be structurally and functionally intact. Rebuilt cars are frequently priced around 50-percent lower than those with standard titles.

Rebuilt Title Considerations

Prior to purchasing a rebuilt vehicle, it is crucial to have it meticulously examined by a mechanic. Additionally, it is important to verify with your insurance company whether they offer insurance coverage for vehicles with rebuilt titles, as some may not. Some insurance providers may only provide liability insurance for a vehicle with a rebuilt title, but not for collision damage.


Occasionally, a vehicle that ought to have a rebuilt title may be given a standard title instead. It is recommended that individuals purchasing used cars should use an identification process to scan the vehicle identification number (VIN) and identify any problems with the vehicle’s past. These procedures can also detect cars with erroneous odometer readings, as well as vehicles that were previously reported as stolen.

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Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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