What is a Rebuilt Vehicle Title?

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A rebuilt title, also known as a reconstructed title, is a certificate of title issued by the state that indicates that a vehicle has been repaired to an operational condition after being deemed a salvage vehicle. A salvage vehicle is one that has been extensively damaged and had an insurance claim payout. Essentially, a rebuilt vehicle is a salvage vehicle that has been deemed roadworthy after major reconstruction.

The rebuilt title brand is a permanent title brand. It alerts the next buyer of the vehicle’s history in case of any future damage or problems with the car. If your vehicle is issued a rebuilt title, it will show on the front of the certificate in large letters “REBUILT”, or similar depending on your state.

In order for a car to be considered for a rebuilt title, it must meet certain requirements set forth by each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The first step is for an insurance company representative to determine if your car meets these criteria:

  • The vehicle must have been declared “totaled” by an insurance company representative;
  • All damage must have been fully repaired;
  • The cost of repairing the damage must exceed 75% of the current market value of your car;
  • You must have adequate proof of ownership

Depending on your insurer and your jurisdiction, there may be additional qualifying criteria to apply for a rebuilt vehicle title.

Should you purchase a vehicle with a rebuilt or salvage title?

The answer to this depends on the vehicle in question and what you plan to use it for. Before purchasing a vehicle with a rebuilt title, make sure to get a good vehicle history report to learn more about the rebuilt title brand. Vehicles with rebuilt titles may have been fixed up and can be driven on the road, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be reliable, safe, or fixed enough for long-term use. Investigate the history of any vehicle, particularly one with a permanent title brand, before making any purchases to know exactly what you’re buying.

Additionally, while rebuilt and salvage title cars may be significantly less expensive, the insurance rates for vehicles with these titles are typically more expensive and more difficult to find. 

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