A Complete Guide to Buying a Car With a Rebuilt Title

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A Complete Guide to Buying a Car With a Rebuilt Title
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When shopping around for a used automobile, buyers need to consider various aspects, like the original damages and the outcome of the initial inspection. It is no secret that buying a rebuilt car can be tricky. But getting the right coverage can be even more problematic.

Before we go any further, you need to be familiar with specific terminology to choose a suitable option among numerous rebuilt cars commercially available.

Rebuilt Title Explained

It is generally used to describe or refer to an auto that had a salvage title before. Naturally, it means that the automobile was in a severe accident and had to be repaired and restored to its driving state. Apart from road accidents, the most common reason for granting a salvage and, later on, a rebuilt title is weather-specific events.

So when would the insurance company view the automobile as a total loss? The carrier would typically consider such conditions as hurricanes, vandalism, hail, or tornados qualifying events. It means that, more often than not, a damaged car is totaled out by the provider and sent to a scrapyard as salvage. But it is only applicable if the auto is destroyed and can only be scrapped for spare parts. Alternatively, it can be sold to repair shops and get reconstructed.

The rebuilt vehicles must be audited. Once it is determined that they are safe to drive, their status officially changes to the rebuilt. If you want to buy a car with a damage history, remember that its salvage status is here to stay. In other words, the record will never be clean.

Unlike an automobile with a clean title, the reconstructed car generally loses up to 40% of its value. What does it mean for buyers? Well, it means that they can cut potential losses. But sometimes, it can also mean that the game is not worth the candle.

Are These Cars Worth Buying?

There is a perception amongst auto enthusiasts that buying reconstructed automobiles is an unequivocally poor investment. Yes, there are specific gains and losses when purchasing rebuilt autos. And while there are numerous reasons to consider this purchase, it mostly depends on the individual situation.

Let’s face it: it can be a very lucrative deal. The buyer, however, should stay extra cautious and double-check everything. It might seem like a drawback regarding time and effort, but better safe than sorry.

Here are the most common concerns and issues you must address before actively shopping for or selling a rebuilt car.

A Complete Guide to Buying a Car With a Rebuilt Title 2
Infographic “Crash Course: A Complete Guide To Buying Cars With Rebuilt Titles”

Questions Most Buyers Ask Before Making a Final Decision

What most drivers care about is long-term safety. And reconstructed vehicles tend to raise doubts about the quality, external wear, and manufacturing defects. That is why it is crucial to ask the following questions before acquiring rebuilt vehicles:

Pros and Cons of Buying a Car With a Rebuilt Title



Should You Buy or Steer Clear of Rebuilt Cars?

Generally speaking, it is wise to keep looking and focus on alternative offers. In some cases, buying a restored car can work in your favor.

It can be your golden ticket if you own a car repair shop and look for high-quality car parts. But bear in mind that the decision is always individual. For instance, you can have a limited budget but need a car urgently. That is why it is crucial that you carefully consider the initial purpose of the purchase.

Getting Car Insurance for Salvage or Rebuilt Title Vehicles

It is always about the nature of the damage. Let’s say that the car suffered more or less extensive cosmetic damage. It means it can be safe to take it out for a drive again when it is repaired.

However, some damages resulting from floods, for example, can cause lasting consequences. The main problem, in this case, is that they tend to be indistinguishable on the spot.

What does it mean for drivers? Well, it means that purchasing insurance for a reconstructed car is complicated.

A rebuilt title is usually a red flag for any provider since it represents increased risks and potential mechanical issues. And yet, most states require minimum coverage, so buyers need to find carriers willing to provide policies for reconstructed cars.

If you already have an active policy and are looking to buy a rebuilt auto, your coverage might not extend. Buyers need to remember that finding a provider eager to write a policy for the rebuilt automobile will require additional tests and checkups.

Questions Most Buyers Ask Before Making a Final Decision

Why It Is Important To Get a Second Opinion

It is not enough to examine a vehicle once. Everything, including the documentation, might seem legit at first. But the goal is to ensure that an auto you are planning to buy is worth the risk and price.

You need to find a trustworthy car shop and check the automobile once again. The exterior might not cause doubts, but a car might require additional repairs and maintenance.

Experience matters in this case, and that is why the best way to get the car checked is to find a mechanic with a solid background in handling cars with rebuilt status. Otherwise, you might miss some of the technical problems.

Make Sure That Your Auto Is Not a Lemon

Besides asking questions and getting a second opinion, buyers must look out for other critical signs.

It is no secret that the repairs are often not made properly. Here is what you can do to check the maintenance quality yourself:

If you detect any of these issues, we recommend thinking twice about buying the car. The flaws might be too severe for the vehicle to serve its purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does an auto get a rebuilt title?

It depends on the state’s procedures. The most appropriate way to determine how your car can get the title is to contact the state Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

How can I make sure that the restored car is worth buying?

You first need to check the accident history that was initially granted a salvage status. Then, you need to request the documentation and find out who did the repair and restoration work. Even if the mechanic has positive reviews, consider getting a second opinion, as it can help you understand precisely what you are dealing with.

Does the title affect your insurance options?

You cannot access the same number of policies if you own a restored auto. It can be relatively easy to get liability coverage. As for traditional options, it depends on the provider. Owners typically have to look for the ones willing to cover vehicles with rebuilt titles.

Victoria Berezhetska

Victoria is a Content Writer at American REIA, covering the latest industry news and various insurance topics, including auto, home, health, and life insurance.

Date added: February 28, 2023