When you order a vehicle history report, one of the things that comes back is any title brands on the vehicle.
A branded title tells you a lot about a vehicle’s past, and can help you to better determine whether you’re getting a good deal or if you should walk away from the sale.
This page will cover the basics of branded titles so you can be better prepared for shopping for a used car.
What does branded title mean?
A certificate of title contains a lot of important information about the car.
A title brand is something that every state uses to keep track of a vehicle’s history.
In general, a branded title indicates that a particular car has experienced major damages, problems, or above-average wear.
To be more specific, a branded title means one or more of the following:
- A car has been declared a total loss.
- There have been major damages due to flood, fire, hail, etc.
- There are odometer issues with the vehicle.
- The vehicle was used for commercial purposes such as taxi, police, etc.
Cars with branded titles tend to be significantly cheaper than the same vehicle with a clean title.
On the other hand, reselling, financing, insuring, and fixing a branded title vehicle can be much more costly and difficult.
You can determine whether a vehicle has a branded title by checking on the title status.
You can typically find any existing title brands in the section labeled “Vehicle History” or “Brands” on the certificate of title.
Common Types of Branded Titles
Some title brands are more common than others, and are typically found in every state.
- Salvage titles.
- Rebuilt titles.
- Odometer Flags.
- Water/Flood Damage.
A salvage title brand is applied when a car has been in a collision and has been declared a total loss by the insurance company.
This happens when the cost to repair the vehicle exceeds that current market value of the vehicle.
In many cases, these types of vehicles will be sold at auction for parts or repair, but the title will be updated to reflect the salvage brand.
Learn more: What is a Salvage Title?
A rebuilt title is applied after a vehicle with a salvage title has been repaired, inspected, and certified that it can be registered and driven again.
While vehicles with rebuilt titles can be registered and driven on public roads, not every insurance company will provide you with a policy. And, if you plan to sell it in the future, finding a buyer may be more difficult.
Learn more: What is a Rebuilt Title?
Odometer branded titles indicate that there has been an issue identified with the vehicle’s reported mileage.
In most cases, this means that the listed mileage is lower than the actual mileage. This can be due to intentional fraud, mechanical errors, rollovers, etc.
Flood Damage or Water Damage title brands indicate that the vehicle has sustained significant damage after being submerged, flooded, or otherwise heavily damaged by water.
Water and flooding can cause serious, long-lasting damage to a car. Things like rust, mold, mildew, and engine damage can be difficult to spot and expensive to fix.
It’s a good idea to think twice about purchasing a flood damaged vehicle.
List of Title Brands
|The vehicle was used for agricultural purposes primarily on private roads.
|The vehicle is 50+ years old.
|The vehicle is over 20 years old and meets other classic vehicle criteria.
|The vehicle has been damaged in a collision.
|The frame of the vehicle has been crushed or damaged to the extent where it cannot be reused or repaired.
|The vehicle has experienced damage to the extent where it is required to be listed.
|The vehicle can only be sold for parts.
|The vehicle has been damaged in a fire.
|The vehicle has been damaged in a flood.
|The vehicle was previously used as a rental car.
|The vehicle was manufactured for use and sale outside of the U.S.
|The vehicle has been damaged by hail.
|The vehicle is unsafe for operation and can only be used for parts or scrap.
|The vehicle has been constructed with different components. The chassis VIN is used as the VIN.
|The vehicle was used for logging purposes primarily on private roads.
|The odometer reading is true and correct.
|Odometer: Exceeds Mechanical Limits
|The odometer reading is not the true reading due to mechanical limits of the device.
|Odometer: Exempt from Odometer Disclosure
|The vehicle falls outside of the federal odometer disclosure requirements laws.
|Odometer: Not Actual
|The odometer reading is not the actual mileage on the vehicle.
|The odometer is not the same as the original odometer when the vehicle was manufactured.
|Odometer: Tampering Verified
|The odometer has been tampered with to make it look like the mileage is different from actual mileage.
|The vehicle is currently registered as a police vehicle.
|The vehicle is currently registered as a taxi.
|The vehicle has been declared a total loss and is kept by the owner.
|Prior Non-Repairable / Repaired
|A previously damaged or destroyed vehicle has been repaired and inspected.
|The vehicle was used as a police vehicle.
|The vehicle was registered as a taxi.
|The vehicle was previously branded as salvage, but has been rebuilt to pass the necessary inspections for safe use.
|A vehicle that has been significantly altered from its original form.
|The vehicle was previously branded as Salvage due to theft, but has since been repaired and inspected.
|A vehicle that has been renovated or upgraded.
|The vehicle has been reconstructed by the original manufacturer.
|The vehicle has been constructed to look like a different make, year, or model.
|Salt water damage
|The vehicle has saltwater damage as a result of a flood.
|The vehicle was branded as salvage and kept by the owner.
|Salvage: Damage or Not Specified
|The vehicle has been wrecked, destroyed, or damaged and listed as a total loss.
|The vehicle has been stolen and recovered by the insurance company.
|The vehicle has been modified beyond the manufacturer’s original specs.
|The vehicle was manufactured for testing purposes.
|The vehicle has been determined to be a total loss.
|The vehicle has been vandalized.
|The vehicle has been issued a new VIN.
|The vehicle had been returned to the manufacturer for a warranty breach.