What is a rebuilt title?

Car Insurance Tip!
How to Save on Car Insurance in Five Minutes
  • Car insurance costs more in 2024.
  • Don't let your rates increase.
  • Compare rates to save big!
Compare Rates Now Car Image

If you’re shopping for a used car and come across one listed well below fair market value, chances are you may have stumbled upon a rebuilt or revived title vehicle. 

Learn more about rebuilt titles below. 

Be sure to equip yourself with all the facts when shopping for a used car to make sure you get the best deal. Get started at VINvaquero.com:

What does “rebuilt title” mean? 

A rebuilt title is another common title brand that is issued to vehicles that have once been determined to be a total loss. 

Learn more about branded car titles

After a vehicle sustains excessive damage due to a collision, fire, flood, vandalism, theft, etc., it will be determined to be a total loss by the insurance company. 

After a vehicle has been declared a total loss and reported to the DMV, the DMV will assign a salvage title brand to that vehicle. 

You can learn more about salvage titles here.

Salvage title vehicles can typically not be registered and driven until they are repaired. 

After a salvage vehicle has been repaired and brought back to safe operating condition, it will need to be inspected by a state-authorized inspector and the VIN will need to be verified. 

If a salvage vehicle passes all the necessary inspections, the title brand will be updated to a rebuilt title, which can then be registered and driven again. 

How much does a rebuilt title devalue a car? 

Like any damaged vehicle or title branded car, a rebuilt title devalues the vehicle. 

In most cases, cars with a rebuilt title are valued at 20% to 50% less than the same car with a clean title. 

What does a rebuilt title look like? 

A rebuilt title looks pretty much the same as a normal or clean title with one important difference. 

In the section of the certificate of title where title history or brands are listed, the word Rebuilt, Restored, Revived, Revived Salvage, or Rebuilt Salvage will be printed. 

You can check a car’s title status and any brands by running the VIN or ordering a vehicle history report. 

Learn more: How to Check the Status of a Car Title

What is the difference between rebuilt title and salvage title?

Both salvage titles and rebuilt titles are title brands that are issued to vehicles that have been determined to be a total loss at some point. 

The main difference is that a salvage title vehicle has not yet been repaired, inspected, and is not able to be registered. 

A rebuilt title is a salvage vehicle that has been repaired, inspected, and can be registered for use again. 

How to Turn a Rebuilt Title to a Clean Title

You can’t really change a rebuilt title to a clean title. 

Title brands follow a car for the remainder of its history. 

Practices like “title washing” are a form of vehicle title fraud, in which the seller tries to hide a car’s title brands and history. 

Always be sure to order a vehicle history report and check the VIN when shopping for a used car. 

However, unlike a salvage title, a rebuilt title vehicle can be registered again. The process typically involves:

  • Having the car fully repaired and inspected. 
  • Verifying the VIN. 
  • Providing proof of ownership. 
  • Completing a new registration application. 
  • Getting an active insurance policy. 
  • Paying the tag and title fees. 

Be sure to check with your state DMV for specific details, requirements, forms, inspection locations, and fees. 

Learn more about getting new license plates in each state.