You might save money buying a car with a salvage or rebuilt title, but you also might have a hard time insuring it.
You’ll likely have the hardest time getting insurance for a salvage title car, which is a car that’s been totaled. In fact, most insurance companies won’t cover these kinds of vehicles.
You should be able to get insurance for a rebuilt title car, which is a salvaged car that’s been repaired, but you may not get as much coverage as you want.
Keep reading to learn more about buying car insurance for these “branded” vehicles, including:
- Insuring a car with a salvage title
- Insuring a car with a rebuilt title
- Getting full coverage on a rebuilt title car
- Which car insurance companies cover rebuilt titles
Can you insure a car with a salvage title?
You may be able to insure a car with a salvage title, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to find a company that will sell you a policy.
Few companies will sell you auto insurance for a salvage title car. Some will sell you insurance for a rebuilt title car, though.
This is mainly due to the differences between salvage and rebuilt titles:
- A salvage title car has been totaled.
- A rebuilt title car is a totaled car that has been repaired and has passed certain state inspections.
Can you insure a car with a rebuilt title?
Yes, you can insure a car with a rebuilt title. Not all insurance companies cover rebuilt title cars, however.
Far fewer companies will sell you comprehensive coverage for a rebuilt title car. Why? It’s difficult for insurers to determine exactly how much a car with a rebuilt title is worth.
How does a rebuilt title affect insurance?
The main way salvage and rebuilt titles affect insurance is by limiting the types of coverage you can buy for cars with those titles.
For example, if your vehicle has a salvage title, it might keep you from buying any car insurance coverage for it. And if your vehicle has a rebuilt title, it might limit you to just liability coverage.
A salvage or rebuilt title car can also affect how much you pay for insurance. Let’s say you find a company that will sell you full coverage — liability, collision and comprehensive coverage — for your rebuilt title car. That company may charge you a higher rate for that coverage than it would if your car had a clean title. Of course, it may charge you the same rate as it would for a clean title car, too.
How to insure a salvage title car
To insure a car with a salvage title, you’ll probably have to spend a lot of time shopping around for a policy.
Few insurance companies cover salvage title cars because most cars with salvage titles have been stolen or totaled.
Insurance companies are especially wary of totaled cars, even after they’re repaired or reconstructed. The main reason for this is that insurers only call a car a total loss after it’s been damaged so severely the resulting repair bill exceeds at least 75% of the car’s value. (This percentage differs from state to state.)
How to insure a rebuilt title car
Insuring a car with a rebuilt title should be a lot easier than insuring a car with a salvage title. That said, you’ll probably still have to shop around a bit to get the type or amount of coverage you want.
Shopping around for rebuilt title car insurance usually means:
- Contacting several car insurance providers.
- Asking if they write policies for vehicles with rebuilt titles.
- Finding out which coverage types they offer for rebuilt autos.
- Getting a quote to see how much that coverage will cost you.
- Comparing that quote to ones you get from other insurers.
Get quotes for rebuilt title car insurance
You might have to take a few other steps to insure a rebuilt title car, too.
For example, insurance companies will want to see proof the rebuilt car is in working order. You can give them that proof by having a mechanic certify your rebuilt car is ready for the road.
An insurance company also might want you to have the vehicle appraised. In that case, get an appraisal done and then send your insurer the appraiser’s report.
Here are a few other documents you may need to turn in before a provider will send you a quote or sell you rebuilt title insurance:
- The auto’s title.
- The accident report or repair estimate from when the vehicle was totaled.
- Photos or video footage of the car in its current state.
Can you get full coverage on a rebuilt title?
Yes, some companies will sell you full-coverage auto insurance for a car with a rebuilt title. Many other companies won’t sell you a full-coverage policy for such a car, though.
In particular, many insurers won’t sell comprehensive coverage for a rebuilt title car. And that’s what you need — along with liability and collision protection — if you want full coverage.
Why do these insurance companies refuse to sell comprehensive coverage to someone with a rebuilt car? Because if you get into another accident with that car, they’ll have a tough time figuring out what damage was caused by the most recent crash and what damage happened earlier.
What insurance companies cover rebuilt titles?
Here are some insurance companies that are known to cover rebuilt title cars:
In-line form: Compare FREE quotes from multiple companies to get the best rates
Compare FREE quotes from multiple companies to get the best rates
These insurance companies don’t cover cars with rebuilt titles:
- Direct General
The best way to find an insurance company that will cover a rebuilt car is to shop around. Compare quotes from several insurers to get your best rate.
What is a salvage title?
What does salvage title mean? A car typically gets a salvage title if it sustains a certain amount of damage and a state or an insurance company declares it a total loss. In some states, though, a car gets a salvage title if someone steals it.
Regardless, you can’t register or drive salvage title cars.
Also, the flip side of a salvage title is a clean title. A clean title car has never suffered serious damage.
Is a salvage title the same as a junk title?
No, salvage title and junk title are not the same thing. Junk title is another name for a non-repairable title.
States reserve junk or non-repairable titles for vehicles that are so severely damaged no amount of repairs can restore them to roadworthy status.
The only options for people who have a junk title car are to sell it for parts or have it destroyed.
What is a rebuilt title?
What does rebuilt title mean? A car with a rebuilt title is a salvage title car that has been repaired.
Before you can change a car’s title from salvage to rebuilt, though, it needs to pass a thorough inspection.
On a related note, keep an eye out for the following terms while shopping for vehicles, as people regularly use them when referring to rebuilt titles:
- Rebuilt salvage title
- Restored salvage title
- Reconstructed title
What is a branded title?
All of the titles discussed in this article so far — except for clean titles — are examples of branded titles.
State agencies use these brands — like rebuilt, salvage and junk — to warn people that a used vehicle sustained significant damage in the past.
Not all states use the same title brands. For example, some states issue specific titles to cars damaged by fire, hail or water.
Also, not all states define their title brands in the same way.
What does blue title mean?
Along with terms like rebuilt salvage title and reconstructed title, you might come across “blue title” while car hunting as well. The blue in “blue title” refers to the color of the paper on which the title is printed. And in most states, titles printed on blue paper are salvage titles.
Car titles come in other colors, too. Rebuilt cars usually get orange titles, while cars with clean records get green titles.
Is a rebuilt title bad?
Cars with rebuilt titles aren’t bad. In fact, there are a lot of good things about rebuilt title cars. Cars with rebuilt titles tend to be cheaper than cars that haven’t been totaled, for example.
Some negatives are associated with rebuilt title cars, however. One is that you might have a tough time getting rid of it when you decide to move on to another vehicle. Many dealers don’t accept autos with salvage or rebuilt titles as trade-ins. Those that do will give you far less than the Kelley Blue Book value for them.
How to get a salvage title cleared
To remove a salvage title from a car, you must have it repaired and restored to a point where it’s once again safe for the road.
Do that and you can have the car’s salvage title changed to a rebuilt title — after it passes your state’s inspection process.
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