Insuring a Car With a Rebuilt Title, Explained

You can insure a rebuilt title car, but it may be more expensive than normal and you might have trouble finding full coverage for the car.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
A rebuilt title car—or a car declared a total loss and then rebuilt into drivable condition—can be difficult to insure, but not impossible.
Some insurers will cover a rebuilt title car, but your policy options may be limited and full coverage might be hard to find. This means you’ll have to shop around for quotes.
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Insuring a rebuilt title car can be a challenge, but there’s no reason for you to sweat it. Here’s what you need to know about rebuilt title insurance.
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What is a rebuilt title car?

rebuilt title
car has been refurbished, inspected, and is in drivable condition after being damaged so severely that its insurer deemed it a total loss.
The amount of damage needed to declare a total loss varies by state. Usually, a car is
declared totaled
if the cost to repair it is between 60% and 90% of the car’s total value before the accident.
Once a rebuilt title car is deemed safe to drive, it will definitely be cheaper to buy than a car with a clean title. But if you’re considering buying a rebuilt title car, always get a certified mechanic to inspect it first. An untrained eye might not be able to see or detect issues that a professional will catch.

What is a salvage title?

Before a car gets a rebuilt title, it has a salvage title—meaning that it’s been totaled and is no longer safe to drive. When a car is branded with a salvage title, the insurer physically takes it and the car cannot be driven (or insured).
If the car is repaired and then purchased, your state DMV must inspect it and deem it safe and legal to drive—this is when a salvage title car becomes a rebuilt title car.
Keep in mind, this kind of car will never have a clean title. Its accident history will follow it for as long as it's on the road.
Key Takeaway A salvage title car has been deemed a total loss by your insurance company, and it cannot be driven.

Types of car titles

A green title denotes a clean title, meaning that the car has no accident history.
A blue title is a salvage title, meaning it’s been damaged so significantly that the insurance company considers it a total loss.
An orange title is a rebuilt title, meaning a formerly salvage title car has been rebuilt, inspected, and deemed legally safe to drive.
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Can you insure a rebuilt title car with full coverage?

The hard truth is that you’re unlikely to find full coverage, including
collision insurance
comprehensive insurance
, for a rebuilt title car. It may not be impossible, but it’s difficult to find.
This is because insurers see rebuilt title cars as inherently risky bets. They see a rebuilt title car along with its accident history and assume, rightly or wrongly, that a claim will be coming their way in the not-too-distant future. This explains much of the hesitancy to insure.
You will be able to get
liability coverage
, but anything more will depend on finding an insurer to bet that your rebuilt title car will make it from point A to point B—repeatedly—without issue.
Key Takeaway You’ll be able to find liability insurance for your rebuilt title car, but finding full coverage can be far more difficult.

Is it more expensive to insure a rebuilt title car?

It is indeed more expensive to insure a rebuilt title car. Since insurers deem the car riskier to insure, you’ll likely pay higher premiums for whatever policy you end up with.
Another reason for higher premiums? There is less competition for insuring rebuilt title cars, as many insurers see them as too risky to cover. With fewer insurers vying for your business in such a case, there is less incentive for them to lower premiums.

Is a rebuilt title car bad for your insurance?

In a word, yes—your rebuilt title car is bad for your insurance. You’re likely to pay higher premiums because of the car’s accident history.
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Where to find insurance for rebuilt title cars

While it may be daunting to embark on a quest to insure your rebuilt title car, you might not need to look far—some big-name insurers, including Allstate, Progressive, and GEICO, have been known to insure these cars.
Still, your options may be limited in terms of the coverage offered. It could very well be liability insurance and nothing else. Each state has different rules, so you’ll want to check with your insurance company to ensure you’re getting what you need.
Some insurers add a surcharge when issuing a policy for rebuilt title cars, so also be aware of this.
If you find the costs of insuring your rebuilt title car are higher than what you paid for the car, it might be time to think long and hard about getting rid of it.
Key Takeaway Don’t be surprised if some insurers charge an extra fee for insuring a rebuilt title car.

What you need to insure your rebuilt title car

Before an insurer takes the plunge and insures your rebuilt ride, they’ll need a few things from you, including a certified mechanic statement, photos of the rebuilt car, and an original repair estimate.

Certified mechanic statement

You’ll need a certified statement from a reputable mechanic—no, not your cousin Eddie who "knows some stuff about cars"—for an insurer to be satisfied that the car is in good working order.


Your insurer will also want photos of the rebuilt car. These images will act as "before" photos, in case your rebuilt title car is involved in another accident and you file a claim.

Original repair estimate

A repair estimate should detail any and all damage to the car that caused it to be taken off the road. Your insurer will also want an accounting of all repairs made, and proof that the damage has been repaired appropriately.

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Can you insure a car with a rebuilt title?

Yes you can insure a car with a rebuilt title, but you may have a hard time finding an insurer that will offer comprehensive and collision coverage.
Some insurance companies won’t provide coverage for rebuilt titles at all.

Is it more expensive to insure a rebuilt title car?

It likely will be more expensive to insure a rebuilt title car. That’s because insurers expect drivers of rebuilt title cars to file more frequent claims.

Is it hard to insure a rebuilt title car?

You should be able to find liability insurance for a rebuilt title car, but full coverage will be difficult to find. As mentioned above, they’re riskier to insure.
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