How to Get a Rebuilt Title in Kentucky

You can get a rebuilt title in Kentucky by submitting the application, required documents, and applicable fees to the Kentucky DVR.
Written by Sarah Gray
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
To get a rebuilt title in Kentucky, you’ll need to submit an application and affidavit, the original salvaged title, original receipts for all parts, a notarized labor statement, the car’s license plate, and payment for applicable fees to your county clerk’s office. Depending on your situation, further documentation may also be required.
Just because the insurance company writes a car off as a total loss doesn’t mean it has to be scrapped. For those with the know-how, cash, or sheer tenacity required to repair a totaled vehicle, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Department of Vehicle Regulation (DVR) provides options for getting a rebuilt title.
But getting a rebuilt title in any state can be tricky, and it usually requires a good deal of work and money for repairs. To help make things easier, here’s a rundown of everything you need to know to get a rebuilt title in the Bluegrass State. 
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What is a rebuilt title?

what is a rebuilt title
, anyway? Rebuilt titles are issued for vehicles that were previously deemed a total loss but have been repaired and are considered roadworthy once again.
In Kentucky, a vehicle is deemed a total loss if it’s been damaged to the point that repairs would cost more than 75% of the current fair market value of the vehicle. 

Salvage title vs rebuilt title

Put simply, a salvage title allows you to keep a totaled car in your possession rather than signing it over to the insurance company or junking it. With a salvaged title, you can use the vehicle for parts, or you can even repair it. 
If you choose to repair the vehicle, a salvage title will also allow you to use the vehicle on private property (like on a farm). It will not, however, let you register the vehicle for use on Kentucky roads—you need a rebuilt title for that. So, let’s find out how to get you one.
Key Takeaway If you want to legally drive a totaled vehicle again, you have to repair it and get a rebuilt title.

How to get a rebuilt title in Kentucky

Getting your Kentucky rebuilt title is going to take a lot of paperwork, a solid chunk of change, and quite a bit of time. Let’s start with getting what you need to start working on repairs.
MORE: How does the insurance company determine the value of a totaled car?

Apply for the salvage title

To rebuild your title, you have to rebuild your vehicle—and to do that, you need a salvage title. This process must be started within 15 days of your vehicle being declared a total loss.
To apply for a Kentucky salvage title, start by gathering:
Take the above documents and payments to your
local county clerk’s office
Remember when we mentioned this process takes time? Unlike standard titles, Kentucky doesn’t allow customers to use the speed title application process for salvage or rebuilt titles. That means it can take several days, or even up to a few weeks for your salvage title to arrive from the Division of Motor Vehicles in Frankfort.
Once you receive your salvage title, you can begin the process of repairing and retitling your vehicle. Remember, driving your salvage car on public roads is illegal—unless you’re headed to your post-repair inspection.
MORE: How to insure a car with a salvage title

Make the necessary repairs to your vehicle

As you and/or your mechanic perform the necessary repairs to get your vehicle up and running again, be sure you save all bills of sale, invoices, and receipts for replacement parts. 
  • If the parts were purchased from an individual, ensure you include the seller’s name, address, and telephone number on the sales document
  • If any parts come from another vehicle, ensure that the vehicle's vehicle identification number (VIN) is included on the sales document. If no VIN is available, you’ll need to provide a notarized statement from the vehicle owner explaining why.
You’ll also need a notarized labor statement from the person repairing your vehicle, detailing which parts were repaired and which were replaced.

Apply for Kentucky rebuilt title

Once you’ve got your rebuilt car, it’s time for an inspection. To schedule your post-rebuild inspection,
call your local county clerk’s office
for a list of your nearest certified inspectors. At the inspection, ensure you have your
Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration
(Form TC 96-182), as the inspector will fill out the “Certified Inspector Section.”
With your inspection complete, and the Certified Inspector Section of your application filled out, it’s time to head back to your local county clerk’s office. Be sure to gather the following before you make the trip. 
A complete and notarized:
You’ll also need: 
  • The original salvage title
  • Original receipts for all parts purchased to repair/rebuild the vehicle
  • The car’s license plate
  • A lien termination statement, if applicable
  • A letter from your insurance company (on company letterhead) explaining all damage, if damage did not exceed 75% of retail value
  • The original auction receipt if the vehicle was bought at auction
  • Payment for applicable fees—like the fees for a salvage title, fees for rebuilt titles will vary by county and vehicle type, so check with your county clerk for specifics
The county clerk will collect all your documents and fees for payment and forward them to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. If they approve your application, you’ll receive your Kentucky rebuilt title and registration in the mail.

Should you buy a car with a rebuilt title?

Buying a car with a rebuilt title can be a bit of a crap shoot. Sure, you’ll likely get a much better price than if you bought the vehicle new or even used, but we’ve all heard the old saying—you get what you pay for. With a rebuilt title car, you’re getting a vehicle that works great now, but it could have any number of hidden issues from the accident that could lead to costly repairs later on.
And then, you’ll have the issue of insurance. You may be up for a gamble, but your insurance provider, we can assure you, is not. That’s why it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to secure
full-coverage car insurance
on a rebuilt vehicle. You should still be able to get Kentucky’s state-mandated minimum
liability coverage
, but that will leave you unprotected if you’re at fault in an accident.
MORE: Should I buy a car with a rebuilt title? 
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Yes. Getting a rebuilt title can be a bit of a hassle, but once you have it, it means your car is safe and legal to drive.
No, if you
have a clean car title
, it means your vehicle has never been totaled.
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