How Much Does a Rebuilt Title Devalue a Car?

A rebuilt title devalues a car by 20% to 50%, depending on the model, its age, the extent of its previous damages, and the location. Learn more here.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
background
A
rebuilt title
tends to devalue a car by 20% to 50% depending on the type of vehicle, its age, the extent of the damage it originally sustained, and your location.
If you’re dealing with a car that’s been restored after being declared a total loss, then it’s most certainly been branded with a rebuilt title. On the one hand, this means the car is definitely good to drive again, but on the other, the car now carries a much lower value given the damages in its vehicle history report.
However, no rebuilt title car is alike—a rebuilt title will affect the resale value of used cars differently depending on several factors. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know, from what a rebuilt title is to how it affects the value of a car to what it takes to secure rebuilt title
car insurance
.

What is a rebuilt title?

A rebuilt title is a type of car title that is given to a car that was once deemed a total loss by an insurance company but has since been restored and is safe to drive.
Rebuilt title cars are not the same as salvage title cars. After major car accident damage, a salvage title is given to a totaled car. Typically, this type of vehicle is headed to a junkyard. But if the owner decides to repair the salvage title vehicle instead, they can
get the salvage title removed
. The car is then considered a rebuilt title vehicle.
This isn’t as easy as towing the car home and doing repairs on your own, though. To be issued a rebuilt salvage title, the car typically needs to be repaired by a certified mechanic and pass a state inspection at your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The expenses can add up, so it’s important to make sure the repair costs are worth the future value of the car.

How much does a rebuilt title devalue a car?

The value of a rebuilt title car is typically 20% to 50% less than the market value of a clean title car. The value of a rebuilt title car depends greatly on the type of car, its age, and the extent of its original damages.
A rebuilt title affects the value of a car because there’s no guarantee that all damage was repaired or that the car isn’t more susceptible to worse damage in the future.
Unfortunately, this applies to the
retail value of your car
if you ever try to sell it, its trade-in value at a dealership, and even its
actual cash value in the eyes of your insurer
. This can also make it harder for a rebuilt car to get approved for auto insurance or a
car loan
, both of which drive down its value even more.
MORE:
What does it mean to have a clean title?
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How to sell a car with a rebuilt title

Selling a car
is hard enough as it is—let alone when that car has sustained previous damage! Before you even think about rebuilding and selling a car with a salvage title, you’ll want to estimate the value of the vehicle with a reputable source like
Kelley Blue Book
(KBB).
KBB will give you fair market ranges based on your location, the model, and the condition of your vehicle. This will make it much easier to determine if selling your rebuilt title car will turn a profit. It will also help you set a fair price for potential buyers, keeping in mind that you’ll probably have to aim low for your rebuilt car to stand a chance on the used car market.

Is a rebuilt title car worth buying?

There are three things you’ll need to consider to determine whether a used vehicle with a rebuilt title is worth purchasing:
  • The vehicle history report
  • Your financing plan
  • Car insurance
Always check the history of a rebuilt title car to understand the damages and repairs it's undergone. You can find this information in its
CARFAX report
if the current owner doesn’t offer it up for you. This will help you determine whether the car has a fair price and how much risk it may still carry from past damages.
You’ll also want to research your options for car loans and car insurance before buying a rebuilt title vehicle. Most lenders and insurance providers are hesitant to approve rebuilt cars, so you may have some difficulty finding all the resources you need to buy and drive the car.
And even if you find an insurance company willing to insure your car, there’s a good chance they’ll only cover a rebuilt title vehicle with a
liability insurance policy
. This means you’ll be on the hook for repairing future damage to your car out of pocket if you are at fault for an accident.  
MORE: Buying a car without a title—what you need to know
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FAQ

A rebuilt title typically devalues a car by 20% to 50% depending on the model, its age, the extent of its previous damages, and your location.
A salvage title is given to a car that has been deemed a total loss. These vehicles are no longer legal to drive. The salvage title can only be removed if the car is repaired by a certified mechanic and approved by a local inspection. At that point, the repaired car will be given a rebuilt title that makes the car legal to drive again while noting its history of damages and repairs.
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