Can I get auto insurance for a rebuilt title?

A car with a rebuilt title has been fixed and made safe to drive after being declared a total loss by an insurance company. Rebuilt title cars are legal to drive, but you’ll need insurance before hitting the road. You can find rebuilt title insurance, but it will likely cost more.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 5, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Rebuilt titles are issued to cars with a salvage title that are repaired and inspected again for road safety
  • Insurance companies that insure vehicles with a rebuilt title typically only offer liability
  • Insurance for rebuilt title cars generally costs up to 20% more than insurance for automobiles with a clean title

When a car has been damaged to the point where it would cost an insurance company more to repair than to replace, it’s declared a total loss. Total loss vehicles have their original titles replaced with a salvage title.

Cars with salvage titles can’t legally be driven, and insurance companies won’t insure them. But there are advantages to buying a salvage car. For example, salvage cars are great resources for spare parts.

However, a salvage car will need to be repaired and inspected if you want to drive it. Salvage title cars that have passed a state inspection are issued rebuilt, or branded, titles and can be legally driven and insured.

Although rebuilt cars are more affordable to purchase, insurance prices will be more expensive. And some companies won’t offer you a policy at all.

Cars with rebuilt titles are cheaper, but auto insurance quotes can be pricey. Some companies won’t even insure a vehicle with a rebuilt title.

If you’ve purchased a car without a clean title, it is possible to buy rebuilt title insurance. It’s vital that you shop around to save money. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool to discover what quotes might look like for you.

What is a rebuilt title?

There are several reasons why a car can be declared a total loss. The first that comes to mind is usually damage caused by an accident. However, weather damage, vandalism, animal contact, theft, and many other situations can lead to a totaled car.

Simply because a car has been declared a total loss doesn’t mean that it’s completely destroyed. Insurance companies deem a car totaled once it has reached a specific threshold for damage. When the price to repair damage reaches between 75% and 90% of the car’s total value, the company will declare it totaled.

If your car is declared totaled, your insurance company will compensate you for your vehicle. Then, they usually sell the totaled car to recoup some of their loss. You can also keep your car and attempt to fix it on your own time, but you would need to speak with your agent for details.

Once a salvage car is repaired, it might be eligible for a rebuilt title — also known as a reconstructed title. State laws differ on how you can upgrade a car’s title to street-legal. Typically, the car needs to pass an examination.

So, what does a rebuilt title mean exactly? It simply means that a car was once totaled, declared salvage, and has since been repaired. Salvage and rebuilt titles are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same.

An easy way to keep track of the type of title you have is by looking at the color of your document:

  • Green titles are clean
  • Blue titles are salvage
  • Orange titles are rebuilt

Don’t worry if you’re confused by the title that you possess. An insurance agent is familiar with rebuilt titles and can help you find the appropriate coverage.

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Can you get insurance for a rebuilt title?

A car with a rebuilt title is legal to drive, so most insurance companies will work with you. However, some companies refuse to insure a rebuilt title car, so ensure that you check with an agent.

The most common policies assigned to rebuilt cars are liability plans. Most states have minimum coverage requirements, which is what insurance companies offer for rebuilt vehicles.

Buying a rebuilt car can initially save you a lot of money, but you’ll be paying more for insurance. Insurance companies charge more for coverage because they consider rebuilt cars a higher risk.

Additionally, if you have to make a claim, you’ll likely receive a small payout since your car will be of lesser value.

Can you get full coverage on a rebuilt title?

While acquiring liability coverage for a rebuilt car is relatively simple, finding full coverage is considerably more complex. Simply put, most insurance companies either won’t give you full coverage, or they’ll charge you an outrageous price for it.

Full coverage is improbable because it’s challenging to determine the exact value of your car. If you need to make a claim, proving that damage was caused by an accident and wasn’t already there is very challenging.

Another reason why it’s difficult to obtain full coverage is because there could be undiscovered damage on your vehicle that will eventually emerge. Undetected damage to your car might cause future issues and can be quite hazardous.

Due to this risk, it isn’t easy to find a company that offers full coverage. Insurance companies assume that someone with a rebuilt car is more likely to file a claim. With the difficulty of determining the value of a rebuilt car, insurance companies are less willing to provide large payouts.

What is the best insurance for rebuilt titles?

Even though they are legal to drive, it can be slightly challenging to find a rebuilt title insurance company — particularly one that offers full coverage. If you have an existing insurance policy for another vehicle, you can request that your agent cover your rebuilt car.

If you don’t have insurance, the following companies offer rebuilt title coverage:

  • Allstate
  • GEICO (GEICO requires additional inspections before it will insure you)
  • MetLife
  • Progressive (Progressive offers full coverage in some cases)
  • State Farm
  • Farmers

These companies have different requirements that they’ll need to see fulfilled before offering you coverage. You’ll likely have limitations on your policy as well. This is why comparing quotes is vitally important when you have a rebuilt car.

How do you get insurance for rebuilt titles?

Getting insurance on a rebuilt vehicle might sound confusing, but it’s not as complicated as you might think. While it certainly takes more effort than a car with a clean title, the process is worthwhile when you can drive your vehicle.

Take the following steps to secure insurance for your rebuilt car:

  • Ensure that you have the correct title – You can’t drive a car with a salvage title, so you need to confirm that you have the right title before attempting to obtain insurance.
  • Get a certified mechanic’s statement – This statement certifies that a mechanic has thoroughly examined the vehicle for damage and found nothing of concern. This statement will give an insurance company more confidence in providing you coverage.
  • Shop for coverage – As stated, not every company will insure a salvage car. It can also be challenging to find coverage beyond liability-only.
  • Compare quotes – Rebuilt title insurance costs up to 20% more than insurance for a clean car. If you want to save money, you must research as many companies as possible.

It might sound difficult to endure all these steps, but you don’t have to do it alone. Obtaining quotes online is simple, and once you know which company you want to purchase from, an agent will help you with the details.

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Find the Best Insurance for Rebuilt Titles

Cars with rebuilt titles can be a great value, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t buy one. While rebuilt title insurance quotes aren’t as affordable as insurance for cars with clean titles, you shouldn’t let that prevent you from owning a car.

You can find the most affordable rebuilt title insurance rates by shopping around. If you’re ready to see what quotes might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool today.

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