Car Is Totaled
Has your car sustained major damage, but you are hoping to repair it and get it on the road again? To do so, you’ll need to get a rebuilt title so that you can register the car and get a tag at your local DMV. But maybe you are wondering how you can do that once the car has been totaled. It can be quite an involved process, but you can come out the other side with a rebuilt title for your vehicle. Follow the steps outlined in this article to get it done.

What Is a Rebuilt Title?

First, let’s discuss exactly what a rebuilt title is. Your car’s title is issued by your state’s DMV as proof of ownership of the vehicle. It shows specific information about your car such as the year, make, model, and VIN. It will also list the owner’s name and address and any lien holders if you have a loan on the car. If your vehicle was purchased new or it has never suffered any major damage, then it has what is called a “clean” title.

Some cars may have sustained major damage, but have been repaired and are back on the road again. Once the car suffers this type of damage, then it is issued a salvage title. This tells potential buyers that the car has damage and is not driveable. A vehicle is usually considered totaled when the repairs would equal 50% or more of the car’s value. When the car is repaired and can be driven again, then a rebuilt title is issued showing that the car has been fixed and is once again on the road.

How Do I Get a Rebuilt Title?

The laws for obtaining a reconstructed title vary from state to state, but the general process is much the same. First, if you have full coverage insurance on the vehicle, then your insurance company will own the car after it is totaled. They will pay you the value of the car, and then they will take ownership of the vehicle. In some cases, you may be allowed to buy the car back from them at a salvage price if they are willing to sell it. If you don’t have full coverage insurance and want to get the car back on the road with a rebuilt title, then keep reading.

You should first know that in most states you cannot go directly from a clean title to a rebuilt title. When your car is totaled, it is issued a salvage title. This means that it cannot be registered or driven during this time. Now is the time you will want to start the repair process. When performing the repairs on the car, make sure they are done properly because your car will be inspected before the rebuilt title is issued. You should have a qualified mechanic or body shop perform the work. In some states, only licensed rebuilders can purchase salvage cars for the purpose of fixing them. If you are not a licensed rebuilder, then you cannot apply for a rebuilt title for the vehicle.

Once the repairs have been completed, then there is typically quite a bit of paperwork involved. This is when an application for an inspection needs to be completed. As part of the application, the rebuilder will generally need to have photos of the vehicle in its wrecked state before the repairs are performed. Receipts for new parts should be included as well as the original salvage title from the vehicle. Several state-specific forms will need to be completed, and then everything submitted to the state DMV to schedule the inspection. Note that the car must be towed to the inspection site, as it is not yet legal to drive it on the highway.

At the inspection, the inspector will go through the vehicle and check that all repairs have been completed satisfactorily. They want to make sure that the car is safe to drive on the road, not only for the driver but also for the other vehicles on the road around it. If everything has been repaired properly, then the vehicle will pass inspection and a rebuilt title will be issued. Once the rebuilt title is issued, then the car can be sold to anyone for driving on the road again.

Things to Watch Out For

Be aware that if your car is issued a rebuilt title, you might not be able to obtain insurance on it because the insurance company cannot verify that it is in safe operating condition. Also know that the resale value is typically much lower than the same vehicle with a clean title. Lastly, the car could have mechanical or other issues that cannot be repaired to their original condition, so you might have to deal with problems with the car for years to come. But, if you are set on getting a rebuilt title for your totaled car, then there are steps you can take to get there. Always check the laws in your state before you get started to make sure you are in full compliance with their rules.