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 finding rebuilt title insurance may not be so simple. You can find the best insurance for rebuilt titles with a bit of searching, although not every company will take the risk. Unfortunately, your insurance will likely cost more, and you’ll receive a smaller payout if you need to make a claim.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Jan 4, 2022

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Quick Facts

  • Rebuilt titles are issued to cars that had a salvage title but were repaired, so they are street safe
  • Not every insurance company will insure a rebuilt title and the ones that will often only provide liability-only insurance
  • Insurance for rebuilt title cars usually costs up to 20% more than insurance for vehicles with a clean title

Cars that have been damaged to the point that it would cost more to repair than to simply replace it are declared a total loss. When a vehicle is a total loss, it’s issued a salvage title.

While there are a lot of advantages to buying a car with a salvage title, you won’t be able to drive it or put insurance on it legally. Before it can return to the streets, the car needs to be repaired and issued a rebuilt title.

Cars with rebuilt titles are cheaper, but auto insurance can be pricy. Some companies won’t put a policy on 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 see what quotes might look like for you.

What is a rebuilt title?

Cars can be declared a total loss for several reasons. The most obvious is that it was involved in an accident and suffered damage. However, cars can also be totaled after weather damage, vandalism, and theft.

Insurance companies declare a car totaled after it reaches a specific damage threshold. While every company is different, most companies declare a car totaled when damage reaches between 75 and 90 percent of the car’s total value.

Usually, an insurance company will sell a totaled car to recoup some of its losses. Alternatively, you can keep your salvage car to fix on your own time.

If a salvaged car is fixed, it might be eligible for a rebuilt title. State laws are different, but a salvaged car can be issued a rebuilt title after passing an examination. If the state finds the vehicle is safe for the streets, it’ll be legal to drive again.

Salvage and rebuilt titles are often used interchangeably, even though they mean different things. An easy way to tell what you have is by the color of the paper:

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

However, don’t worry if you’re confused. An insurance agent can help you decipher your title and what coverage you need.

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Can you get insurance for a rebuilt title?

Cars with rebuilt titles are legal to drive. Since all vehicles on the street need insurance, most insurance companies will insure a car with a rebuilt title. However, not every provider will take on rebuilt cars.

For the most part, insurance companies will sell you only liability coverage, which meets the requirements in most states.

You can save money by buying a car with a rebuilt title, but the insurance will cost you more. Monthly rates will be higher because insurance providers consider rebuilt cars a risk. Additionally, you’ll receive a small payout if you need to make a claim.

Can you get full coverage on a rebuilt title?

Getting full coverage on a rebuilt title is more complex than a liability-only policy, but it is possible.

The reason it’s difficult to find full coverage for a rebuilt title is that it’s hard to determine the value of the car. If you ever need to make a claim, your provider will find it difficult to tell what damage was already there before the accident.

Even if the car has been examined by a mechanic and certified street-safe, there could be undiscovered damage on your vehicle that will eventually show up. Undiscovered damage in your car could cause problems later and can be dangerous.

Because of this danger, it isn’t easy to find a company that offers full coverage. Insurance companies assume that a rebuilt car is at a higher risk of a claim.

Secondly, a rebuilt car is worth between 20% and 40% less than the same car with a clean title. With the difficulty of determining the value of a rebuilt car, insurance companies are less willing to make large payouts.

What is the best insurance for rebuilt titles?

Even though rebuilt cars are legal to drive, not every company will insure a rebuilt car. If you have insurance for another vehicle (or you’ve had your car repaired after being totaled), you can ask your agent if they can insure your vehicle.

If you don’t have insurance, the following companies are a great place to start:

  • State Farm
  • Allstate
  • GEICO (although you’ll need additional inspections before approval)
  • Farmers
  • Progressive (you can get full coverage on specific vehicle models)

Most companies have specific requirements that you’ll have to meet before they sell you coverage for your rebuilt car. You’ll probably face limitations on your policy as well. This is why it’s vital to compare insurance quotes so you get the best deal.

How do you get insurance for rebuilt titles?

It might sound confusing to get insurance on a rebuilt vehicle, but the process isn’t as complicated as you might think. It takes more work than with a clean title car, but it will be worth it when you can drive your vehicle.

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

  • Make sure you have the correct title. Since you can’t drive a car with a salvage title, you can’t get insurance on one. Before you begin the process of getting insurance, make sure you have a rebuilt title.
  • Get a certified mechanic’s statement. A certified mechanic’s statement says a mechanic has combed over a vehicle, and they guarantee the car is safe to drive. Having this statement reassures your insurance company that your car is worth insuring.
  • 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, it’s vital that you compare as many companies as possible.

While these steps might sound difficult, you don’t have to do them alone. You can get quotes through our online tool. From there you can narrow down your choices.

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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 cheap as insurance for cars with clean titles, you shouldn’t let that get in the way of 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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