What’s the Difference Between a Salvage Title and Rebuilt Title?

Damaged/Wrecked Cars

A car or truck with a salvage title means that it has previously been in an accident, has had flood damage or it was possibly even a theft recovery and was 'totaled' by the insurance company. This simply means it was cheaper for the insurance company to consider it a total loss than to repair it. It doesn't necessarily mean the vehicle is not repairable, it's just more cost effective for the insurance company to total it. After the vehicle is considered totaled it will be issued a salvage title in place of its clean title.

If you're planning on buying a car with a salvage title it would be wise to do your research and find out why it received a salvage title in the first place. If it's a theft recovery or was in an accident it could be a good deal. If it's had water damage or been in a flood it may not be worth it unless you're just going to salvage some of the parts to rebuild another vehicle. Usually flood damaged vehicles will end up with rust and electrical problems that are difficult if not impossible to repair.

The laws vary from state to state regarding rebuilding cars with salvage titles but for the most part if you decide to rebuild it yourself make sure you keep all receipts for all parts used as you will need them to pass any final inspections and to prove there were no stolen parts used.

In Arizona a vehicle that's been rebuilt from a salvage title will have a "restored title".  In Colorado the title will say "rebuilt from salvage".  In California a rebuilt salvage title will receive a "revived title" and in Alabama & Connecticut a rebuilt vehicle will have a "rebuilt title".  These are just examples of how the titles vary in wording from state to state. Check with your local DMV to find learn more about the laws in your state regarding salvage or rebuilt titles.

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