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Cars with rebuilt title #5282887 12/02/19 12:24 PM
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SlavaB Offline OP
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I wanted to understand this matter for a while now.
My understanding is that an insurance company will only write a car off if the repair bill is more than what the car costs.
I've been to multiple accidents myself, as an example once some lady reared my leased Prius and the repair was like $5k and the car remained with clean title.
Yet I'm seeing more and more cars being sold with a rebuilt title and their owners claim smth like "no structural damage, only the rear door had to be replaced, but the insurance company issued a rebuilt title". I think it's a total BS, yet I decided to ask one seller how it's possible his car got a rebuilt title with only the rear door replaced. It was for 2011 Camry and he sent me the before pictures which I include here.
He claims that the prev owner accepted a "cash offer" from the insurance company and the car is a write off, and he bought it and just fixed the door and the fender.
Even tho I'm not buying it, I'm really curious if this is possible to issue a rebuilt title because of that or there's some hidden damage no one talks about

78062670_2648992901834706_8574495292672442368_n.jpg78229798_791273024665188_7452032824250466304_n.jpg78754957_1994499360696936_2971631367512653824_n.jpg
Last edited by wwillson; 12/02/19 02:25 PM. Reason: subject clarification

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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5282898 12/02/19 12:43 PM
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It's getting more and more common for cars to be written off after what would've been considered more "minor" accidents in years prior. Cars are safer, but at the cost of material that's designed to fail more extravagantly to keep the passengers safe. By the time the body work and paint and anything else that was damaged in the collision, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see that Camry get totaled by the insurance company and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the owner keep it and fix it on the cheap.

Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5282899 12/02/19 12:43 PM
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Lolvoguy Online Shocked
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Considering the car in question has a unibody design and the rear fender (being part of the frame) was damaged, then yes, it's structural damage.
I'd also be willing to bet the rear wheel/suspension assembly also suffered damage (which would lead to premature/odd tire wear on that corner).


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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5282901 12/02/19 12:48 PM
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body work is really expensive these days. had the hood replaced on my 330i a few years ago and just a part and paint was $2500. no structural damage at all. the older cars with rebuilt titles i would be less leary of.

Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5282924 12/02/19 01:10 PM
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[align:center][/align]last year my beloved 08 colorado LS aka cheapie, no power anything even the anemic 4 cyl, but 4wd. it had under 50 thou + except for the mishap on the ice where the trees "bit" the truck it was perfect + i got a bit over 10G.s for it prolly more than resale. i could buy the truck after at around 7G's with a scrap title that requires said repairs + inspected at a special state certified garage before getting a reconstructed title. so i get the truck + about 3 thou. not being a pro body guy i could not repair it for the difference. numbers vary buy DIY is needed to make it worth while, so depending on the cars value determined by insurance if necessary repairs exceed the ins co calls it a TOTAL LOSS. research + you can get the full procedure that may vary by state. resale is surely less but if you can DIY + want said vehicle for yourself it may be worthwhile.

Last edited by benjy; 12/02/19 01:13 PM.
Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5282926 12/02/19 01:12 PM
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Leo99 Offline
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Originally Posted by SlavaB

My understanding is that an insurance company will only write a car off if the repair bill is more than what the car costs.



I was told that the write off as "totaled" occurs when the repair bill compared to the car value exceeds a certain percentage. Probably around 70 to 80%. In other words, the insurance company isn't paying $8000 to repair a $10,000 car. There could be hidden damage, follow up costs, rental car costs... They'd rather just write a check and close the claim.

Issue is how to register/insure the car with a rebuilt title after you buy it. I did a little research into this and every state seems different. Some require an inspection to register and if fails, you're stuck.


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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5282937 12/02/19 01:19 PM
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A 2011 Camry is not worth very much. And bodywork is EXPENSIVE.

Insurance companies typically use a percentage of market value as the cut-off point to repair, or not to. 75 - 80 % is common. They do this because the initial estimate for repairs is almost always low. Once the car starts getting dis-assembled, more damage is frequently found, leading to a higher repair cost.

For the Camry pictured, it is 9 years old, with a market value of, say, $ 5000. The damage to the rear quarter panel ( VERY expensive), rear bumper cover and door (expensive) alone likely exceeds $ 4000. So the insurance company writes off the car.

In Canada, when the insurance company writes off the car, a document is sent to the DMV, where the vehicle title is now labelled a total loss. If there is severe damage, or anything deemed a possible safety issue, the car also gets a NOT REPAIRABLE tag.

With older cars, the likelihood of being written off is high, because the car value is low, and repair costs are very high. If the car is written off, the owner can usually buy the car back from the insurance company for what is called the salvage value. The insurance company will see what similar damaged cars have sold for at auction, and sell it back to the owner for that. An average 9 year old car might typically sell at auction for $ 200 - 500. So the owner may choose to buy it back, and try and fix it himself, or part it out. If you do the work yourself, and buy used parts, and maybe skip paint, you can often bring the car back to drivable without too much expense.

There is a catch, and that catch is that the car must be inspected for roadworthiness ( not appearance ... ). If the car has any mechanical issues, like say a leaking steering rack etc., those issues must also be fixed, even if they existed before the collision. But for some people, it can still be worth it. If you receive $ 5000 for the car, and buy it back for $ 500, you have $ 4500 to use for parts / repairs before you are actually losing money.

If the owner chooses to buy the car, and repairs it, and it passes the roadworthiness inspection, then the vehicle can now be registered as a rebuilt title car.

However, some people learn a tough lesson when their older car is involved in a minor accident. The insurance company is obligated by law to report a vehicle that is deemed a total loss to the DMV. Some people end up losing their still very drivable older car, because they can't ( or it's not worth it to ) fix everything required for the roadworthiness inspection. So an older car with only minor cosmetic damage ends up getting taken off the road. Drivers who know this will often not go through insurance, to avoid the car getting labelled a write off.


Last edited by geeman789; 12/02/19 01:24 PM.

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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5282945 12/02/19 01:26 PM
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Donald Offline
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Much of this is state specific. And there are others who know this game better than you or I. Moving titles across state lines can sometimes "wash" the title. There must be a lot of flooded cars these days where the insurance company pays.


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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5283012 12/02/19 02:32 PM
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SlavaB Offline OP
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Lot's of useful information, thx folks!
@Donald yeah I've heard of title wash as well, I guess only the carfax can help (but probably not always)


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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5283037 12/02/19 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SlavaB
Even tho I'm not buying it, I'm really curious if this is possible to issue a rebuilt title because of that or there's some hidden damage no one talks about


Get a PPI before buying and don't worry about the rebuilt title. You're buying a car, not a piece of paper.

Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: Leo99] #5283066 12/02/19 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo99


Issue is how to register/insure the car with a rebuilt title after you buy it. I did a little research into this and every state seems different. Some require an inspection to register and if fails, you're stuck.



An acquaintance bought a rebuilt status car that looked like an awesome deal. He then discovered it had a non-disclosed NOT REPAIRABLE note on the title ( no exceptions, EVER. ). He could not register it, and the seller was long gone ... he ended up parting out the car, after contemplating a very illegal VIN swap ! He lost very little $ after everything was sold, but what a headache.


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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: SlavaB] #5283073 12/02/19 03:19 PM
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eljefino Offline
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So some flipper got his hands on that camry, put minimum effort into rebuilding it, and wants top dollar from you.

I guess you know "the story". Every car has one, the devil you know is better than the one you don't...

Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: atikovi] #5283103 12/02/19 03:47 PM
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Fawteen Offline
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Personally I wouldn't have a vehicle with a rebuilt title-ever. Especially given the potential insurance issues-some insurers won't cover a rebuilt titled vehicle, some substantially reduce the amount of coverage, etc. And if you do find an insurer, if you decide to change insurance companies in the future you may well be out of luck.


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Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: geeman789] #5283104 12/02/19 03:47 PM
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atikovi Offline
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Originally Posted by geeman789
Originally Posted by Leo99


Issue is how to register/insure the car with a rebuilt title after you buy it. I did a little research into this and every state seems different. Some require an inspection to register and if fails, you're stuck.



An acquaintance bought a rebuilt status car that looked like an awesome deal. He then discovered it had a non-disclosed NOT REPAIRABLE note on the title ( no exceptions, EVER. ). He could not register it, and the seller was long gone


That's impossible or you remember it wrong. If the title was branded NOT REPAIRABLE, it wouldn't have rebuilt status. More likely it was still on a salvage title. In that case he should have asked more questions or looked at the title before buying. He got schooled. And there are still a few states that will let you title and register a car with a non repairable title like that, you just have to know which ones.

Re: Cars with rebuilt title [Re: Fawteen] #5283112 12/02/19 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Fawteen
Personally I wouldn't have a vehicle with a rebuilt title-ever. Especially given the potential insurance issues-some insurers won't cover a rebuilt titled vehicle, some substantially reduce the amount of coverage, etc. And if you do find an insurer, if you decide to change insurance companies in the future you may well be out of luck.


Insurance companies don't care about the title history it you only get liability. But if you can't afford the loss of the car and need comp and collision, I understand why you wouldn't have such a vehicle. Otherwise, it lets you enjoy a late model car for often half as much money as a clean title one costs.

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