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Old 10-09-2015, 10:49 AM   #1
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What's the deal w/ Salvage or Rebuilt Title

Looking for a toad. High on the list is a used Honda Fit automatic. We live in Wisconsin, but will be traveling to San Diego sometime this winter. Looks like a LOT more choices either in Arizona or CA than here. A lot of the Fits have a salvage or rebuilt title. Will this make insurance harder to get or more expensive? Other issues with a salvage or rebuilt title? TIA
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:06 AM   #2
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If I had to guess what's going on, I would say your looking at some flood or hail damaged vehicles that have been cleaned up and salvaged by a insurance company. I wouldn't touch one on a bet. They will be nothing but problems if flood damaged. If the cars were hail damaged then that's a different story, they are repairable. Insurance company's don't like to insure salvage vehicles, some will some won't. Best advice is to get a CarFax report on the one that your interested in and see what it says about the title if anything. Also ask for a full written disclosure of the nature of repairs that led to the salvage title. I doubt you will get one.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:09 AM   #3
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Salvage = an insurance company said it was a total loss.
Rebuilt = An insurance company said it was a total loss and someone repaired it, put it back on the road. May be subject to inspection during this process in some states.

Other issues can be an incomplete repair. Or a problematic repair, like water intrusion, it's hard to get that stuff sorted out.

Often the title status will render the vehicle uninsurable. Call your insurance company to see what their policy is.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:34 AM   #4
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Laws on salvage title vary by state. Google Salvage title for more info. Looked at Wisconsin laws for you. Buying a salvage vehicle in one state and then getting a title in another state appear difficult. For instance, you buy a car with a salvage title that the owner assures you is good to drive, but no state registration. You need bills of sale for most components replaced, need safety inspections, probably smog, etc. Wisconsin has a salvage title called flood salvage as well as other "brands". Other states don't, so all you know is salvage.
Just FYI, I have heard there used to be a big market in Alabama with flood damaged cars from Florida. Retitled as re-built in Alabama, taken to Texas and then just retitled as a normal car. Two-three years along, electronics would die, wiring corroded, switches didn't work and the car was junk. I knew one owner of a salvage titled car which had a nasty wind whistle and leaked badly in a rainstorm. Tweaked window frame. Buyer beware.
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Old 10-09-2015, 01:13 PM   #5
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I've owned several salvage titles over the years. If you know what your buying, you can get some very, very good deals.

Do a car fax, find out why the original salvage claim (flood, totaled, etc) Many good re builders will have photos and be happy to provide before/after. Water / flood damage is unique and destroys everything over time. You just can't stop that corrosion from all the little nooks and crannies. Be wary of floods vs totals

Resale value is non-existent. Plan on keeping the car forever.

Depending on state:

You will need a special Lights, brakes, VIN inspection from a dealer or Highway Patrol station. Basically they look at general road safety stuff.

Your insurance will cover it for liability, but may not for collision / replacement.

NOTE - The 2001 Civic I'm using for a TOAD was bought by my daughter as a Salvage title in 2002. Its been a good car.
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Old 10-12-2015, 09:25 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone! All makes sense now. Unless I can really check it out, I think I'll be passing on these . . .
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