Posted Thursday, September 1, 2022
If you find a perfect used car for a much lower price than expected, but it has a branded title – what does it mean? The brand is an official designation put on the title by a state agency. It indicates whether the used vehicle has been damaged or is potentially unsafe to drive.
Branded titles vary by state, but the most common are:
Each of these marks indicates the technical condition of the car, its suitability for further operation, and the possibility of using it on the roads of the US or selling it abroad. In all cases, a branded title, except the Original, suppose that the car has defects, extensive damage, or issues with the odometer. Such a vehicle can still be a beneficial bargain, but such a purchase requires more attention and paperwork.
If a car has a clear title, it means it was not stolen, did not get into an accident, and has no insurance history. This branded certificate allows you to confidently move around the states and be sure that the vehicle does not have serious problems behind the back.
The title is branded as salvage when the vehicle is damaged, and the cost of repairs is significant. One of the ways a car can get a salvage title is if the insurance company declares it a total loss. If such a vehicle is reassembled, the title “Salvage” may be changed to “Reconstructed”. As a rule, such changes require verification.
Problems often arise when such vehicles are sold in other states. Because title brand definitions vary, and sometimes the brand is not transferred, the title becomes “clear” again.
Dishonest car sellers try to take advantage of different title brand interpretations. They buy used vehicles in one state and sell them in another with different laws, where the titles lose branding. Such deals are known as title washing.
To protect yourself from hidden brands, always use one of the VIN checking tools, such as:
Even if the vehicle is moved to Indiana with a brand that is not recognized, the vehicle history will still reflect all previously registered marks.
A rebuilt title certifies that an insurance company declared a car totaled, but it has been repaired and is safe to drive. If you want to apply for a rebuilt title in Indiana, you need to have a salvage title certificate.
If a car is declared a total loss after an accident, insurance companies usually auction it to recoup a part of its cost. Some repair shops buy such vehicles to fix and then sell them.
After repair, the vehicle must pass a safety inspection to be considered suitable for use. If passed, it will be labeled Reconstructed or Rebuilt. The title informs future owners that the car has been damaged and restored. It warns potential owners of possible violations of the vehicle’s structural or mechanical integrity.
Most states, including Indiana, have co-called lemon laws allowing consumers to return new defective vehicles. The law aims to identify defective vehicles that are unsafe to drive and set parameters regarding the defects that qualify a used car for return. If the owner returns the vehicle using the protection of the Lemon Law, the brand will be reflected in the title when it is sold in the future.
A branded title car can seem very attractive, and buying one may be tempting. But before investing your hard-earned cash, weigh the following advantages and drawbacks.
A branded title may mean considerable savings for those well-versed in cars and repairs. However, such a purchase is always a risk. If you are looking for an affordable but reliable used vehicle in Indianapolis, visit Indy Auto Man. When buying from us, you can always request a car history report for free and see all the data to make an informed decision. Come to our dealership to choose the vehicle that will serve you faithfully for years to come.