What is a Branded Title?

Posted: Friday, April 12th, 2019

During your search for a reliable used car, you may come across a vehicle with a branded title. What is a branded title? It’s a permanent title applied to vehicles that were declared a loss by an insurance company due to extensive damage. The department of motor vehicles gives the car a branded title so its status is apparent to car shoppers. Vehicles with branded titles can be great deals, but you may not be able to finance, insure, sell, or — in some cases — drive it. Not to mention, you won’t get the peace of mind of a non-branded title.

What are the Types of Branded Titles?

Branded car titles vary from state to state, but some of the most common include the following:

  • Lemon: A car is branded a “lemon” if a car buyer experiences a severe problem with it while it’s still under warranty, and it remains inoperable even after the manufacturer has had the opportunity to repair it. Check the title and vehicle history report of the car you’re considering for this brand.
  • Salvage: An insurance company will likely give a car a salvage branded title if it’s been involved in an accident and the repair costs are greater than 80% of its fair market value, i.e. a total loss.
  • Water Damage: Water can damage virtually all aspects of a car, such as the engine, interior, and electronics. If a vehicle is flooded with water for longer than two days, it’s branded as water damaged and a total loss.
  • Hail Damage: St. Louis and other parts of Missouri are subject to hailstorms, which can cause severe cosmetic damage to a vehicle. This often results in the insurance company declaring it a total loss.
  • Odometer Rollback: Used cars with lower mileage are usually more desirable to car shoppers. So, it’s not uncommon for shady sellers to tamper with the odometer reading. If odometer rollback is detected and proven, the car’s title and vehicle history report will be branded.

Can I Buy a Car With a Salvage Title?

You can — and for a cheap price, but with one major drawback: you won’t be able to legally drive it on public roads. In Missouri, a car with a salvage title can’t be registered again until it’s rebuilt, passes inspection, and is documented by the state. That being said, the process of restoring a car with a salvage title is long, arduous, and often expensive. Even if you’re able to rebuild the car and repair the damage, as mentioned above, the brand will remain on the car’s title for the rest of its life. Additionally, if you decide to sell it in the future, its resale value will be slashed by about one-half to two-thirds.

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Green Light Auto Credit is your source for hassle-free car financing, regardless of whether you have good credit, bad credit, or no credit. We can help you get a dependable used car for rates and terms that work for you. Contact us today to learn more about what to lookout for while you car shop, such as branded titles and open liens. See why drivers from St. Charles to Florissant and beyond rely on us!