We'll buy your car - no matter the condition!

What is a Branded Title and Why Does it Matter?

Marc Skirvin
Marc Skirvin

What's in this Article

Planning to buy or sell your car? Or maybe you’re in the process of getting an auto loan? In any case, you’ve probably come across the term “branded title” and may be wondering what it is and why it matters. Here’s a quick rundown on branded titles and why they may impact your car’s value.

What is a Branded Title?

Branded title in its simplest form is a vehicle history report that shows whether the car has been in an accident, declared a total loss by an insurance company, or has some other type of damage. When a car has been in an accident, it’s common for the insurance company to declare it a total loss if the repairs would cost more than the car is worth. In most cases, whether a car has been repaired by professionals or the owner, the insurance company will assign it a branded title.

Types of Car Branded Titles

To better understand how a branded title can impact your car’s value, it’s important to know the different types. Here are some of the most common:

Lemon Title

The term “lemon title” is derived from the fact that many states have lemon laws that protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing defective cars. Since there are no guarantees with used cars and many people purchase them without a test drive, this type of brand helps protect buyers from purchasing vehicles with known issues or defects.

When a car repeatedly malfunctions while under warranty and the manufacturer is unable to fix the issues, it’s typically declared a lemon. The car will then receive a lemon title which indicates that it’s not roadworthy, can’t be legally driven, and unsafe for users. However, the lemon title brand depends on which state the vehicle is registered in as each state has its own laws and regulations pertaining to this.

Salvage Title

When a car suffers from a major accident that requires a repair that costs more than the car’s value, the insurance company will declare it a total loss and issue it a salvage title. A salvage title is issued as a way to warn future buyers that the car has been in a major accident and may not be safe to drive. In many cases, cars with salvage titles are used for parts or sold at a much lower price than their fair market value.

Rebuilt Title

A car with a rebuilt title is one that has been declared a total loss but has been repaired and is now ready to drive. For someone who is planning to buy a rebuilt car, you can save a significant amount of money since these cars are often sold at a fraction of their fair market value.

However, it’s important to know that these cars come at a risk as some repairs, even done by professionals, may not have been done properly or simply won’t hold up over time.

Odometer Rollback Title

Many buyers look into how much mileage a car has before making a purchase decision as this is one way to gauge a car’s value. However, some sellers may try to roll back the odometer which is a federal offense. Commonly, a rolled-back odometer is hard to spot but there are a few ways to tell if it’s been tampered with. A good mechanic can tell if the odometer has been rolled back. Once confirmed, the car will receive an odometer rollback title brand which will significantly lower the resale value.

Water Damage Title

As the name suggests, a water-damaged car is one that has been through some type of flooding. It’s important to know that just because a car has been through a flood doesn’t mean it will automatically receive a water-damage title. In most cases, the car will only be given this type of brand if the damage is severe enough that it impacts the car’s safety or drivability. When buying a used car, be wary of vehicles from regions that are prone to flooding as this type of damage can be costly to repair.

Hail Damage Title

A damaged car due to hail is one that has been hit by many large pieces of ice that fell from the sky during a thunderstorm. While it’s not as common as water damage, hail damage can be just as costly to repair and will have lasting effects on how the car will perform.

Hail-damaged cars will often have dents on the hood, roof, and trunk as well as cracked or broken windshields. Though they are easy to repair, make sure to ask for a thorough inspection before making a purchase.

How Much Does a Branded Title Devalue a Car?

In most cases where a car receives a branded title, the value of the vehicle will be significantly decreased. Typically, the value of the car would lose about 20% to 40% of its original value but this depends on the severity of the issue as well as the make and model of the car.

Common Problems When Selling a Car with a Branded Title

When selling a car with a branded title, you will likely run into some problems as most dealerships and private buyers are not interested in these types of vehicles. The best way to sell a car with a branded title is by working with a specialized dealership or going through an online platform that connects buyers and sellers of salvage cars.

Some of the other problems you might face when selling a car with a branded title include:

Trouble with Insurance

Insurance companies are often hesitant to insure a car with a branded title as they consider these cars to be high-risk. In some cases, you might be able to find an insurance company that is willing to insure your car but the rates will be much higher than a standard policy.

Trouble with Financing

Lenders often refuse to finance a car with a branded title as they see these cars as being too risky. As a result, you might have to pay for the car in cash or find a private lender who is willing to finance your purchase, which can be difficult to find.

Hidden Issues

Mechanical issues that are hard to spot might pop up down the road and these could be expensive to fix. Regardless of branded title, cars such as these tend to have issues that even you, the seller, are not aware of. Some problems can occur even without having any relation to the branded title placed on the car.

Trouble Reselling

Arguably one of the most daunting tasks, reselling a car with a branded title can be difficult and time-consuming. You might have to spend hours online trying to find a buyer who is willing to take on the risk of buying a car with a branded title. People often associate branded titles with salvage cars that have little to no value or something that will eventually end up in a junkyard.

Things You Can Do To Sell Your Car With a Branded Title

Though it might be difficult, there are still some things you can do to ensure your car with a branded title gets sold.

Lower Your Asking Price

The simplest thing you can do is to sell your car for a lower price. A branded title car is understandably associated with a higher degree of risk and most buyers will be unwilling to pay top dollar for these types of cars. By lowering your asking price, you make the car more attractive to potential buyers who are looking for a bargain.

Get a Car History Report

A car history report will help show potential buyers that your car has a clean history and that the branded title was placed on the car due to an issue that has since been resolved. This is important as any buyer would like sellers to be transparent when it comes to the history of the car.

Get a Documented Repair Work

By getting your car repaired by a certified mechanic, you can demonstrate that the branded title does not affect the performance or safety of the vehicle. If you have gone through this process, be sure to ask for an invoice that shows what work was performed on the vehicle.

Sell Your Car at Cash Auto Salvage

We can help you sell your branded title car at Cash Auto Salvage. We are a nationwide network of auto salvage yards that makes it easy to get rid of your vehicle in just 24 hours. This way, you won’t have to list your cars online and spend too much time looking for a buyer. Instead, you can simply drop off your car at one of our locations and choose whether you want to receive a check or be paid in cash.

We have locations throughout the country, and we accept cars, trucks, and SUVs. We can also give you an instant offer online after answering a few questions about your car. To learn more about how we can help you sell your vehicle, give us a call at (855) 922-3095.

Share this!


About the Author


Marc is the Co-Founder of Cash Auto Salvage and Director of daily operations. He retired from a leading Internet Marketing company in 2013 and has been involved in the automotive industry ever since.

maximize cash offer on car

We'll buy your vehicle!

Wait! We REALLY Want Your Vehicle!

We pay up to $20,000 for cars, trucks, & SUV’s – no matter the condition. Get paid on the spot + free towing!

Or Call... 1-855-922-3095

There is no obligation to accept an offer.

Unable to verify mileage

Selecting “unable to verify” may decrease your offer and should only be selected if you cannot visually confirm the mileage of the vehicle upon inspection of the odometer.