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What is a Branded Title?

A brand can be issued to a vehicle for a number of different reasons, but let's start with what a brand is.




           A brand on a vehicle's title is a notation that records a special                

                           circumstance or condition involving a vehicle.




These special circumstances are generally not good events (e.g. "This was Marilyn Monroe's first car" or "This truck won the Gumball3000"), but mostly consist of accidents. Here is a list of some of the more common brands:



-Salvage               -Rebuilt               -Odometer: Not Actual 


          -Flood              -Stolen                    -Destroyed





Not all brands are from damage though, some are just from a certain type of use, like:



                                         Former for Hire/Taxi  




                                                                    Odometer - Exceeds Mechanical Limits






    A Salvage brand is placed by the State when a vehicle is "not road worthy" due to damage. A Rebuilt brand is when a State Certified mechanic or repair shop repairs a Salvage Title vehicle to make it road worthy again. A Stolen/Theft Brand is not just that a car was stolen, but it was missing for certian length of time (different for each insurance company) and then recovered after the owner was paid for their loss. Not Actual is a brand when the odometer reading is reported at lesser amount than the previous reporting, mostly indecating an odometer roll back, but sometimes these are simply a reporting error. Destroyed is a brand given when a wrecking yard completely parts out and crushes a vehicle.


    A vehicle goes to a salvage yard after an insurance company has decided that it will cost less to replace than to fix. These decisions are made by using current market value of the vehicle, and estimates from repair shops. Genrally the rule is if the cost to repair is greater than 50% of the vehicle's current market value then it will go a salvage auction. Not all wrecked cars get the brand, and not all branded cars were severly damaged, even though the insurance companies may deem them "totaled" or a "total loss"; these terms can be very misleading as each state and orginization have there own defination of what they mean.


    Insurance companies may call to different Auto Repair Garages for estimates, and many in the industry know that insurane work pays pretty well, so these bids can get to be quite high, higher than the normal customer may pay; also factored in are brand new Factory OEM parts, and, as anyone who has had to fix a car knows, these parts can be extremely expensive, whereas aftermarket, or used parts that are considerably cheaper. High estimates are compared against "current market value", which is to say what your car is worth based off of Kelly Blue Book, NADA Guides, and/or Blackbook.


    Knowing that some drivers are nicer to their rides, while some are more careless, these guides have a rating system of "Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor"; and three categories: Retail, Private Party, and Trade-In. While an owner may look up the value of their car on and find that it's worth $8,000 in Excellent Retail Condition, the insurance company may be using the Fair Private Party Condition, thus placing the value at $4,500; this is the number that is used when considering whether to fix or "total" the vehicle and, since repairs can be expensive, many times a car that you would pay $8,000 at a dealership for gets a minimal amount of damage goes directly to a salvage auction.


    So you can see how the insurance companies decision to "Total" a car makes sense to them, but that the car may not have a great amount of damage. These cars go to an auction where they can be bought fairly inexpensievly and then repaired for low cost by getting parts at wholesale price and being able to shop around for a good deal. Any vehicle with a Salvage title has to be inspected by the state where they can deem it "roadworthy" and upgrade it from Salvage to Rebuilt. Buyers Beware! The state inspection DOES NOT check for safety or that the car was assembled correctly, they ONLY check to make sure there are no stolen parts used in the rebuild process.  


    While many Rebuilt title vehicles turn out to be very safe, there are some very serious risks if you buy one from the wrong place. Some Used Car Dealers will buy a salvage truck, get it just so it's running, then sell it to you not caring if there are issues with it. This is why branded title vehicles can get a bad reputation, but at JMJ Auto we strive to break that stigma. 


    We at JMJ Auto stand behind the rebuilt cars & trucks that we repair; We want you to feel safe in your vehicle, and we want you to be able to shop with us again, as well as send others you know who are searching for a good used car to our lot. We have a full disclosure motto here; we will show you all the pictures from the auction showing the condition the vehicle was in when we bought it, then all the parts reciepts for repairs. Every car gets an Autocheck, which we will be happy to walk you through to show you the vehicle's history.


    If you have any more questions about Branded title cars please feel free to contact us and we will help however we can. For used car dealership near Centralia, check out JMJ Automotive and Happy Car Hunting!








Branded Title Car Flood Damage
Branded Title Hot Rod Taxi For Hire

A Rebuilt Car:


  • Can be insured

  • Can be financed

  • Can be a great buy!


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