What Does a Branded Title Mean on a Car?

December 4, 2023

If you’re on a tight budget and have been dreaming of getting behind the wheel of your favorite car, branded titles can be an opportunity to save thousands of dollars. However, branded title vehicles are usually cheap for good reason; they’ve been through significant damage and may have mechanical issues lingering that could cost you big in repairs down the line.

Branded titles come from a number of different scenarios, including insurance-deemed total loss, flood damage, and rebuilt and salvage titles. They can also be a result of dishonest car sellers who alter odometer readings to make their vehicle seem less-used than it is, which is called odometer rollback fraud. In some cases, odometer fraud is so flagrant that it can be reported to state authorities and the title branded as a result of this crime.

Regardless of the specifics, a branded title tells you that the vehicle isn’t in roadworthy condition and isn’t eligible for traditional financing, warranty coverage, or manufacturer recalls. Furthermore, branded cars typically have lower value than their clean-title counterparts, meaning you won’t get as much money back when you decide to sell.

If you are still interested in a branded-title car, it’s important to get a thorough pre-purchase inspection. A trusted dealer can help you understand the full scope of the damage and how it was repaired and certified, allowing you to make an informed decision about whether or not this is a deal worth taking.

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