Branded Title Glossary
A branded title is an official designation assigned to associate a particular history with a vehicle. The branding system is run by state agencies and was put in place to warn potential owners about damage or other alterations to a vehicle that they might otherwise have been unaware of.
Below you'll find a glossary of common terms associated with branded titles.
Title Terms A-M
During the process of obtaining a title for a vehicle, a bonded title may be given when there is no proof of ownership. Once a vehicle is given a bonded title, it will maintain this designation for up to 3 years or once the vehicle is transferred to a different state.
Used in some but not all states, corrected titles may be given to remove or add an owner's name to a title. Reasons a corrected title may be needed include marriage, divorce, or death. Less common reasons include vehicle liens or incorrect odometer readings.
A vehicle may be given a dismantled title when:
- It suffers damages to one or more of the major components, and
- The cost to repair the vehicle is more than the market value.
In most cases, the vehicle isn't allowed to be retitled or cannot be put into use by another owner because of safety concerns.
A DMV may issue a duplicate title if an original title is missing,
Fire Damage Title
A fire damage title is issued when a vehicle is involved in a serious fire and repairs cost more than the true value of the vehicle.
Hail Damage Title
This title is designated when:
- A vehicle suffers extreme damage caused by hail, AND
- Repairs cost more than the worth of the vehicle
- Safe operation is no longer guaranteed.
Treated as or named a salvaged title in some states, a junk title is issued when a vehicle is determined to be unsafe for road use.
Though dependent on your state of residence, it is common for a vehicle to branded with a junk title if the cost to repair damages exceeds 75% of the vehicle's worth. Once branded as junk, the title cannot be changed or reissued with a new designation.
These titles are usually given to vehicles because of excessive mechanical problems or repairs—often while still under the original manufacturer's warranty.
Not all states have lemon laws or lemon title branding. For more information, please refer to our Lemon Law section.
Title Terms N-Z
If a vehicle was not originally manufactured in the United States or if it was used outside the country for a period of time, it will be given a non-USA title once it has been converted to meet state standards. Also commonly referred to as a gray market title.
Not Actual Mileage Title
A “Not Actual Mileage" title is issued when the owner states that the odometer may not reflect the actual mile mileage of the vehicle.
Common reasons an owner may report a false odometer reading include:
- Possible tampering.
- Odometer replacement.
Failure to report a false odometer reading as stated in the Federal Odometer Law may result in civil liability or criminal charges.
Original Taxi or Prior Taxi Title
A taxi title is given to vehicles whose determined primary use is or used to be “for hire." Taxi titled vehicles are branded as such because usually they are high mileage and driven excessively in short periods of time.
Original Police or Prior Police Title
Prior police titles are given when any vehicle currently or previously used for law enforcement. Similar to taxi titles, police titles are designated due to high mileage and/or excessive driving within short periods of time.
Rebuilt or Reconstructed Title
Your vehicle will receive a rebuilt or reconstructed title if it has been severely damaged but restored to safe working order. Reconstructed vehicles often lose the original identity because the parts used during the rebuilding process are taken from several different make and model vehicles.
Note that most states require a vehicle inspection before a rebuilt vehicle can receive a title and return to the road.
Similar to a reconstructed title, a reconditioned title is usually given when a vehicle is restored. This is common for older, classic, or vintage cars and trucks.
A vehicle receives a replica title when:
- It has been constructed from components of different vehicles and was not made by a licensed manufacturer.
- It was built from a kit.
- It was built using fabricated parts for major vehicle components to resemble a similar make or model of a car or truck.
Referred to in some states as a junk title, a salvaged title can be issued when the cost to repair damages exceeds 75% of the worth of the vehicle. How damage is calculated can vary from state to state.
A salvaged title is most frequently given to vehicles when it is determined to be unsafe for use, and as a result cannot be re-titled in order to protect future buyers. Some states also use a salvaged title for vehicles that have been previously stolen.
Specially Constructed Title
When a vehicle is not originally constructed by a recognized manufacturer, it will be branded with a specially constructed title. Vehicles with this title may have been made at home. How you apply for a specially constructed title varies according to state.
Some examples include:
- Homemade trailers.
- Instances in which parts have been combined.
- Example: A car that's rebuilt with a Chevrolet frame and a Ford body.
New Vehicle Title
Once a new vehicle is purchased, the state will issue a title to show proof of ownership. Each titled vehicle is issued a number that is transferred when the vehicle is sold.
Warranty Returned Title
Also commonly referred to as a lemon title, a warranty returned title is given because of repeated mechanical issues or repairs while the vehicle is still under the manufacturer's warranty.
Water Damage Title
A vehicle is branded with a water damage title when excessive repairs are needed because of natural disasters such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, and flash floods. If the cost of repairs exceeds the worth of the vehicle, this title is usually designated.