How To Get a Rebuilt Title in Tennessee

How to Get Rebuilt Title in Tennessee

Do you have plans to buy a salvage vehicle in Tennessee? Or did your vehicle get damaged to a great extent, and you wish to make something out of it? Then, you’ll surely need a rebuilt title.

In Tennessee, some laws support rebuilding vehicles even after they were salvaged and declared a total loss.

However, this is only achievable depending on the extent of damage to the car. Approximately 1,700 vehicles are rebuilt in Tennessee every month, but for you to drive the car again, you’ll need a rebuilt title.

So, how can you get a rebuilt title in Tennessee?  You can get a rebuilt title by picking the application form, paying the necessary fees, converting your salvage title to a rebuilt title, and providing proof of identification when the vehicle was damaged and when it was repaired.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about getting a rebuilt title in Tennessee.

What Does a Rebuilt Title Mean in TN?

In Tennessee (TN), rebuilt titles are titles that are issued to vehicles that were repaired after they were declared a total loss by insurance companies. These types of vehicles usually have damages that attract the cost of repairs which is 75% of the retail value of the car.

You’ll need a rebuilt title when your car is wrecked. Instead of abandoning the car, you decide to repair it and make it motorable again even though it was already ‘totaled’ by insurance companies.

Most times, the process of a rebuilt title is not usually carried out by the car's original owner. The owner might choose to sell the car after the severe damage, and the buyer proceeds with the repairs until the vehicle is approved for road use, having met Tennessee's safety and legal standards.

Can You Get a Rebuilt Title in Tennessee?

Sure, yes, you can. You can get a rebuilt title in Tennessee. All you have to do to get a rebuilt title in Tennessee is to pay the required fees, get your paperwork done, and pass inspection.

However, the truth is not all damaged vehicles in Tennessee can be issued a rebuilt title. The extent of damage on the car will determine if it is repairable or if there are chances for the car to attain safety standards for on-road operations.

How To Get a Rebuilt Title in Tennessee

Here are 7 easy steps to get a rebuilt title in Tennessee:

1. Start your application.

The first step to getting a rebuilt title in Tennessee is to start the application. You will commence your application by completing and submitting the application form for Motor Vehicle Identification Certification for Rebuilt Vehicles.

The form will capture your name and contact details, VIN, vehicle model, year and make, information about the rebuilder, reason for vehicle damage, and a list of replaced parts in the vehicle.

You will also need to affirm that all parts used in the repair of the vehicle were not stolen and that you adhered to all safety requirements as issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

2. Obtain and provide a salvage certificate (title).

If you’ve submitted your rebuilt ID certification form, then you should proceed to get your salvage certificate. You can get a salvage certificate by completing the salvage or nonrepairable application form.

The essence of obtaining a salvage certificate before a rebuilt title is to prove that the salvaged vehicle is yours.

The good thing about the Tennessee Salvage certificate is that it is free. You don’t need to pay anyone a dime to get a salvage certificate. All you need to do is provide your personal, vehicle, and insurance information and affirm that information provided is true and accurate.

The form will include the vehicle's current odometer reading, its condition, previous state and year, make, and model.

On the form, you must tick that you are applying for a salvage certificate and not a non-repairable certificate. After filling out the filling, send the form to the Tennessee Department of Revenue via the following address:

Tennessee Department of Revenue Vehicle Services Division

 500 Deaderick Street 

Nashville, TN 37242.

3. Proceed with the repair.

With your salvage title, you can proceed with repairs. You can choose to hire the services of a professional to help you with rebuilding the vehicle. However, you will need to present a notarized affidavit that clearly states the name and mailing address of the rebuilder.

You can use Form RV-F1311001 to do this. Citing the rebuilder does not indicate that they are part of the ownership circle of the vehicle.

Before you start repairs on your salvage vehicle, we advise you to contact the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s anti-theft unit to guide you on all acceptable practices and standards related to rebuilding your vehicle. This will ensure that you don’t make any mistakes in the process.

4. Provide colored pictures of the proposed vehicle in its damaged and repaired state.

Before you can get a rebuilt title in Tennessee, you must provide clear colored pictures of the proposed vehicle in its damaged/salvage state and its repaired form. These photos should indicate before and after repairs were done on the car.

These pictures will be part of the documents that will be authenticated during the inspection.

5. Provide receipts of all repaired parts.

Aside from pictures of the vehicle before and after repairs, you will also need to provide receipts of all replaced and repaired parts on the vehicle. For invoices, receipts, and bills of sale, you must provide proof of ownership and transaction data on all the replacement parts used in rebuilding the vehicle.

The receipts must clearly show the name of the buyer and seller, the make, year, and model of the vehicle, including the VIN. The receipts can cover details of the rebuilder, and these receipts must be provided as original copies and not duplicates.

6. Pay the required fees and handle documentation.

Now’s the time that you make payment. Rebuilt title fees are divided into two categories for the different types of people applying for a rebuilt title.

If you apply as an individual, the rebuilt fee is $75. Licensed dealers are required to pay $85 as their Tennessee rebuilt fees.

You must pay your rebuilt title fees to the Tennessee Department of Revenue. After paying the required fees, mail your application and all related documents to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, Vehicle Services Division at 500 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN 37242.

7. Inspection and Finalization.

After submitting your forms and paying the required fees, two things can happen: either the application is approved or rejected.

Upon submission, your application is subject to inspection while waiting for approval. During the inspection, you are assigned an agent from the Tennessee special investigation unit to inspect the status of your vehicle after repairs.

What happens next depends on whether you applied as an individual or a dealer. Suppose you applied as a dealer, and your application was approved. In that case, you will receive an “Inspection Passed” decal approval letter which you will submit to the county clerk and apply for a certificate of title to get your rebuilt title.

For dealers, upon approval, they are given the “Inspection Passed” decal approval letter and a certificate of rebuilt title. So, what happens if you fail inspection? You will get a letter that indicates all the requirements that you missed.

What Is the Difference Between A Salvage Title and a Rebuilt Title in Tennessee?

Salvage titles are titles reserved for damaged vehicles whose cost of repairs exceeds 75% of the market value of the vehicle. Vehicles with salvage titles are usually declared a total loss by insurance companies.

Rebuilt titles are reserved for salvaged vehicles after they are adequately repaired, inspected, and approved for road use.


Getting a rebuilt title in Tennessee doesn’t look difficult, but it is important that you are aware of the required standards, especially as regards repairs and rebuilding. Don’t assume acceptable standards, and ensure you do not miss any of the requirements, as this can hinder your title approval.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it legal to buy a car without a title in Tennessee?

No. It is not legal to buy a car without a title in Tennessee. You will run into a lot of problems with the law if you proceed with buying a car without a title. Ensure that the seller or dealer gets a title, even if it is a duplicate title.

How long does it take to get a rebuilt title in TN?

It can take you a couple of weeks to months to get a rebuilt title in Tennessee. The duration of the rebuilt title is dependent on how long it will take you to finish the repairs, inspection, and documentation.

How much is a rebuilt title in Tennessee?

Getting a rebuilt title in Tennessee costs only $75 - $85. The fees depend on whether you apply as an individual or a dealer.