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Do Stolen Cars Get a Salvage Title

Do Stolen Cars Get a Salvage Title

When someone has a car stolen, it’s not just the immediate loss that impacts the owner. The aftermath of that theft can have long-lasting effects, especially when it comes to the title of the car.

This article aims to shed light on why a stolen car might end up with a salvage or branded title and answer the question: Do stolen cars get a salvage title?

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Why Might a Stolen Car Get a Branded or Salvage Title?

When a car is stolen and then recovered, its condition can vary widely. Maybe the car was left on the side of the road in perfect condition, or maybe the thief drove it into a ditch.

If the car is recovered quickly and is in the same condition as before it was stolen, it can retain a clean title.

However, if the car is found damaged or if it’s returned after the insurance company has already paid out a claim for the total loss of the vehicle, it may end up with a branded or even a salvage title.

This is because once an insurance claim is paid out, the insurance company typically takes ownership of the vehicle.

If the car is later found, the insurance company may opt to sell it, often at an auction. Depending on the extent of any damage, the car may be sold for parts or repair; in these cases, it will receive a salvage title.

Do Stolen Cars Get a Salvage Title?

So, do stolen cars get a salvage title?

The answer is it depends. A stolen car does not automatically receive a salvage title when it is recovered. However, depending on the circumstances, such as the extent of any damage and the insurance claim status, a stolen car could indeed end up with a salvage title.

The Impact on Car’s Value

It’s important to note that a previously stolen car with a salvage title can lose anywhere from 20% to 40% of its original value.

This depreciation can significantly impact the car’s resale value. If you’re considering buying a car with a salvage title, it’s essential to be cautious, perform a thorough inspection, and check the vehicle’s history report, as any theft record on the report can affect the car’s value.


In conclusion, while a stolen car does not automatically receive a salvage title, various factors can lead to it getting one. Understanding these factors and their implications is crucial, especially if you’re considering buying a car with a salvage title.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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