What is Salvage title? US States Rebuilt Title Rules

Can I Buy a Flooded Car and Then Fix it to Obtain a Title in Nebraska?

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 08/24/2017

The open plains and long highways of Nebraska offer a perfect location to go for a drive, a road trip, or a life changing journey. And what would that journey be without the perfect car to accompany it? Of course, the dream of a perfect drive can quickly turn into a nightmare when you’re paying hundreds of dollars a month on a car note. That’s why more people than ever before have turned to the used car market to get great cars at significant savings.

But what if you can’t afford a used car? Or you’d rather find a steeper discount? The flood car market in Nebraska is a little-known secret that offers significant discounts on cars that may be perfectly good. To be worth your time and cash, though, flood cars need to be repairable. When they are, you may even be able to sell them at a profit. Here’s what you need to know.

About Flooded Cars in Nebraska

As a plains state, it might seem odd that there are ever floods in Nebraska. After all, it’s not like there are hurricanes or the state is anywhere near a major body of water. But floods don’t have to be big, or near water, to be stunningly damaging. Just a few inches of water from a flash flood or rain storm can destroy a car, engine and all. The problem is that flood damaged cars in Nebraska may appear to be cosmetically fine. This creates a deceptive appearance that can lull you into buying a car that’s anything but a sound investment. Don’t fall for it!

Flooded vehicles may have mold or mildew growing in the seats. The engine may be destroyed. Or they may have been repaired with cheaper parts that lower the value of the vehicle.

In Nebraska, flooded vehicles are deemed salvage vehicles. Interestingly, a flooded vehicle will only carry this title designation if an inspector has found that it is damaged in some way—such as the electrical system is damaged or the engine is corroded. This means that you can be certain that a car dubbed a flooded vehicle is damaged. But you also cannot be certain that a car that is not deemed a flood vehicle has no flood history.

Flood and Salvage Titles in Nebraska

Once a Nebraska car is labeled a flood vehicle, it will carry that designation on its title history. This is so that prospective buyers know what they’re investing in, and can make intelligent buying decisions. However, some unscrupulous sellers attempt to obscure a car’s flood history by, for example, driving it to another state, registering it there, and then transferring the title to Nebraska. This is why it’s important to always request an inspection.

Never try to obscure the history of a car you purchase, either. Doing so is a crime known as title washing.

Can I Buy and Repair a Nebraska Flooded Car to Get a New Title?

Though it’s not possible to obscure a car’s history as a flood or salvage vehicle, you can apply for a rebuilt title. The car must pass an inspection, and you must provide details about each and every part of the car you have rebuilt. This provides a potential buyer with details about whether the car has been improved from its original version, or is made from substandard parts. Thus a rebuilt title is vital if you want to sell a salvage Nebraska car at a profit.

Tips for Successfully Entering the Nebraska Flooded Car Market

So what if you’re interested in buying and selling Nebraska flood cars? There’s a competitive market, and you may be able to turn a significant profit with the right strategy. Here are some tips:

  • Seek a dealer’s license. This allows you to go to dealer auctions, which offer better cars at lower prices.
  • Learn about the car market in your area. You need to know which cars are in demand, how much they’re worth, and how much yo can expect to pay to fix them.
  • Establish clear budgets for your purchases. Don’t allow the thrill of an auction or the temptation to compete with someone cause you to pay more than you should.
  • Know exactly what you need to do, and what you need to pay, to repair the car. A close relationship with a mechanic you trust can help you make wise decisions.
  • Never finance a flood car. It’s a bad investment, and you may lose money.
  • Be honest with buyers about a car’s flood history, as well as about anything you’ve done to repair the car.
  • Get involved in dealer communities, both online and in person. These people can educate you about the market, connect you to buyers, and serve as a ready source of information and support.
  • Buy only cars that have the potential to be high value. Vintage cars, highly sought cars, and discontinued cars are often good investments. Cheap cars that are readily available in the used market are rarely sound investments.
  • Meet with a lawyer before beginning your business, so that you have a clear understanding of your legal obligations—both to buyers and to the state of Nebraska as you register, inspect, and sell cars.
  • Know that you may have to pay income taxes on cars you sell if this is a significant source of income for you.