KY expecting increase in rebuilt car title requests following hurricanes

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Flooding from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could mean a flood of damaged vehicles hoping for a second chance in Kentucky.

"In Kentucky, we're anticipating a high number of requests for rebuilt vehicle titles," explained Andrea Clifford with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Clifford said after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the number of requests for rebuilt titles tripled in Kentucky--going from 1100 requests in 2015 to 3500 requests in 2016.

"Our laws are pretty lenient on the requirements to get that rebuilt vehicle title. So that's why we have such a high market for these salvaged vehicles," she said. To get a rebuilt title, a person has to show the state two pictures and two estimates of costs to repair the damage. If the cost is less than 75% of the value of the vehicle, they are able to obtain a rebuilt title.

"Is Kentucky lax?" WKYT's Miranda Combs asked the owner of Back's Auto Auction in Mt. Sterling.

"I think some states probably have some harsher law on the rebuilt stuff," Owner Shane Back said. "When it comes out of Frankfort, it will just be 'rebuilt'. It won't say whether it's minor, moderate, or anything like that. You have to go back to your Carfax or AutoCheck to see specifically," he said. Back said he occasionally auctions a car with a rebuilt title, but he makes sure buyers know it up front.

Another concern Clifford wants buyers to understand: If someone has a car with a rebuilt title that's been deemed a 'total loss' in another state, they run the risk of having the car seized if they drive it into that state again.

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