If you need a duplicate title, you can request one. It isn’t free, but it’s not that expensive either. Here’s how long it typically takes to get one, how to request a replacement title, and why you need your vehicle’s title in the first place.
How to Get a Duplicate Title
It can take around 30 days or more to get a duplicate title in the mail. To request a duplicate title, visit a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Secretary of State (SOS), either in person or online.
Typically, replacement titles run anywhere from $5 to $60 a pop, depending on your state. Often, you’re required to list the reason why you need a duplicate title (damaged, lost, stolen, etc). You should also expect to need the vehicle’s information to request another title, such as:
- The vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Valid driver’s license
- Proof of ownership, such as a bill of sale
- Possibly odometer reading, depending on your state
There are also replacement titles, which is when you need a new title because something important needs to be changed (instead of just a copy). This can include: names changes due to marriage or divorce, errors, or modifications made to the vehicle. For a replacement title, you may need court documents if it’s a name change and/or corrected driver’s license, odometer reading, or proof of modifications.
Can’t Find Your Title? You May Not Have It!
If you live in a title-holding state (most states are) and you have a loan on your car, then your lender holds the title until you complete the loan. If you can’t find your title, your lender may have it if you have a lien on the car, so you might not need a duplicate title.
If you’re selling a car with a loan on it privately, your lender sends the title to the buyer once the loan is paid off. If you're trading in your financed vehicle to a dealership, they typically take care of the titles themselves, so you're not involved in the title transfer.
Can I Buy or Sell a Vehicle Without a Title?
If you own your car free and clear and don’t have a title, then you’re not going to be able to sell it legitimately. You need a title to officially transfer ownership to the next owner.
If you bought a car that didn’t have a title, then you may be a victim of title-jumping, which is illegal in every state. A vehicle sale isn’t allowed without the seller and the buyer signing the title. If you want to know the history of your vehicle, then it may be worth requesting a vehicle history report to learn more about it’s past owners and/or accidents it's been through.
Without a title, it also means you can’t register the car in your name. And if you sell the car to someone else without the title, they can’t register it in their name, either.
Need a Car Loan With Poor Credit?
If you shop for a vehicle with a dealership, then you’re likely to only see stock with clean titles. A vehicle with a true clean title is one that’s never been deemed a total loss, hasn’t been salvaged or rebuilt, and was never deemed a lemon. Reputable dealerships typically only sell vehicles with clean titles.
If you’re on the hunt for your next vehicle, it’s important to know the history of the car you’re looking to buy. If someone offers you a car without a title, know that you need it to register the car in your name. And if you need financing, then the lender is likely to need to view the title and/or hold it until you complete the loan.
Here at The Car Connection, we aim to make the car buying experience easier with our nationwide network of special finance dealerships. You don’t have to settle for a shaky transaction even though you have poor credit! Complete our free auto loan request form, and we’ll look for a dealer in your local area that has bad credit lending resources.