Consumer Title Resource | Since 2009!

Abandoned Vehicle Title Document Requirements

Hello, this is Dave, and in this video, we’re going to delve into the intricacies of the unclaimed vehicle titling process. It’s a topic that generates numerous inquiries – approximately 7 to 900 calls a day – and we want to shed light on the process using a specific example from Franklin County in Ohio. While the details are jurisdiction-specific, the fundamental steps are similar across various regions. So, whether you’re dealing with vehicles in Ohio or elsewhere, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of what to expect and whether it’s a process worth pursuing.

Understanding the Unclaimed Vehicle Titling Process:

  1. Verification of Vehicle Value:
    • Before diving into the process, it’s crucial to verify that the vehicle’s value aligns with the specified guidelines. In Franklin County, Ohio, this applies to vehicles with a value less than $3,500.
  2. File BMV Form 1173:
    • The first official step is filing a BMV Form 1173 (or its equivalent in other states), requesting information on the lien holder and owner’s last known address. This form is submitted to the DMV to notify them of your intent to claim the vehicle.
    • Note: This is often considered Step 2, but it’s imperative to complete it before proceeding with other steps.
  3. Mail Certified Notices:
    • Once armed with official information from the DMV, the next step involves sending certified notices, return receipt requested, to the owner and lien holders. This notice includes details about the vehicle’s location, value, and your intention to claim it.
    • A waiting period of 15 to 60 days (depending on state statutes) is crucial before advancing to the next step.
  4. Unclaimed Motor Vehicle Affidavit Form:
    • The claimant needs to complete an Unclaimed Motor Vehicle Affidavit form, which essentially serves as the application for title. This includes providing evidence such as repair agreements, valuation printouts, and certified mail documentation.
  5. Apply for Title:
    • The final step is applying for the title. This involves visiting a clerk of court or title office, presenting all evidence from Step 4, and completing the application process.

Additional Considerations:

  • Protection Against Fraud:
    • The unclaimed vehicle process is designed to prevent fraud, and as such, it undergoes thorough scrutiny. Any attempt to abuse the process may result in rejection and legal consequences.
  • Auditing by DMV:
    • Government agencies often audit these applications due to their susceptibility to abuse. This meticulous review ensures the legitimacy of claims and prevents fraudulent activities.

Closing Thoughts:

Navigating the unclaimed vehicle titling process requires attention to detail, adherence to timelines, and compliance with official procedures. It’s a process frequently sought after, but one that should be approached with caution and transparency.

For more detailed information, including forms and documents for every state, feel free to visit our website at We provide resources for a DIY approach, or you can explore our services if you prefer assistance. Remember, while the process can be time-consuming, it offers a legal solution to excess vehicle storage or abandonment issues.

If you have further questions or need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you navigate the complexities of unclaimed vehicle titling.

Have Title Questions? Talk to a Car Title Expert.

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Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.

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