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Abandoned Vehicle Titles

So how do you go about getting a title for an abandoned vehicle? First, let’s talk about what it means to be an abandoned vehicle. Definition of an abandoned vehicle means that the owner of the vehicle has intentionally abandoned the vehicle. They have disclaimed all need and want for that car. It’s not an alternative method of getting a title for a car that you’ve acquired another way. If you purchased a car or bought it off Craigslist or somehow it was transferred to you, but you just lost the title on the paperwork, that’s not an abandoned car. An abandoned car is one where the owner is intentionally disclaiming rights to the vehicle. Truly abandon means that the legal owner has intentions they don’t want it. That triggers an abandoned vehicle law.

The Legal Process
Now that law will allow for a title to pass over to a new owner, but that process isn’t just as simple as Finders Keepers. Whoever finds the car, it’s a process of going through being towed from where it’s located by a licensed towing company. That towing company has to be part of the towing rotation for that jurisdiction. The police department is usually involved; they call the next towing company out of rotation. It’s towed from wherever it is, it’s held for a certain period of time, and then it’s auctioned off. That way it protects the right of that vehicle owner so that whatever the value of the car is will go to the vehicle owner. Now it’s subtracted out for the price of the towing, for the storage, usually there’s not much left over for the vehicle owner.

Protection Against Loss
But the reason why that process is in place is to protect against a very high-value vehicle. Let’s say there’s a car that’s worth ten or fifteen thousand dollars that somehow is abandoned or lost track of. That value isn’t absorbed by somebody or doesn’t become a liability to the owner to lose their car. So it’s going to go through a legal process so that the value of the vehicle when the car is auctioned is paid to the towing company, but they first subtract their fee for towing and storage. The rest is given to the last title donor.

Alternative Methods
So if you have a car that is abandoned somewhere, you can go through that process. But if the only reason you’re looking at an abandoned vehicle process is to get a title for a car you’ve acquired otherwise, there are other processes to go through that actually cost less money and are more of a direct process for you to get a title.

Consider Other Scenarios
There’s another thing to consider. The car that you think is abandoned could have a legitimate scenario. It could be in storage, the person could be on vacation, they could be overseas in the military, there could be a number of reasons. It also could have a lien on it. The person could have left it because they didn’t finish paying the payments. In that case, the bank owns it. It’s not abandoned, the bank just doesn’t know where it is.

So there are laws for abandoned vehicles to pass over title, but it’s not a substitute for title recovery just because you don’t have a title for a vehicle or it’s difficult to get. If you think the title is difficult to get, contact us at our website, We can have our title experts look at your scenario and find a way that you can figure out how to get a title all by yourself.

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