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How to Get a Bonded Title in California

A bonded title is a type of vehicle title that is issued using a surety bond when the vehicle owner does not have valid prior title documents or those documents have been damaged. Typically, a vehicle title is signed over to the new owner by the prior titleholder when purchasing the vehicle. If you live in California and you are trying to obtain a new vehicle title without valid prior title documents, you may be able to obtain a bonded title. How do you obtain a bonded title in California?

Step 1: Determine if the vehicle is eligible for a bonded title.

When the required supporting evidence of ownership is not available and at least one of the following conditions exists, a Motor Vehicle Ownership Surety Bond (REG 5057) or a bond alternative must be submitted:

  • The vehicle value is $5,000 or more
  • The vessel value is $2,000 or more
  • The vehicle is nontransferable
  • Release from the legal owner and lienholder cannot be obtained

What is a non-transferable vehicle?

Registration issued to out-of-state vehicles when their owners are unable to show proof of ownership is called non-transferable registration. Until those conditions are met, the vehicle cannot be sold, transferred, or issued a California Certificate of Title.

Simply completing a Motor Vehicle Ownership Surety Bond (REG 5057) form is acceptable under the following circumstances:

  • When regular evidence of ownership is unobtainable or unable to be presented and a bond is required, including vehicles or vessels from other states or countries.
  • The Motor Vehicle Ownership Surety Bond form correctly identifies the vessel, has a rider attached covering the vessel, and is issued by an admitted surety insurer authorized to do business in California.

If your vehicle meets the eligibility of a bonded title in California, a surety bond must be obtained to secure the assignment of title.

Step 2: Purchase a surety bond.

A bond is required for the fair market value of the vehicle or vessel, as determined by one of the following methods:

  • A written appraisal is provided by a California licensed dealer or another state-licensed dealer, authorized motor vehicle insurance representative, or shipbroker.
  • A Motor Vehicle Ownership Surety Bond (REG 5057) form providing the valuation of the motor vehicle from a recognized motor vehicle valuation and pricing sources such as Kelley Blue Book and NADA Guides. The form must also include the calculations for the fair market value. To calculate the fair market value, add together the lowest and highest valuations, then divide that number by two. For example, $2,000 + $4,000 = $6,000, $6,000 / 2 = $3,000 fair market value

If you are applying for a bonded title in California, it’s imperative to note that the bond must be signed by the surety and the signature must be notarized. Some surety companies may preprint a bond with the surety’s signature and notary acknowledgment. This is not accepted in California. The bond cannot be preprinted with signatures, the surety must have their signature notarized.

In California, titles are recorded in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Missing ownership documents can complicate the title application process. In order to avoid delays and other legal issues, consider applying for a bonded title. This type of title designation is not permanent; after a few years, the bonded title designation will be removed from your California title. Remember to carefully review your state’s laws and regulations regarding vehicle titles before proceeding with any method of title recovery. takes the hassle out of applying for a title for your vehicle. Our team of title experts can help prepare your paperwork for your California bonded title or any other title recovery method provided.

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For as little as $159 for most processes, we will save you the headache and prepare all of the car title paperwork needed to get you a new title. Simply choose the title recovery method you’d like to use and we’ll get started!

Select your title recovery method:

Order Vermont Title LoopholeOrder Deceased Owner Title TransferOrder Bonded Title ProcessOrder Abandoned Vehicle ProcessOrder Prior Owner ContactOrder Lien Release Request Letter

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

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