Home » Articles » Titles » How To Get A Car Title In Your Name
If you need to get a car title in your name, there are many different ways to get one depending on your scenario. The process of obtaining a car title can be confusing, especially if you recently moved or you’re missing ownership documents. Many buyers simply choose to not transfer their title to avoid the stress and hassle.
However, there are several reasons why you should transfer your title as soon as possible after buying a car. After all, if the certificate of title is not in your name, you don’t legally own the vehicle.
A car title, or vehicle title, is a legal government document that assigns ownership of a particular vehicle. They’re only issued by a government agency, you cannot buy one online, you can’t download one from the internet, and no company can even sell you a physical title. They can only be issued by the government agency in your state that handles titles and registrations. Normally, that agency is the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or sometimes the Secretary of State, or the Department of Transportation. Different states have different names for these organizations that issue vehicle titles, but typically it’s the DMV.
The easiest way to transfer a car title to a new owner is to have the original certificate of title signed over to the buyer by the owner/seller. For all 50 states, this is the direct process to get a car title in your name. The seller must sign the back of the title and at the same time assign your name as the new owner. Within 10-30 days of the transaction, the buyer must take the signed certificate of title to the DMV along with a state title application to complete the title transfer process.
If you don’t have the signed certificate of title from the prior owner, you can’t transfer the title into your name. Even if you have a bill of sale or other similar documents on the vehicle, unless you have the signed certificate of title, you cannot transfer the ownership.
However, even though the DMV might make it difficult to get a title without proper evidence of ownership, each state does provide acceptable methods of title recovery for situations where ownership evidence is missing. Before trying any of these methods, make sure they are valid to use in your state.
A bonded title, also known as an affidavit title, is a type of vehicle title brand that requires a surety bond to secure the claim of ownership. Most surety bonds cost around $100-$150 to obtain and can be purchased from a surety bond company or most insurance companies. This method, however, is accepted only in 41/50 US states.
The Vermont registration method, also known as the Vermont registration loophole, is a method to get a title for an older vehicle when you only have a bill of sale as proof of ownership. This method requires vehicles to be 15 years old or older, but Vermont is the only state to allow this to be used for out-of-state residents.
Prior owner contact
Sometimes the easiest method is to get in touch with the prior owner and ask them to obtain a duplicate title for you. If the seller is willing to cooperate, you can then have them sign over the duplicate title to you and then you’ll have a valid signed certificate of title ready to be transferred.
If all else fails, you can take the car to court. Figuratively, of course. A court-ordered title is a very valuable method to get a title. It may take some extra steps, but once you have a court order from a judge that declares you the owner of the vehicle, the DMV is required by law to issue you a new title in your name. Use this method as a last resort as the courts will likely require you to attempt to get a title using other methods first.
While there are many different ways, the easiest way to transfer a car title is to have the owner sign over the certificate of title to the buyer’s name. If you aren’t able to obtain the signed certificate of title, it was lost before you could transfer it, or the title was damaged or stolen, you will need to use an alternative method of title recovery to obtain a new title in your name. Remember, until you have a certificate of title in your name, you’re not the owner. If it’s your car, you deserve a title in your name.
CarTitles.com takes the hassle out of applying for a title for your vehicle. Our team of title experts can help prepare your paperwork for your bonded title, Vermont registration process, prior owner contact, court-order title, or any other title recovery method provided.
Want to discuss your complex title problem with a title expert? Schedule a no-obligation, live consultation with a title expert through TelaClient.com!
Don’t let uncertainty hold you back. If it’s your car, you deserve a title.
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