Consumer Title Resource | Since 2009!

What Is “Title Jumping”? (Is It Illegal)

Title Jumping Explained
What is title jumping and how is it a problem for you if you’ve purchased a vehicle or you’re trying to sell a vehicle? Well, a title jump is when a vehicle title is signed over and left blank on the back of the title or flip from one person to another without the first buyer getting a new title in their name.

Legal Consequences
There’s a really good article from hot cars about how it can be a serious criminal problem—fines, penalties, and imprisonment. There’s actually people that are in jail for doing title jumping. It’s called the jump title or float title, sometimes called a skip title.

The Illegality of Title Jumping
You buy the car and then sell it without putting it into your name. So first you get an open title, meaning that somebody signs the back it doesn’t fill in the buyer in almost every state. It’s actually a crime to sign a title without writing in the buyer’s name and it’s illegal highly legal in all 50 states according to this article.

Exceptions and Legal Framework
There’s a couple states that allow exceptions for it if there are certain conditions met, talks about here extenuating circumstances somebody’s died or there’s some other scenario but in most cases it’s illegal.

Reasons for Prohibition
The reason for it is because the paper trail looks like the original owner just sold it to the last owner and all the people in between didn’t have any documentation the intermediate buyers were not recorded and that’s a problem because it doesn’t keep track of who owned the vehicle and it also evades taxes and fees.

Curb Stoning and Dealer’s Licenses
Another reason is that there’s some people that try to do what’s called curb stoning where they buy and sell vehicles without getting a dealer’s license so if you’re some person who wants to buy cars from auctions and um flip the car real quick before you put in your name that’s a way to be in a legal dealer.

How Titles Work
Let’s take a look how a title works and what a jump title would look like. Here is the back side of a typical vehicle title and how you would fill that in. First of all as a seller you put your name printed here you sign it there and have it notarized as the buyer you sign it saying you’re acknowledging that the vehicle is transferred to you.

Open Titles and Risks
If you do not sign it or put your name as a buyer this now becomes an open title so anybody could put their name there first of all there’s a risk that if somebody finds this title they can just write their name in and now the owner.

Confiscation and Legal Consequences
However if a person wants to just flip a vehicle and have it signed over to them maybe they’re gonna resell it right away and they don’t have anything written here then they could jump the title or skip the title that creates an illegal act that could create title problems later we talked to a client earlier today actually who went to the dmv with a title that was an open title and the dmv confiscated the title and put a flag on the system that means now the owner who was listed on the front of the title has to come forward and sign some forms before the title be transferred and good luck with that if you’re the buyer getting that owner to come forward because they already have your money so let’s take a look at another example of a title reassignment to see how that might work here’s another example of a reverse side of a title that shows places for reassignment so first it says any.

Visit Our YouTube Channel for more insights and discussions on various topics. Consider subscribing to our YouTube channel. Click here!

Have Title Questions? Talk to a Car Title Expert.

Book a consultation with a Car Title Expert from to get personalized guidance on your title recovery journey.

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

Share this article!

Check Your VIN Instantly:

Powered by