Home » Articles » Titles » Why Do Bonded Titles Need VIN Inspections?
If you find yourself in a state that allows bonded titles, consider yourself fortunate. The bonded title process provides a legitimate avenue for obtaining a title for a vehicle when you lack the proper documentation. However, before you can embark on this journey to secure a bonded title, there’s a crucial step that might seem inconvenient but plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your interests – the VIN inspection.
Before delving into the importance of VIN inspections, let’s briefly outline how the bonded title process works. To initiate the process, you’ll need to sign affidavits detailing how you acquired the vehicle, fill out necessary forms, and obtain a surety bond certificate. This surety bond essentially acts as a financial guarantee to the state that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle.
However, one integral step in this process involves the inspection of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). This inspection is typically conducted by a law enforcement agent – someone sworn and authorized by the state. While some states may allow a DMV agent or a notary to perform the inspection, in most cases, it requires the presence of a law enforcement official.
Why is a VIN inspection a non-negotiable part of the bonded title process? The primary reason is to combat the creation of “clone cars.” These are vehicles that criminals alter by changing the VIN to hide the fact that they are stolen. The VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number, is akin to a car’s social security number, uniquely identifying each vehicle.
Without a VIN inspection, there’s a risk of titling a vehicle that has a fake VIN, concealing its stolen status. Thieves often steal the VIN and affix it to a stolen car, creating a situation where the license plate corresponds to a car with no criminal record. This scenario can lead unsuspecting buyers or title holders into legal complications and potential safety risks.
Consider the case of a woman who purchased a vehicle only to discover that the title was registered to someone else when she attempted to complete the process. This discrepancy arose due to the absence of a VIN inspection. The vehicle, unbeknownst to the buyer, turned out to be stolen, putting her at risk of legal repercussions.
While preventing vehicle theft is a critical aspect of VIN inspections, these inspections also serve to verify the accuracy of the VIN number on your title. Typos and errors in VIN numbers on titles are more common than you might think. The inconvenience of a VIN inspection ensures that the correct VIN is associated with your title, preventing future complications.
While it might be inconvenient to coordinate a VIN inspection with law enforcement – involving either bringing the car to them or having them come to you – consider it an investment in the long-term assurance of your vehicle ownership. This inconvenience is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your paperwork is accurate, your vehicle is legitimate, and you’ve taken steps to protect your interests.
Have you encountered challenges or surprises during the VIN inspection process? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below. Let’s navigate the intricacies of the bonded title journey together, ensuring that every step is a step towards a secure and legitimate vehicle ownership.
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