How to Get A Title for a Car with No Title?

I am sure that you don’t want to find yourself in an awkward situation of someone knocking on your door and claiming your car to be theirs. Also, you don’t want to be that someone either! Believe it or not, it may happen when there is an issue with the irregular car title.

The car title is the legal document that declares the ownership of the car. In some states, you can pay the insurance for your vehicle without a car title. However, you can’t register it in any state of the US without that paper. So, let’s check how to get a title for a car with no title if you find yourself in such a situation.

Reasons for Not Having a Car Title

The first thing that comes to your mind when you can’t get a car title for the vehicle is probably some illegal trade or criminal act. Not so rarely, it can be the case. Therefore, keep your eyes wide open when purchasing the vehicle.

You can avoid the ‘hot’ car sale by checking it with your local authorities on time. There is the option to enter the car’s VIN through the National Insurance Crime Bureau, where you can verify whether your vehicle is on the stolen cars list.

However, the most frequent case of not having the car title is that you lost it or damaged it. It can be quite annoying, but it is actually the best-case scenario since the car title is already on your name. You need to go to the nearest DMV and apply for a copy.

How to Get Title in Various Cases

There is a procedure in case you want to buy or have already purchased a particular vehicle without the car title. There is a list of all possibilities and the solutions to the problem you have.

1. Check the car history

Check the car history

The first thing you should do when you plan to buy a particular vehicle is to check its history with the state DMV office. Then, you should verify that document and the status of the car’s title.

You need to provide the VIN of your vehicle, and DMV’s clerk will assist you with the procedure. In case you have already checked if the car is legal, you are ready to continue with your car title quest.

2. The bill of sale

The bill of sale will help you much if you have decided to purchase the car without the title since that paper contains all purchasing details. Therefore, you should pay attention to the following information.

Always check and write down on the bill of sale the mileage, VIN, and the amount of money you have given for that particular car. Also, keep in mind to fill all the information about a seller and buyer in detail, including phone numbers, correct addresses, and legal names for both parties.

The best option is to have a clean trace of money you have spent on a vehicle. Therefore, paying for it by using a bank check is an excellent idea, but having any other paper document is good enough, as well. It will be beneficial in case you need a proof of transaction.

3. Replacement car title

In most cases, the previous owner of the car will ask for a replacement car title. It is doable only if the seller has already had the car title on his or her name. If it is a case, then you need to follow the proper procedure to finish the job.

The owner or seller has to fill in the form for Duplicate Title Request from the DMV. The form should be from the state in which you are. Otherwise, it won’t be legal.

All the details in the document need to be precise, and they include mileage, VIN, address, full name, and identity proof. Once your seller has a duplicate, you can begin the transfer to your name and proceed with purchasing.

4. Lack of documents about the previous owner

Lack of documents about the previous owner

One of the most challenging cases of gaining the car title is when you can’t track the previous owner. It is a case when the seller doesn’t have any documents about that person.

However, if you really want this particular vehicle, you shouldn’t feel discouraged and helpless, even in such a situation. The first thing you need to try is to contact DMV of the state your car is from. That way, you will find out the information about the former owner.

The next step is to find that person. Ask him or her to provide the duplicate of the car title so that you can register the vehicle to your name.

5. Surety title bond

A certificate of a title surety bond is a legal document allowing the owner of the car to claim ownership and register the vehicle when a title has been stolen or lost. However, not all states accept it as legitimate.

Before trying to get one, look up if it is a legal document in your state. It can help you a lot as it is a financial measure that proves the car is yours.

In most states, you will need the sales document, proof of residency in your state, a legal document that the car is not garbage, and the accurate valuation of a vehicle to gain the security bond.

When you prepare all the needed documents, you are ready to ask for issuing the lost title bond.

6. Check for the lien

Before you start car title legalization, the smart thing to do is to check for the lien. You can always contact the DMV and ask them to check if the vehicle has any loans pending on it.

In case you transfer the car title on your name while the car is not fully paid off, the bank will send the bill for a down-payment to your name. Therefore, check the situation thoroughly before taking any actions.


Finally, when you have done all the checking, and you managed to gain surety or lost title bond, or any other DMV approved document that proves that car is yours, you will be able to register the vehicle to your name. Enjoy your driving!