Did you lose your old title or accidentally spill something onit but need it to register your car?
If that’s the case, you’ll probably need to get a new one. But don’t worry, getting a new car title is a pretty simple process that you can complete in just a few easy steps.
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What Is a Car Title?
A car title is a legal document that clearly states who the rightful owner of a car is. It contains all the information about your car that you would need to later sell or register it.
For example, you can find the car’s make, model, and year. Also, you can see the odometer reading and basic info about the owner.
What’s more, the title can also contain either the name of the current lienholder or the assignment of title. If you’re selling your car, you’ll have to change the name of the latter.
Of course, on every car title, there has to be a vehicle identification number (VIN). A VIN is a 17-character code that the manufacturer has assigned to your car. It can help someone establish what model and type of car it is, where it originated, and more.
Types of Car Titles
If your car has no significant or visible signs of damage, you can have a clean title. However, if you’ve been involved in a car accident or have had flood damage, it’ll show up on your certificate of title.
There are a couple of car title types you can expect to see when buying a used car. The most common ones include:
- Flood — Shows that the car has experienced flood damage and that the water even filled the engine compartment.
- Lemon law — This one will show you if someone previously returned the car due to serious defects.
- Reconstructed — If someone rebuilt or refurbished an old car and it passed the DMV’s inspections, it’ll have a reconstructed title.
- Salvage — A salvage title means that an insurance company has declared the car a total loss, usually due to accident damage.
Why Do You Need a Car Title?
Having a valid car title is key if you want to buy or sell a used car. For example, when buying an old car from a private seller, they have to transfer it over to you. The only way you can register your car is by having the car title to your name.
However, if you’re the one who’s selling, you have to give the title to the new owner when closing the deal.
Keep in mind that if you’ve financed your car, the lienholder will keep the car title until you’ve paid the entire amount. If you want to sell the car before having paid off the lien, you will still have to reimburse the outstanding amount.
How to Get a New Car Title
Depending on the state in which you’re applying for the car title, you might have to go through the DMV or the Department of Revenue. Either way, the process is pretty simple and there are a couple of ways you can go about it.
For this scenario, let’s say you’ve chosen the DMV.
Applying in Person
If you don’t have internet access, you can just stroll down to your local DMV and ask for an application. They should give you the form right away, without any hassle.
However, if you don’t want to bother standing in line, you can go to the DMV’s official website. You should look for the “Vehicle Services” tab, and there, you’ll see “Vehicle Titles.”
Keep in mind that even though you might be able to complete the entire application process there, you still might have to notarize the title. However, if you don’t, you just need to pay the fee that’s usually less than $20.
Applying by Mail or Phone
You can also call or email the DMV and ask for an application to be sent to your home address. Applying for it this way is a perfect solution for those of you who live far away from the DMV.
Collect the Paperwork You Need
Most often, you’ll need some form of personal ID, insurance, and registration forms to get your car title. Of course, you also have to show proof that you’ve paid the fees. You can check to see exactly what you need by calling the DMV’s customer service or on their website.
Complete and Submit Your Application
On the application, you’ll have to fill out basic information like your name, address, contact information, and driver’s license. You’ll also have to put down information about your car’s make, model, year, the odometer reading, and much more.
If someone else is financing the car, you’ll also have to write the lienholder’s information. Finally, you need to state why you’re asking for a new car title and sign the documents.
Once you have your paperwork in order, you can go to the DMV to submit it. They’ll send you the car title within the following 15 to 30 days.
As you can see, getting a new car title is usually a simple and cheap process, and there are a couple of ways you go about it. To start, the DMV or Department of Revenue will ask for some basic info about you and your car. And as soon as you’ve paid the fees — you’re pretty much set and simply have to wait for the new title in the mail.