It's Easy to Replace a Car Title You Lost

A car title isn’t something you think about very often, but that single piece of paper is extremely important in proving that you legally own your vehicle. Naturally, they’re easy to misplace – and it’s important to replace a lost title as soon as you realize it’s missing. Contrary to popular belief, replacing a lost title is cheap and easy if you still own the car.

Did a previous owner lose the title? Did you lose a title before getting it transferred to your name? That’s when things get a little more involved – but recovering a long-lost title is still easier than you might think.

Not looking forward to dealing with the DMV? Need more paperwork like you need a hole in the head? We’ll take care of it for you. At Title Gods our streamlined title recovery services start at just $399 and you’ll have a new title in your hand in as little as 4 weeks. All you need is proof of ownership. Bookmark our services now in case you ever need to replace a lost title.

Summary

To replace a lost vehicle title:
  • Visit your state’s DMV website
  • Find, print, and complete a Duplicate Title form
  • Include required documents and fees
  • Mail the form or submit at the DMV

Encountering a lost car title

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! Titles go missing all the time. And whether it was stolen or simply misplaced, it’s quick and easy to replace a lost title. Which one of these describes you?

My title was stolen. What can I do?

A stolen car title is a serious thing. Believe it or not, there is value to having the title to a car even without the car itself. Titles are a commodity on the black market of car thieves and title forgers, where a stolen title could allow someone to sell a stolen vehicle to an unsuspecting person with a quick sleight of hand: by passing off your title as their own.

If their victim registers the stolen title in their name, they technically own your car. While we all know that’s not really the case, it will still take plenty of time to sort that out in the legal system. You could be looking at months of court visits and unnecessary expenses. Read this related article for more details:

Solution: Luckily, ordering a replacement title will automatically void the one that was stolen. That won’t prevent someone from getting scammed, but it will protect your interests by preventing your old title from being registered ever again.

I lost the title to my car. What now?

Imagine you’re getting ready to sell your car. You’re certain you remember where the title is, so you don’t bother to look for it until the day of the sale. But lo and behold: it’s not there! But did it go missing last week or last year? Maybe it was in that box the movers misplaced 20 years ago? Maybe the dog ate it? Who knows!

Solution: You’ve probably heard stories of how difficult replacing a lost title can be, but in most states the process is actually quite simple.

Steps to Replacing a Title You Lost

  • Complete a lost title application (found on your state’s DMV website)

  • Mail the form(s) with all required documents and fees

  • Or, visit your local DMV and complete these steps onsite

Start by finding your state’s DMV website and searching for duplicate title forms. It’s often easier to use Google or another search engine to search for the phrase “[your state] duplicate title form”.

It should go without saying, but proof of ownership will be required.

Paperwork involves filling out your name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle information such as its VIN number, license plate, and year, make, and model. Submit by mail to skip that terrible line at the DMV!

Required documents often include a photocopy of your ID and insurance card, proof of paid property taxes, and a passing inspection slip if applicable. A notary stamp is required in some states.

Additional paperwork may be required if the vehicle has an active lien – in other words, if you have an active loan on it.

The cost of a person replacing their own lost title is usually less than $20.

Turnaround time to receive a replacement title is usually 4-6 weeks – longer in busy areas like Los Angeles and New York. The DMV will not hand you a new title onsite!

This cannot be completed online in most states due to the importance and security of a car title.

Selling a car? Replace the title first

The world is usually a pretty honest place, but car sale sites (especially Craigslist and Marketplace) sometimes aren’t. After discovering you’ve lost the title, your first reaction might be to let potential buyers know about that in the sale ad. That’s a bad idea!

It’s best to wait until you replace the title before trying to find a buyer. Announcing the missing title opens the door to confusion and causes buyers to speculate about what happened to it. Not to mention, a car without a title is much cheaper than a car with one – and selling a car without a title is illegal in many states.

Replace your lost title as soon as possible

The most important thing is to replace the lost title as quickly as possible. As time goes on you’re more likely to need the title for some reason. Or worse, it may have been stolen and someone could be using it to nefarious ends. Anyone can replace a lost or stolen title quickly and cheaply by following the basic steps outlined in this article.

If you have any questions about lost titles or titles in general, feel free to contact us or fill out this 3-question form to have one of our helpful staff members contact you at your convenience.