Drivers Education

What if You Lose Your Car Title?

It is possible to lose your car title, but what happens thereafter? What if you lose your car title? Does the car still belong to you, or will you be issued alternative paperwork?

If you lose your car title, you can request a duplicate title for your lost title in your state. You would complete the application form, attach your photo ID and pay the replacement fee. The replacement fee differs depending on the state. Within 20 days, the motor vehicle dept. should mail you a new car title.

When your vehicle title is missing, do not delay initiating the solution because it is the primary proof that the car belongs to you.

What if You Lose Your Car Title?

A missing car title may be replaced if an applicant meets the requirements. Note that the replacement laws of a lost title vary by state, but you can always request a new title. The new title is a duplicate that replaces the former and lets you sell your vehicle as a legal owner.

The procedure for obtaining a new title is simple across all states. It’ll only be challenging if you can’t prove that the car belongs to you when submitting the requirements.

If your title is destroyed or lost, the typical process to follow include completing an application form. In Florida, we have the Form HSMV duplicate form. You would require a photo ID, odometer disclosure, and the application fee. Finally, you will mail in or submit the requirement at the local DMV after booking an appointment.

If the car has a lien on it, you’d have to provide the lienholder information. If you pawned the car title, then the pawn shop lets you request a new title if they lose the original. Sometimes, a lien that you paid off may still reflect or remain recorded on the car title. So, the lienholder would be responsible for completing the application form for a duplicate title. In the absence of the lienholder or they can provide an original release of the lien. Your local motor vehicle department will not accept a photocopy or fax; get the original.

Depending on your state, if you lose a car title, you may have to wait for 30 days to qualify for a replacement title.

Are duplicate titles bad?

Also called replacement titles, a duplicate title is not bad. Having a duplicate title shows that you lost the original or it was destroyed. You’d also require a duplicate title after noticing a clerical error on the existing title and various other reasons. With a duplicate, you’d also be able to sell the vehicle and release the lien for the buyer to register it in their name.

How to Get a Duplicate Title for a Lost Car Title

As mentioned earlier, you can replace a lost title. Below are the steps to get a new title for a lost title:

Application by Mail

Below are the steps to request a new title for a lost tile by mail:

  1. Complete the Application Form

First, get and complete the application form online. The application form assumes various names, depending on your state, and you’d find it online through your local motor vehicle department’s website. In Texas, it is known as Form VTR-34. If the car was registered in your name, you may sign the form; otherwise, the lienholder is responsible.

  1. Enclose the Requirements

The requirements for replacing a lost title include a copy(s) of your photo ID, odometer disclosure, and mail-in fee by money order, check, or cashier’s check—the mail-in costs between $2 and $4, payable to your local motor vehicle department.

  1. The Lienholder Can Do

If there is a lien on the car title, the lienholder or agent of the owner must present a letter of signature authority on a business card, original letterhead, or an employee ID copy of the agent.

  1. Mail the Application

Finally, you’d have to mail the application. Make sure to collect and verify your DMV’s mailing address first. It’s easy to get the right mailing address without making phone calls. Using Google or any search engine, search “[name of state DMV] mailing address”.

In-Person Application

You can apply for a duplicate title to replace a lost car title in your state in person. Below are the steps:

  1. Book an Appointment

In most states, you must book an appointment with the regional search center. In Texas, you’d book an appointment with the TxDMV Regional Service Centers online. Visit your DMV’s website to book an appointment if it’s mandatory, or you’d have to wait in the queue aimlessly.

  1. Fill the Application Form

Complete the title replacement application form online. Only a recorded or registered owner(s) of the vehicle must sign the form, and not a non-title or lienholder(s).

Note: the lienholder or their agent must present a signature authority letter on a business card, original letterhead, or a copy of the agent’s employee ID.

  1. Provide Your Photo ID

You would be required to submit your photo ID at the time of application. It could be your national ID, driver’s license (don’t use a phony license), etc. Meanwhile, you may be interested in making a fake driver’s license that works.

  1. Make Payments

The fee for lost title replacement depends on the state, and the average fee is $8. You would have to pay the fee by check, money order, or cash to the cashier. Note that credit or debit cards may not be acceptable.

What is the fee for getting a lost car title?

The average fee for a duplicate title is $8.00. you’d also pay a mail-in fee of $2-$4 if you’re mailing in your application, depending on your state.

How long does it take to get a lost title in the mail?

It takes about 2-3 weeks to get a replacement title by mail from the date of request, processing, and payment. Some states offer to expedite or express title mail delivery at additional cost. You may request these delivery options if you need the title urgently to sell your car or related reasons. Note that you may only request a duplicate title in the state that issued the lost title. Also, you can’t request a lost title replacement if it’s not up to 30 days from the date you received the previous title.

Can you get a duplicate title same day?

Some states let you get duplicate titles as fast as possible, and these titles are still printed in secure facilities. You may apply for expedited options to get your duplicate title sooner. The expedite fee may increase to $20+ and the title is mailed to the lienholder’s address.

Can you sell your car with a replaced lost title?

Yes, you can sell your car with a replaced lost title legally. You’d have to issue the title the same way you’d issue the first original title and sign it over to the buyer.

Final Thoughts

If you find your lost title after obtaining a replacement car title, you may submit it to your local DMV or destroy it. This action keeps your title from ending up in the hands of insincere people that may use it for illicit activities.

Crosscheck your address before applying by mail and you will obtain the new car title within 10-20 business days. As mentioned earlier, car titles are not issued over the counter; they are printed in secure facilities and mailed to your address or the lienholder’s address.

Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

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