Title Bonds for Lost or Stolen Vehicle Titles

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What is a title bond?

A title bond (often called a certificate of title bond) is a surety bond you can get to claim ownership of a vehicle without a title. Without this license and permit bond, you can’t legally register, sell, or insure your car. Title bonds protect prior owners and others who may have security interests in the vehicle from potential damages.

This bond goes by several other names as well:

  • Lost title bond
  • Certificate of title bond
  • DMV bond
  • Defective title bond

So when you need to register your vehicle but don’t have the title because it was stolen or lost, you can get a surety bond that allows you to claim legal ownership and register it successfully with the state.

Already know you need a title bond and want to begin the application right away? Click here for step-by-step instructions.

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Quick Takeaways

  • A title bond (certificate of title or lost title bond) allows you to claim legal ownership of a vehicle without a title.
  • The original title for your vehicle could have been lost or stolen, or the seller may have intentionally sold you a car without handing over the title.
  • In most cases, the bond amount required will be equal to or greater than 1.5 times the value of your vehicle.
  • These bonds are quickly issued, typically cost $100, and have a 3-year bond period.

How a Vehicle Title Works

The government should issue a certificate (vehicle title) that includes specific information about your vehicle to prove that you own your car. Here’s some of the data it should include:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Legal owner’s name
  • Make and model of the vehicle
  • Weight class
  • Odometer reading (when the car is sold)
  • Lienholder information (if the sale is being financed)
  • Whether the title is clean or has a record of damage

You should apply for a certificate of title when you purchase a new vehicle. Visit your local DMV, taking along a valid ID, bill of sale (or other proof of ownership), the application for your title, proof of insurance, and money for any applicable fees. You could pay anywhere from $5 to $150 for your title.

Who needs a bonded title?

If you don’t receive a valid, physical certificate of title when you buy your car, you may need to obtain a bonded version of a car title. The original title for your vehicle could have been lost or stolen, or the seller may have intentionally sold you a car without it.

Bonded titles are available in most of the United States. However, specific states may not allow bonded titles (like Kansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania). They may offer court-ordered titles instead (Ohio and Indiana). Check with your DMV to learn how to get a car title in your state.

How do title bonds work?

To clarify, we’re explicitly talking about the bond that you attach to a certificate of title on a vehicle without an original title. Title bonds are legal contracts between three parties:

  • Obligee: State requiring the bonded title
  • Principal: Owner of the vehicle who buys the bond
  • Surety: Financial institution that underwrites and issues the bond

When a principal purchases a surety bond, they take responsibility (legally and financially) for what’s outlined in the surety contract. If they fail to abide by the contract terms, the DMV or another party can file a claim against the bond. The surety may step in to cover the claim (up to the full bond amount), but the principal must ultimately pay them back.

How do you obtain a bonded title?

Note that the process may vary based on your state’s specific requirements.

  1. Visit your local DMV to apply for the title.
  2. Fill out applicable paperwork and pay a fee (find your state-specific application below).
  3. If your bonded title application is approved, your DMV will tell you the required surety bond amount.
  4. Obtain your title bond from a surety provider like ZipBonds by paying a premium.
  5. Print and physically sign your new bond.
  6. Submit the bond (along with other required documents) to your county tax office to receive the bonded title for your car.

Fill out your state-specific application to get a jumpstart on the process.

How much do title bonds cost?

These bonds are quickly issued, typically cost $100, and have a 3-year bond period. After the bond expires, there is no requirement for the bond.

Certificate of Title Bond Requirements

Every state has different requirements for the total bond amount (bond penalty). However, in most cases, the bond amount required is equal to or greater than 1.5 times the car’s value. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will determine the value of your vehicle.

The DOT of the Department of Motor Vehicles should provide you with a bond form and/or letter with all the necessary information the surety company needs. The required information should include:

  • The bond penalty
  • Value of the vehicle
  • Vehicle make, model, and year
  • VIN

Get a Title Bond in Your State

The experts at ZipBonds can help you obtain the bond you need. To connect with one of our team members, please give us a call at 888-435-4191 or email us at support@zipbonds.com. We’ll walk you through the process for title bonds to help you get bonded in a flash.

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About ZipBonds.com

Founders Ryan Swalve and Zach Mefferd formed the vision for ZipBonds.com when they realized how overly complicated it was to help clients place surety. The frustration of being unable to incorporate the technology they’d used in other insurance-focused projects left them thinking “there has to be a better way.”

Fast forward a couple of years, and that better way is the impetus of everything we do at ZipBonds. We constantly look for innovative ways to improve the bonding process for our clients and agents. Our team comprises individuals who understand all angles of surety – for companies, agencies, and individuals. Incorporating everyone’s point of view to improve the process while simultaneously integrating cutting-edge technology is what sets our business apart.