Getting a Bonded Title in Iowa: A Complete Guide

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What is a bonded title in Iowa?

An Iowa bonded title is a certificate of title – proving you own your vehicle – with a surety bond attached. If you purchase a car in Iowa without receiving a title or lost it before transferring it to your name, you may need a bonded title.

The surety bond is called a title bond. It may also go by other names, like a certificate of title bond, lost title bond, DMV bond, or defective title bond. The surety bond allows you to claim ownership of your vehicle while protecting parties that could suffer financially as a result. For example, if the valid owner comes forward while the bond is active, they can file a claim to receive compensation for their losses (more on this later).

Get Your Iowa Title Bond:

Quick Takeaways

  • An Iowa bonded title is a certificate of title – proving you own your vehicle – with a surety bond attached.
  • The surety bond allows you to claim ownership of your vehicle while protecting parties that could suffer financially as a result.
  • Contact your local DMV to determine if you qualify for a bonded title in Iowa.
  • Iowa title bonds are quickly issued, typically cost around $100, and have a 3-year bond period.

How does a bonded title work in Iowa?

Contact your local DMV to determine if you qualify for a bonded title. In general, if you bought a car in Iowa without a title and have no way of retrieving it, you can apply for a bonded title. Maybe your title was incorrectly assigned to you, or you lost your title before it was issued to you. Any of these three scenarios could qualify you for a bonded title.

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A bonded title allows you to sell, register, insure, or transfer ownership of your car – even if you don’t have a regular certificate of title. A title bond guarantees that you’re the true vehicle owner. If you’re not, the actual owner can come forward and make a claim on your bond for compensation. Any lienholders (lenders with legal claims on your property) can also file claims against you. If the claims are valid, your surety will cover the costs to you up to the total bond value. You must then repay them in full.

Lost Titles

If the title was issued correctly in your name at one point and you lost it, you won’t need a bonded title. Instead, you can apply for a duplicate certificate of title. The fee is $25.

Junking Certificates

If your vehicle was issued a “junking certificate,” you can’t reinstate your title through bonding unless your car is at least 25 years old.

How to Get a Bonded Title in Iowa

To get a bonded title in Iowa, follow this general process.

1. Apply for your bonded title.

Complete the Application for Registration and Bonded Certificate of Title for a Vehicle form, and then sign it.

2. Submit a copy of any written document you received at the time of purchase to the Iowa DOT.

This could be a bill of sale or a canceled check.

3. Wait for the Iowa DOT to conduct a title search.

The Iowa DOT will find out if there’s an active title record or junking certificate record for your vehicle. If there is, the DOT will contact the last owner by mail. The owner may claim the car as their own or waive the claim. If the DOT receives no response, they will move forward with the bonded titling process.

4. Learn the current value of your vehicle from the DOT.

The DOT will send you a bond form with the current value of your vehicle, the required bond amount, and further instructions. You will need this to obtain your surety bond in the next step.

5. Get an Iowa title bond.

Buy a title bond from a reputable surety provider like ZipBonds. Your bond value should be one and a half times the current value of your vehicle. Once you get your bond (signed by you and your surety), print it and submit it to the DOT’s Office of Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services.

6. Send a bond receipt and letter to the DOT Bureau of Investigations and Identity Protection.

The letter should authorize the country treasurer to issue you a title. If the investigator reviews your paperwork and approves it, the DOT will send you an approval letter.

7. Take the approval letter to the county treasurer.

The last step is filling out a bonded title certificate application, paying applicable fees, and registering your vehicle. You must hold your bond for three years. Once the bond expires, there’s no further requirement.

How much does an Iowa bonded title cost?

Iowa title bonds are quickly issued, typically cost around $100, and have a 3-year bond period. If your vehicle is valued at over $25,000, the cost may be slightly higher. After the bond expires, there is no requirement for the bond. You will be eligible for a standard certificate of title.

Get a Title Bond in Iowa

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.