How to Get a Washington Bonded Title

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Driving through Washington state with a bonded title

What is a bonded title in Washington state?

A Washington bonded title is a certificate of title with a surety bond attached. Vehicle owners without adequate proof of ownership may need to apply for a bonded title.

In the state of Washington, being unable to obtain satisfactory evidence of ownership is called “ownership in doubt.” If you’re in this situation, you can do one of three things:

  1. Apply for a bonded title.
  2. Apply for three-year registration without title, which converts to full ownership after three years (if nobody contests the ownership).
  3. Petition a district or superior court to receive a judgment that awards you ownership of your vehicle. This is called “quieting title to your vehicle.”

If the seller never handed you the title and nobody else tries claiming ownership of your vehicle, consider going with one of the first two options.

Get Your Washington Title Bond:

Quick Takeaways

  • In the state of Washington, being unable to obtain satisfactory evidence of ownership is called “ownership in doubt.”
  • If you don’t have adequate proof of ownership, you can apply for a bonded title or three-year registration without a title.
  • When you purchase a bonded title, you guarantee that you’re the vehicle’s true owner.
  • Washington title bonds are quickly issued, typically cost around $100, and have a 3-year bond period.

When do you need a WA bonded title?

If any of the following criteria are true, you may qualify for a bonded title in Washington state:

  • Your title was incorrectly assigned to you upon transfer.
  • You never received a vehicle title.
  • The previous owner doesn’t have the title.
  • You lost the original title before it was transferred to your name.

If you had the original title in your name and lost or damaged it, you can apply for a replacement title (a more straightforward process). Fill out the “Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest” form.

How to Get a Bonded Title in Washington

Before applying for a bonded title, contact the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) to ensure you qualify. If you do, compile the following documents to submit with your application.

1. Original or Copies of Letters to Previous Owners

Request a vehicle record search to determine who may have the original title and if any lienholders exist. Then reach out via certified mail, asking the registered title owner to sign the title over to you. Ask any lienholders to release liens on the vehicle.

Include the letters (copies or originals if returned unclaimed) with your application.

2. Vehicle Appraisal

Start by determining the value of your vehicle using any of the following methods:

  • The department’s automated valuing system
  • An appraisal from the Department of Revenue
  • A published appraisal guide (like NADA or Kelley Blue Book)
  • An appraisal from an appraisal company or a licensed dealer (make sure the appraisal is on company letterhead with a business card attached)

Next, you can calculate your bond amount by multiplying your car’s value by 1.5. For example, if your vehicle is worth $4,000, you will need a $6,000 bond.

3. Washington Title Bond

You can apply for a title bond with a surety provider like ZipBonds. They often cost $100 and are issued instantly.

4. Bonded Title or Three-Year Registration Without Title Affidavit

Fill out this form to explain how you got your car and why you don’t have a title.

5. Certificate of Ownership Application

Fill out a standard Vehicle Title Application.

Once you have all these documents in hand and completed, submit them to the Washington DOL. They will review your application and issue you a title if you’re approved.

How do Washington bonded titles work?

With a bonded title, you can insure your vehicle and sell it if you want – you’ll simply transfer the bonded title to the new owner if you do. However, you will still be responsible for any claims that surface during the three-year bond period.

When you purchase a bonded title, you guarantee that you’re the vehicle’s real owner. The bond protects anyone who may have a financial interest in your car (past owners, lienholders, etc.). If someone files a claim on your bond claiming that you aren’t the rightful owner or that you owe them money, your surety will investigate to determine if the claim is valid. If it is, you must settle it.

Washington bonded titles are active for three years and then expire. If no one files a claim against your bond during this period, you can visit your DMV to remove the “bonded” brand and receive a standard car title.

Washington title bonds are quickly issued, typically cost around $100, and have a 3-year bond period. 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 Washington 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 We’ll walk you through the process for title bonds to help you get bonded in a flash.



Founders Ryan Swalve and Zach Mefferd formed the vision for 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.