Regarding vehicle ownership, having a clear and legitimate title is crucial. However, there are instances where a car may, for whatever reason, not have the original title. In this case, the owner must obtain a bonded title instead. 

Here’s everything you need to know – from what a bonded title is to how to get one in your state to claim legal ownership of your untitled vehicle.

What is a bonded title?

A bonded title, also called a certificate of title bond, is a legal document that substitutes for the original vehicle title. Your state will issue you a bonded title if your vehicle has no clear title history. 

A bonded title is typically issued if the original goes missing, is damaged, or is otherwise unavailable. The bonded title protects the owner and potential buyers by assuring them that the vehicle’s ownership is legitimate.

Why does my car have a bonded title?

Some of the most common reasons for needing a bonded title include:

  • The vehicle was salvaged or rebuilt.
  • The original title was lost, destroyed, or stolen.
  • The car was abandoned.
  • The vehicle was purchased from a private party, and the seller did not provide a title.
  • The vehicle was purchased from a dealer, and the dealer did not properly title the vehicle.
  • The title has defects, errors, or disputes.

Who needs a bonded title?

Anyone who purchases a vehicle with a title may need a bonded title. This typically occurs if the original title has been lost or stolen. 

How much do title bonds cost?

The cost of a title bond will vary depending on the vehicle’s value and the state you live in. In general, title bonds cost between $100 and $300. 

ZipBonds can often issue these surety bonds for as low as $100 for a 3-year period. Once the bond expires, there are no further bonding requirements. Fill out our simple application to get your title bond.

How to Get a Title Bond in Your State

The process of getting a certificate of title bond will vary depending on the state in which you live. The bond amount you need will be equal to or greater than 1.5 times your vehicle’s value. To complete your bond application, you will likely need to supply the following information:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The make, model, body style, and year of your vehicle
  • The value of your vehicle
  • Whether there’s a lien on the vehicle 

Other Frequently Asked Questions

There is some risk involved in purchasing a car with a bonded title. However, you can minimize risk by researching and buying the car from a reputable dealer. You can ask for a vehicle history report and have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic.

No. The need for a bonded title arises when there are issues with the original title, such as it being lost, damaged, or unavailable. Once you’ve obtained the bonded title and established legal vehicle ownership, you can obtain subsequent titles without a bond (if no further complications or title defects exist). 

A bonded title is a temporary solution to address title-related issues, and once you’ve resolved those issues, future titles won’t require bonding.

You can use a bonded title for various purposes related to vehicle ownership and transactions. Here are some common uses:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Transfer of ownership
  • Getting insurance
  • Resolving title disputes
  • Registering a vehicle with the DMV

There may be some restrictions on what you can do with the vehicle, such as being unable to drive it out of state. The specific uses and acceptance of a bonded title vary by state and the policies of individual institutions. You can consult with your local DMV to learn the requirements and applications of a bonded title in your jurisdiction.

Changing the ownership of a vehicle without a title can be challenging, as the title serves as a legal document that establishes ownership. However, alternative processes may be available depending on the circumstances and the state you reside in. Here are a few options you can explore:

  • Bonded title: If you can’t obtain the original title, you can pursue a bonded title, as discussed in the previous sections. A bonded title can substitute for the missing title and establish your ownership.
  • Court order: In some cases, you can obtain a court order declaring you the rightful owner. This typically involves filing a lawsuit and providing evidence to support your claim of ownership. The court will evaluate the case and issue a ruling accordingly.
  • Abandoned vehicle process: If you come across an abandoned vehicle and wish to claim ownership, you can follow the abandoned vehicle process established by your state. This typically involves reporting the car to the appropriate authorities, completing the required paperwork, and waiting for a specified period before obtaining ownership.
  • You’re the spouse or child of the owner: In certain states, you may be able to transfer ownership of a vehicle with a bonded title if you are the spouse or child of the current owner.

Get Your Title Bond Today

If you need a title bond, you can apply on our website or contact us via phone, email or live chat. Just call (888) 435-4191 or email We’ll help you get your bond in a zip!

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