If you lack a title document for your vehicle, you should consider applying for a bonded title. This will involve considerable expense and a moderate amount of research. In fact, you will probably need the assistance of an insurance appraiser. Nevertheless, a bonded title will serve as an acceptable substitute for a standard title document. Several steps are involved before a bonded title will be issued.
Determine the appropriate bonded title application authorities within your state government. In most states, bonded titles are handled by the state Department of Transportation's subdivision responsible for vehicle titling and registration.
Gather documentation proving that you are a state resident. State residency can be demonstrated by a lease agreement, house title, or several recent utility bills.
Download a Statement of Physical Inspection or its equivalent in your state from the website of the appropriate bonded title authority. Inspect the vehicle and determine the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which should be shown on the exterior of the vehicle. If you cannot determine the VIN, you may be declared ineligible to receive a bonded title. Complete the Statement of Physical Inspection by listing the vehicle's make, model, year, and VIN, and sign the form.
Download a Statement of Fact for Bonded Title (or its equivalent in your state) from the website of the appropriate bonded title authority, and complete and sign it. You will have to attest to whether your vehicle qualifies as abandoned or junked, whether it has been reported stolen, whether it meets federal safety requirements, whether there are any liens against it, and certain other facts. You will also have to explain how you came into possession of the vehicle, whether it is operable, and whether it has a motor,a body, and a frame.
Gather any evidence of your ownership of the vehicle, such as an invoice, and submit it to the appropriate bonded title authority along with the Statement of Fact for Bonded Title, the Statement of Physical Inspection, and proof of state residency to the appropriate bonded title authority in your state. If your documents are approved, you will be notified of the amount of the bond (the bond amount is usually more than the book value of the vehicle).
Take your notification letter and any other documents sent to you by the state approval authority to any agency that sells surety bonds. Both the approval authority and most auto insurance agencies should be able to handle this.
Take the documents used in Step 6 along with proof of purchase of a surety bond and proof of insurance to your county tax office to apply for a bonded title. Some jurisdictions may require additional documentation.
- Additional work may be required if your vehicle is from out of state or out of the country, or if it is a commercial vehicle or a heavy truck.
- An insurance appraiser should be able to determine if your vehicle legally qualifies as abandoned or junked and if it meets federal safety requirements. Your state police should be able to determine if your vehicle has been reported stolen in any state.