How to Obtain a Title for a Car

As cars pass from one owner to the next, the titles can get lost, stolen or destroyed. In most states, you cannot legally sell a car without the title, and in order to obtain registration and insurance, you must have the title for a vehicle you plan to drive. Even if you want to dispose of an old car that no longer runs, you will need a title before you can scrap it.

Obtain the form from your local DMV office for a duplicate certificate of title. You can pick up this form from the DMV site, or download a PDF copy of the application to print and fill out.

Include all your correct information while filling out the application to ensure there is no delay once you file the form. You must include the original title number, the vehicle identification number (VIN), owner and co-owner information, valid driver's license or state-issue identification number, and proof that any liens on the vehicle have been satisfied.

Read More: How to File For a Lost Title

Sign and date the application.

Write a check or obtain a money order for the exact amount of any fees required to acquire a new title and include it with your application. Do not send cash.

Mail the application and required fee to the main branch of your state's DMV office.


  • While the process is generally the same, title acquisition processes will vary from state to state.
  • In the event that the original title was lost in the mail, you may not be required to pay the fee.
  • There are a number of companies that specialize in helping you locate lost car titles for a fee. While these companies are legitimate, it is best to go through your DMV before trying another route.

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