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How to file for a lost title

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A vehicle title is a very important document for vehicle owners. Although it might seem like a small and insignificant paper, the government takes this document quite seriously and so should you. If you still have yours, then you should make duplicates and keep them in different safe places in order to avoid having issues with law enforcement for any reason at all. This document is just as important as your vehicle license so you should not own a vehicle without having one to back up your ownership.

What is a Vehicle Title?

In the simplest way possible, a vehicle title is a physical evidence that indicates that you are the true owner of your vehicle. As the true owner of the car, the vehicle title should bear your name as the legal owner. Hence, if your car title does not bear your name, then you might need to have it checked out as the only circumstance under which this is acceptable is when you take a loan to get your car, of which the vehicle title will bear the name of the lienholder.

The lienholder’s name will remain on the vehicle title until the loan is fully paid off, after which it can subsequently get changed to your name. It is important to note that if you fail to change the name on the vehicle title to your name afterwards, it will be utterly impossible for you to sell your vehicle without it.

The process involved in replacing a Vehicle Title

If you check your vehicle title and then you realize that it does not bear your name or that it is lost, then you should waste no time trying to correct this. An important thing you need to know about filing for a lost vehicle title is that it varies by state. So, the first thing you want to do is to ensure that you check for the unique requirements of the state that you live in before filing for a title. After checking for these requirements, then the next thing you want to do is to get these documents and requirements ready for the process.

So, make reasonable effort to have them compiled before starting the process. However, it is also important to note that the process usually varies depending on the unique circumstance of your vehicle title. The process which you undergo when replacing a vehicle title that was in your name is a little different from when you are replacing a vehicle title that was not in your name.

How to replace a vehicle title that used to be in your name

For this kind of replacement, most states allow you to get replacements by applying through their local department of motor vehicles office. However, the catch is you may be required to show a document that serves as an evidence of ownership (these could be documents that show that you paid back a loan for the purchase of the vehicle). After this, you will be required to pay a token to obtain a replacement. It is worthy to note that although the requirements may vary from state to state, you may also need to provide the vehicle identification number (VIN) of your car.

Referring to the application process for Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation, you will need to provide your driver’s license or any other valid means of identification. You also need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number and a valid email address along with other relevant details to complete your application process for a replacement title. However, it is worthy to note that a replacement title will bear a note that states that it is a replacement title on the document.

How to replace a vehicle title that was never in your name

In cases like this, you most likely purchased a vehicle from a private seller who might have misplaced the title before they transferred it to your name. In such a case, it is still possible to have the title transferred to your name. One way to go about this is to ask the previous owner of the vehicle to submit a replacement request, and when they do this, they can then sign over the duplicate title over to you as soon as they get it.

If this is not an option in your state, then it is worthy to note that a few states allow you to get a vehicle title using a court order. To undergo this process, you will need to appear in court where the judge will award you ownership of the vehicle by court order. When this is done, you can then go ahead to complete your application for a title with a court order. Applying for a vehicle title using a court order is usually successful when the court order has the following supporting information like the vehicle’s VIN and manufacturer. Another set of people who are eligible to obtain a title using this method are people who have inherited it from an estate and would like to offer it up for sale.

How long does the process of getting a new vehicle title take?

The duration for filing for a lost vehicle title varies from state to state. You need to be vigilant while applying to avoid cases of fraud. Know your rights and the laws in each state and have a full understanding of the processes, limitations, and methods of receipt of an original and a replacement title. A few states like Michigan also allow you to request for same-day service if you need to obtain a vehicle title immediately.

Most importantly, after obtaining your title, ensure that you keep it in a safe place to reduce the risk of losing it again. However, if you end up losing it again, ensure that you check your state’s requirements for getting a title. A vehicle title is not optional, it is mandated by the law, and if you drive a vehicle without one, then you should start the process of obtaining yours as well.

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