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Published: July 5, 2022Last updated: November 16, 2022

How to Get a New Car Title

Apply for a duplicate title and find out how much it costs in your state.

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When you purchase a new or used vehicle, the salesperson will give you several important documents, including the title. A car title is a certificate that proves you own a vehicle. It includes key details, such as the car’s make, model, VIN number, your name, and the lienholder — if the car is leased or financed.

Unlike a car insurance ID card, you don’t have to drive around with the title in your vehicle. It’s important to hold onto the title and store it in a safe place, though. However, if you lose your title, it’s possible to get a duplicate. In this guide, we’ll explain how to apply for a new car title and how much it will cost in your state.

How to Obtain Your New Car Title

How to Obtain Your New Car Title

1. Contact Your Local DMV.

In most states, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) handles duplicate car title requests. Visit your state DMV’s website and search for the instructions on how to get a duplicate title.

On the DMV’s website, you may find separate instructions for obtaining a duplicate title and a replacement title. This is because duplicate titles and replacement titles usually have different paperwork and purposes. A duplicate title may be required if you lose your old title, whereas a replacement title may be required if you were  recently married and need to change the name on the original title.

If you can’t find the information from your local DMV, check the county clerk’s office of the county in which you registered the car.

2. Fill Out the Paperwork.

The next step is to fill out the necessary paperwork. Depending on your state, you might be able to download the duplicate title forms online and mail them to the appropriate address.

However, some states require you to visit the DMV in person. In either case, make sure you’re filling out the correct form in its entirety. If you have questions, contact a DMV representative.

Additionally, many states require a notary to sign your replacement car title paperwork, especially if you are submitting the form via mail. The cost of getting a form notarized is less than $10 in most states.1 Banks, courthouses, post offices, and shipping stores usually have notarization services available. And if you visit your personal bank, they may waive the fees.

In the following table, you can see how much it costs to get a form notarized in each state. However, the type of notarization you need depends on your location. For an acknowledgment, you must sign the document in front of the notary public and “acknowledge” that you willingly signed. For a jurat, you must swear that the contents of the document are true — in the case of a car title, you are promising that you are the legal owner.

State Acknowledgments Jurats
Alabama $5 $5
Alaska Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Arizona $10 $10
Arkansas Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
California $15 $15
Colorado $5 $5
Connecticut $5 $5
Delaware $5 $5
Florida $10 $10
Georgia $2 $2
Hawaii $5 $5
Idaho $5 $5
Illinois $1 $1
Indiana $10 $10
Iowa Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Kansas Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Kentucky Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Louisiana Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Maine Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Maryland $4 $4
Massachusetts Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Michigan $10 $10
Minnesota $5 $5
Mississippi $5 $5
Missouri $5 $5
Montana $10 $10
Nebraska $5 $2
Nevada $15 $15
New Hampshire $10 $10
New Jersey $17.50 $17.50
New Mexico $5 $5
New York $2 $2
North Carolina $5 $5
North Dakota $5 $5
Ohio $5 $5
Oklahoma $5 $5
Oregon $10 $10
Pennsylvania $5 $5
Rhode Island $5 $5
South Carolina $5 $5
South Dakota $10 $10
Tennessee Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Texas $6 $6
Utah $10 $10
Vermont Notaries set their own fees. Notaries set their own fees.
Virginia $5 $5
Washington, D.C. $5 $5
Washington state $10 $10
West Virginia $10 $10
Wisconsin $5 $5
Wyoming $10 $0

3. Provide Proof of Car Ownership and Proof of Identity.

To get a new title for your car, you must provide both proof of ownership and proof of identity. You can’t request a replacement title without first proving that you own the vehicle or have the legal right to own it.

The strongest form of proof of car ownership is the original vehicle title. However, if you don’t have the original title, you can submit these other items as proof of car ownership:

  • Loan statement
  • Vehicle bill of sale
  • Sales tax receipt

You will also have to provide a form of personal identification with your proof of car ownership documents. The DMV or county clerk’s office will accept these documents as sufficient proof of identity:

  • Current passport
  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth certificate

4. Pay the Duplicate Title Fee.

Similar to car insurance, the cost for a duplicate title varies by state.

State New title fee Duplicate title fee
Alabama $15-$23 $15
Alaska $15 $15
Arizona $4 $4
Arkansas $10 $10
California $23 $23
Colorado $7.20 $8.20
Connecticut $25 $25
Delaware $35-$55 $50
Florida $77.25 $75.25
Georgia $18 $8
Hawaii $12 $5
Idaho $14 $14
Illinois $155 $50
Indiana $4-$30 $8-$15.50
Iowa $2.50 $25
Kansas $8 $10
Kentucky $9-$25 $6
Louisiana $68.50 $12
Maine $33 $33
Maryland $40-$100 $20
Massachusetts $75 $25
Michigan $15 $15
Minnesota $8.25 $7.25
Mississippi $26 $5
Missouri $14.50 $14.50
Montana $10.30-$12.36 $10.30
Nebraska $10 $14
Nevada $28.25 $20
New Hampshire $25 $25
New Jersey $60-$110 $60
New Mexico N/A N/A
New York $50 $20
North Carolina $56 $21.50
North Dakota $7 $5
Ohio $15 $15
Oklahoma $11 $11
Oregon $90 $27
Pennsylvania $58 $58
Rhode Island $52.50 $52.50
South Carolina $15 $15
South Dakota $10 $10
Tennessee $11 $11
Texas $28 or $33 $2 or $5.45
Utah $6 $6
Vermont $35 $35
Virginia $15 $15
Washington, D.C. $26 $26
Washington state $5.50 $1.25
West Virginia $15 $15
Wisconsin $164 $20
Wyoming $15 $15, only if mailed

CheckNOTE

See what payment methods the DMV or county clerk’s office accepts before you make the trip. Some locations will accept credit cards, but you may avoid a transaction fee by paying with cash or check.

When You Need to Get a New Car Title

  • You want to sell your car. You need your vehicle title to sell a car, whether it’s a private sale or dealership trade-in. If you don’t have a copy of the title, you will need to request a replacement before you can complete the transaction.
  • You want to register a car you just purchased. If you recently purchased a car through a private sale, the seller will need to sign over the title before you can register the vehicle in your name. If the original owner does not have the title, you may need to work with them to get a duplicate title.
  • You changed your name. Because your car title serves as proof of ownership, it needs to include your current legal name. If you changed your marriage status of late, you will need to apply for a replacement title with your new legal name.
  • You notice incorrect information on your title. If you have already received your original vehicle title but there is incorrect or missing information, you should contact your local DMV to get a duplicate with the correct information.

If the Car Title Is in Someone Else’s Name

Getting a duplicate car title when the document is in someone else’s name can complicate the process. For example, if you buy a car from a private seller and the title gets lost during the transaction, the DMV won’t issue a replacement title to you directly.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do as the buyer in this situation. The easiest option would be to ask the previous owner to submit a new title request using the above steps, and then sign over the duplicate title to you when it arrives.

However, you might be able to get a new title through a court order, depending on your state. The process of obtaining a duplicate title via court order involves notifying the vehicle owner and their lien holder of your intent. Then you would explain to a judge why you should have legal ownership of the car.

A Bonded Title Explained

A bonded title is a type of vehicle title that is backed by a surety bond. It’s another way to obtain a vehicle title when you don’t have one. A bonded title allows you to claim legal ownership of a vehicle that is not in your name when the title is missing or has been stolen.

Bonded titles are not very common, and they’re a last resort after you’ve exhausted all other methods. Here are a few situations when you might need a bonded title:

  • You inherited a car or bought a car at auction and the title was missing.
  • You bought a car and learned that the title is in the wrong person’s name.
  • You purchased a vehicle with the title but lost it before becoming the legal owner.

To acquire a bonded title from the DMV, you must get a surety bond. A surety bond protects the original vehicle owner financially if you wrongfully claim legal ownership of their car. If the original owner provides proof that you don’t have legal ownership of the vehicle, they receive the money from the surety bond to cover damages, such as legal fees.

CheckTIP

You can purchase a surety bond from some banks and insurance companies. The required bond amount is typically tied to the fair market value of the vehicle.

Typical Wait Time for a New Car Title

The amount of time it takes to attain a new car title depends on your state. For example, the Illinois DMV won’t issue a duplicate title within 30 days of the request to avoid fraud. However, Michigan offers same-day duplicate titles with no waiting period.

Typical Wait Time for a New Car Title

Your local DMV or county clerk’s office can give you an estimate of how long it will take to receive the new title, but expect it to take at least a few weeks. Your duplicate title will arrive in the mail, so keep an eye on your mailbox.

If Your Car Title Request Is Rejected

If your new car title request is denied, you should first figure out why the application was not accepted. These are some reasons a request might be denied:

  • The title request form is not notarized. If you submit a new car title application without a notary’s signature, your request will automatically be denied.
  • The VIN or other vehicle details are inaccurate. If any information listed on the title is inaccurate, your new title request form will be denied. For example, if the VIN on the bill of sale is different from the VIN on the original title, the application will be rejected.
  • The odometer reading is incorrect or missing. Similarly, if your car’s title has an incorrect odometer reading or if the reading is missing, the DMV will need to update that information in its database before it can issue you a duplicate title.
  • The title is missing signatures. Car titles must have several signatures, including your signature as the legal owner and the lienholder’s signature if you have a loan. If the title is missing any signatures, the DMV can deny your request for a replacement.

If you made an error on the application or forgot to have it notarized, you can probably resubmit the application and wait for the approval. However, if your application was denied because there was an issue with the title itself, you will need to request the title be updated through the DMV.

Recap

Your car title isn’t just a piece of paper — it’s an important document that proves you legally own your vehicle. You should take care to keep your title safe; however, if it gets lost, damaged, or stolen, it’s possible to receive a replacement from your state’s DMV or county clerk’s office. Just follow the steps listed above, pay the replacement fee, and wait a few weeks to get your title in the mail.

FAQs

What do I do if my car title is stolen?

If your car is stolen and the title is in the glove box, you can get a replacement through the DMV — or whichever agency issues new titles in your area. The process of obtaining a new title is usually the same whether the original version is lost, damaged, or stolen.

Can you apply for a new car title online?

Some states allow you to request a new car title online, but others don’t. For example, in New York and Wisconsin, you’re allowed to replace your title online, but in Vermont and Texas you can only get a replacement in person or by mail. Contact your local DMV to find out what options are available.

Does the dealership send you a title when you buy a new car?

When you purchase a new vehicle from a dealership, the salesperson won’t hand you the title on the spot. If you purchase the vehicle outright, the dealership will mail you the title within a few weeks. However, if you finance your vehicle, the dealership will send the title to the loan company until you have paid off the car in full.

There are currently 41 title-holding states, where the lienholder keeps the title until the driver repays the loan. These other nine states are considered non-title-holding states, where the driver gets to keep the title while they pay off their car:

  • Arizona
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Can you get car insurance without a car title?

It’s possible to attain car insurance without a title, but it depends on the situation. You aren’t required to show the auto insurance company the physical title when you apply for a policy. But in most cases, you can only insure a car that’s in your name. If the title is not in your name, you might be able to purchase a non-owner insurance policy.

Citations

  1. 2022 Notary Fees By State. National Notary Association. (2022).
    https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/about-notaries/notary-fees-by-state