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  • Replacing a Lost Title in Iowa

    Replacing a Lost Title in Iowa

    The Iowa Department of Transportation recommends that you protect your certificate of title by storing it in a safe place. Unlike your vehicle registration card, you should never store your title in your vehicle. It's best to keep it in a safe deposit box or other secure location where you can easily find it.

    A certificate of title is the legal document that proves you are the owner of your vehicle. A title is needed to register your vehicle for the first time. In addition, you can't sell your car or donate it to a non-profit organization without a valid title. If you lost your title, you'll need to apply for a replacement as soon as you're able. Continue reading this page for specific instructions on how to apply for a duplicate Iowa vehicle title.

    NOTE: Contrary to popular belief, your vehicle registration card is not the same as a vehicle title. Vehicle registrations are processed yearly, while titles are only acquired when ownership of a vehicle changes hands when you sell or purchase a vehicle. You can learn more about the different titling scenarios at our page about title transfers.

    Applying For a Duplicate IA Vehicle Title

    If your original title is lost or damaged, you must submit your request in person at your local IA DMV office. Unfortunately, you cannot apply for your duplicate title online or by mail.

    To proceed, you can request your duplicate title by:

    Other Duplicate Title Scenarios

    • If your title lists more than 1 owner connected by "and", "or", or "and/or", it is important to remember that all persons listed on the original title must sign the application for a duplicate title.
    • If you have an open lien on your vehicle, the lienholder must apply for the duplicate title or submit a notarized Cancellation of Security Interest (Form 411168) to the county treasurer's office. (The term lienholder typically refers to the banking institution responsible for your car loan.)

    Due to concerns about vehicle theft in Iowa, there is a mandatory waiting period of 5 days to receive a duplicate IA vehicle title. This allows the Iowa Department of Transportation to verify the accuracy of the information on your application.

    Change Your Address on Your Vehicle Title

    If it just so happens you recently moved but also need a duplicate title processed in Iowa, you will need to first submit your address change to the IA DMV.

    Be sure to notify the county treasurer in your former county of residence within 10 days of moving. Once you complete this process, you can jump to the top of this page and learn how to apply for another copy of your IA vehicle title.

    For specific instructions on how to change your address with the Iowa DMV, please visit our page about Changing Your Address.

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