Getting a Duplicate Title With a Lien

By: Alicia Sparks June 9, 2012
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So, you need to replace your vehicle title but the bank technically still owns your car? Don’t worry. Title transfers are a huge part of every motor vehicle agency’s business, so most, if not all, states have a few simple steps in place for replacing a lost title when the vehicle has a lienholder.

1. Find Your State’s Replace Car Title Application

These days, most DMV or state vehicle registration agencies provide duplicate title applications online, but you might have to make a quick trip to pick one up in person. Check our page on lost titles to see if you can download the form from home.

2. Get Your Financial Institution to Sign the Form

Some states' duplicate title applications clearly show where they want the lienholder to sign.

For example, California includes a section for the registered owner (that’d be you) and the legal owner (that’d be your bank or other lender – at least, until you pay off your loan). Similarly, Florida asks for information about who’s making the duplicate title request: the registered owner or the lienholder.

Some states’ applications aren’t as clear, though, and if yours is one of them, be sure to ask a DMV representative if you or your lienholder (or both) is supposed to sign the form.

3. Deliver the Lost Title Application to the DMV

You or your lienholder might mail the application to the DMV, or you might deliver it in person. This depends on your state’s policies. Usually, the application includes delivery instructions. Refer to our DMV Office Finder to locate the nearest branch.

NOTE: Usually, you can’t just mail in or hand deliver the application and expect a replacement title. Chances are, you’ll need to show some proof of identity and residency. Save yourself some time and hassle: Check the application or call the DMV for this information before you submit the application.

4. Pay the Replace Car Title Fee

You’ll pay the lost title fee when you deliver the application. Some states keep this fee within range of the original title and registration fee; others charge just a few dollars

Check your application for the exact fee and payment method options.

5. ...Wait.

Typically, motor vehicle agencies deliver replacement titles via snail mail. It’s likely both you and your lienholder will get a copy.

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