Requirements for Replacing a Lost or Damaged Title

By: Staff Writer June 9, 2012
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If you've lost your vehicle title or if it inadvertently got fed into the shredder, you need to order a duplicate title. Even if your car is not on the market, you'll eventually need the title for when the day comes to sell. Regardless of what state you call home, all title transfers require vehicle titles.

Got it? Good. Now, here's what you need to do

  • Complete a replace car title form. Check out our page on replacing a lost title for state-specific document downloads. You can also find this form at your local Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office or download it from the DMV's website. Be aware of possible notarization requirement.
  • Submit the form or forms along with proper payment for the lost title fee to your DMV. Most states give the option of submitting in person or by mail (New York also offers an online option). If you apply in person, be sure to bring proper identification. Processing times vary by state.

NOTE: If your vehicle is titled in a different state from where you live, you must apply for a duplicate title with that state.

Need the vehicle title fast? Inquire about rush service. South Carolina, for example, provides three-day processing for an additional $20.

Also, keep in mind that the duplicate title automatically voids the old title. So if the old title surfaces, protect yourself against possible legal snafus by destroying it.

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