How to register a car without a title

Obtaining a Bonded Title

In many states, if a title cannot be located, a bonded title can be obtained instead. A bonded title is a way of proving that you are invested in owning the car and are willing to take the time and pay the money to obtain a surety bond to prove ownership. To obtain a bonded title, you must first check with the DMV to see if there are any liens against the car.

Next, find a surety bond company to find out what you need to get a lost title bond in your state. Then get a vehicle valuation performed so you and the bond company will know how much the bond should be for. At this point, you will need to purchase the title bond, which you can then use to register the vehicle. Read More: What is a Bonded Title?

Get a bill of sale

It’s crucial to have a written record of your purchase, so you will need an ironclad bill of sale. While it doesn’t hold the same legal weight as a title, it will offer some protection. The bill of sale should include the following:
  • The terms of the agreement

  • VIN

  • Name of the last title owner

  • Contact information for all involved parties

In addition to the bill of sale, you’ll want a clear record of payment that can be proven later, if need be. A check or a bank draft would be a smart choice since these are written records of the purchase. MORE: How to get car insurance before buying a car


Purchasing a duplicate title

If you need to replace your Michigan vehicle title, apply for a duplicate title through your online Secretary of State account. Duplicate titles cost $15.

If you have a lien on your vehicle, the title will be sent to your lienholder.

Go to Online Services

Title duplicate or replacement

Information for out-of-state residents

Finding cheap car insurance

Now that you have purchased and registered your car, you’ll need car insurance to legally drive and be protected on the road. An intelligent AI-based tool like Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a car insurance policy that is customized for you.After providing you with a comprehensive cross-analysis of the best policies across providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so that you don’t have to. So why do all that extra work when Jerry can do it better?But don’t take it from us, see what Jerry’s customers are saying!

"I just had to buy a new car and I needed quick help to get insurance before I could get my plates. Because I work so many hours, Jerry was the ideal choice for getting things done without long phone calls and waiting periods." ––Rosa G.

Can You Sell a Car if You Lost the Title?

Depending on your state, you may be able to sell a car if you’ve lost the title, but doing so will require the buyer to go through the challenges necessary to obtain title. If you ever had a title for the vehicle, you can obtain a replacement title more easily. While the process is a little different in each state, it generally requires filling out a form and paying a processing fee. Taking this step before selling your vehicle will likely increase the sale price, as the buyer will not have any questions about the legitimacy of the sale and will not have to go through the process of obtaining a title.

If the value of the car is so low that obtaining a new title seems like too much effort to go through before selling, or if you live in a state, like Idaho, where it is illegal to sell a car without a title, many auto salvage yards will buy vehicles without titles, which are unnecessary for junking a car.

  • How to register a vehicle without a title varies by state, but in many cases you will need to find the last person to hold a title for the vehicle first.


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