If you are eager to purchase a vehicle with no title or if you ended up with a car that doesn’t have a title, you need to get that title in your name.

You also may have become a victim of title jumping. Before you purchase the vehicle, you can inquire with the seller about various procedures to get the title renewed.

Since the title proves ownership of the vehicle, it cannot be transferred easily. It can only be transferred upon a successful sale or donation.

What Is a Bonded Title?

A bonded title is a document that proves the person’s ownership of a vehicle. It can also be used as a standard in place of a ‘vehicle title’ to register the vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), to buy insurance, or to buy and sell the car.

But if you are stuck with a car that has no title, you need to ensure that there is minimal risk involved. These tips will show you what to do when a car has no title. 

Why Do You Need a Bonded Title?

A bonded title ensures that you are protected as the owner of the vehicle. 

Sometimes you may end up losing the title before it is transferred into your name. You may also have bought a vehicle that has an improper or unassigned title. The title may also have been damaged or unreadable. 

#1 Inspect the vehicle

Before you purchase the vehicle, it is advisable to have a thorough inspection of the exterior as well as the interior. There may be various dents, scratches, and whatnot. 

Sometimes, it may look perfect from the outside, but there may be issues with the functioning of the engine or chassis, and this cannot be detected unless inspected by a skilled mechanic. 

You can take the vehicle for a test drive to notice issues with the general functioning of the vehicle. 

#2 Ask questions

The easiest way to identify whether the seller is genuine is to ask questions. You can ask various questions about the car, such as when and where it was purchased, why is it being sold, whether it has been serviced regularly, if any work has been done on the vehicle, and so on.

Fraud sellers generally push you towards the purchase; in such cases, you can back off with confidence. They mostly might seem uncomfortable when you ask so many questions about the car.

You can also ask the previous owners for a bill of sale.

#3 Check for a Lien

You also need to check whether the vehicle is paid for or has a title loan. What is an auto loan, you ask? The car title was used for collateral in exchange for money. In such a case, you might be held responsible for continuing the payments on the loan.

If there is an outstanding lien, then it’s advisable to sort it out with the seller or contact the financial institution.

#4 Ensure it’s a legal vehicle

People tend to put an illegal vehicle up for sale. They also tend to sell “hot” vehicles. “Hot” vehicles are those vehicles that were previously involved in unlawful activities.

You can verify this using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the vehicle at a local police department or the DMV.

When you inspect the vehicle, make a note of the VIN. You can run a thorough vehicle investigation online by paying a fee. They provide a comprehensive report of the vehicle history, and this will give you various details required to confirm your purchase.

You can also check with the DMV and inquire about the details of the vehicle.

#5 Purchase a Lost Title Bond

If you do not have the title under your name, then you can apply for a lost title bond at the local DMV. 

The lost title certificate is to indemnify the previous owner and establish yourself as the new owner of the vehicle.

The primary purpose of the lost title bond is to eradicate fraudulent purchases or titles. If you need to purchase a lost title bond, then you can get free quotes online.

You can also ensure that you obtain a surety bond, and you can apply for this online.

To get the lost title bond, you need to ensure that you apply for the correct bond amount. 

#6 Obtain a Bonded Title

A bonded title is generally obtained by filing to the DMV. To get a bonded title, you need to do the following – 

  • Obtain previous car titles and documents from the previous owners.
  • Obtain relevant documents and forms for filing the bonded title from your local DMV.
  • The vehicle must be purchased by you or received as a gift.
  • You might have to pay certain taxes to the state to get a bonded title.

Before the DMV issues a bonded title, they perform a background check of the vehicle. Obtaining a bonded title registers you as the sole owner of the vehicle. This can also protect you from any lost title bond claims and also protects the state DMV.


Once you have gone through all the above steps, you will obtain a title for your purchased car, even though it had no title at the time of purchase.

As a buyer, you need to ensure that you do not possess stolen or damaged vehicles. Vehicles that are not listed or have lost their titles are not great cars to own.

There are various risks for owning a vehicle without the title under your name. Communicating effectively with the DMV and the owner can easily ensure that you obtain the title in the right way.

For such vehicles, you cannot obtain the original title but, you can apply for a bonded title. Applying for a bonded title is a mundane task. You need to ensure that you have all the relevant documents to apply for this title. You can inquire at the local DMV about these documents.

Each local DMV has its own set of requirements for applying for a bonded title.