How To Get A Title For A Classic Car That Doesn't Have One
As a classic car owner, there are more responsibilities to consider other than just the pleasure of driving it. One of them is making sure that all the documents for the vehicle are in place.
A common problem that people face when they own an old car is not having the title. This is partly due to the age and happens with classic cars that haven't seen the road in many years because of the limited restrictions 30-40 years ago.
Depending on where the vehicle owner lives, there are different processes to get a title for a classic car. The exact requirements will vary by state, but generally, the process remains the same.
Classic cars are also not required to have a title if they are at least 25 years old. This rule varies but many cars manufactured in 1999 or later won’t legally need a title to be registered.
Fortunately, we have compiled some useful tips on how you can get a title for your old car. This includes locating the VIN, contacting the DMV, and getting a surety bonded title for the car.
Find The VIN
The first thing to do is find the VIN on the classic car. This number is needed when getting the new title and it can be used for information about the car now.
The VIN is a 17-digit number that tells many things about the car like how old it is, model type, and vehicle history. The VIN can be found on the body of the car.
After finding the VIN, it can be used to learn more about the car but it might not be useful for a car without a title. All cars made during or after 1954 will have a VIN on the car somewhere and any car made in 1968 or later has a VIN near the left windshield pillar or the driver’s side door.
Contact The DMV
The first step is to contact the local DMV to get more information. This is necessary because the rules in each state are much different, so a local professional will have the most accurate advice to get a title.
Get A Bonded Title
Next, most DMV officers will recommend a bonded title depending on the state laws. This is when the classic car owner purchases a surety bond to get a bonded car title that lasts 3-5 years.
Once it expires, the car owner has the option to get a permanent car title if needed. This is required in a majority of US states.
Get A Court-Ordered Title
A court-ordered title is the alternative to a bonded title in a select few states. This works like a lawsuit case and the new car owner is basically suing for ownership of the car.
How Do You Get A Bonded Title?
When a classic car has no title, the fastest and easiest solution in most US states is to get a bonded title by purchasing a surety bond. This title will last for 3-5 years until the vehicle is eligible for a permanent title.
Follow these steps below to get the bonded title for a classic car.
Meet The State’s Title Standards
Each state has basic standards to meet before getting a bonded title, while others will completely restrict bonded titles. The easiest way to find out is by contacting a local DMV officer to discuss available options.
Some of these standards include vehicle year and bill of sale. The rules can change based on the age of a vehicle and the total price paid.
Prove Vehicle Ownership
Next, the new classic car owner must prove vehicle ownership to have any chance at securing a bonded title. This can be done with a bill of sale that includes the new owner’s name and the vehicle’s VIN.
We recommend avoiding any type of vehicle purchase without a bill of sale. It becomes a huge hassle to prove vehicle ownership without one.
Get The Vehicle Appraised
Acquiring a bonded title for a classic car requires a vehicle appraisal. This is done to establish the value of the vehicle and it determines the price of the surety bond.
Purchase Surety Bond
Next, the surety bond can be purchased based on the vehicle appraisal. The surety bond costs $100 or 1.5% of the bond amount depending on which number is higher.
The bond is calculated at 1.5 times the vehicle’s value. And the surety bond is a percentage of this figure based on credit and other factors.
Once the bond is purchased, the application can be completed and submitted to the DMV. They will process the application and issue the bonded title.
Classic Car Title Requirements By State
We’ve discussed how to get a classic car title when it doesnt have one. In many states, these steps are required because a title is used to prove ownership of the vehicle to register it.
However, every state is different and the policies change based on various factors including the age of the car. Below are the title requirements and surety bond requirements for each state.
About THE AUTHOR
My name is Matt and I've been around cars all my life! I have owned and worked on many different classic vehicles, so I started this site to share my experiences. If you're new to classic cars, then this website is for you.Read More About Matt Lane