How to replace a lost or stolen car title

If you’ve lost the title to your car, or worse, had it stolen, things can get messy. Most people tend to panic, but in reality, the entire process of replacing your car title is relatively simple.

How to replace a lost or stolen car title

Today we will look at what to do if your title is lost or stolen. Let’s compare the two situations, look at the potential pitfalls, and outline the process of getting a replacement car title.

stolen car title

A stolen car title presents serious problems for the owner. Titles are a black market commodity, and car thieves or title counterfeiters could easily make you lose ownership of your car. It could take months of your time and thousands of dollars in financial costs to prove that you are the legal owner. You may know the truth, but it takes a long time to work that out in the legal system.

However, you can avoid this by quickly applying for a replacement car title through your local DMV. It will void the stolen one and prevent it from being re-registered.

lost car title

While this scenario is not as urgent as the previous one, it can be just as painful. Aside from the entire replacement request process, this could spell trouble in other areas. For example, when you decide to sell your vehicle and find a buyer, only to find out that he has lost the title.

The traffic police will also not appreciate you driving without a car title. Doing this is illegal in most states and you risk being liable for a stiff fine if they check the documents. In the worst case, your vehicle will be impounded, leaving you without a car for an unspecified period of time.

Both of the situations listed above can be resolved by replacing your car title.

Preparation for title replacement

Replacing the Certificate of Title is relatively easy today. All you have to do is visit your local DMV’s website and find what you’ll need to have on hand. The process differs slightly from state to state, but generally it will look like this:

  • Complete a Lost Title Application (found on your state’s DMV website)
  • Mail the forms with all required documents and fees
  • Optional– Visit your local DMV and apply for the replacement in person

You should always start by visiting your state’s DMV website and looking for duplicate title forms. This task can be accomplished quickly by “[your state] duplicate title form” in a search engine, including quotation marks.

Paperwork involves filling in your name, address, driver’s license number, and basic vehicle information (VIN, license plate, year, make, etc.). Required documents include your ID and insurance card and proof of paid property taxes, which, in some states, must come with a notary seal.

Replacing the car title should cost you around $50 on average. Usually it will take 6-8 weeks to receive the new document, but the time period varies between states and cities. It is important to note that you will not get the title on the site. Instead, it will be shipped securely to your address.


If you lose the title to your car or someone steals it, you should try to replace it as soon as possible. Always start by visiting your state’s DMV website and looking up the requirements there, as there are slight differences in the process in the US.

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