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California Lost Car Title Bond

What is a lost car title bond?

A lost car title bond, also known as a lost title bond, lost instrument bond, or a car title bond, is a type of surety bond that you should purchase when you need to register your vehicle with the DMV and the vehicle does not have a valid title.

Although you can complete a car sale without a title on hand, you will need to get a lost car title bond in order to establish ownership of the vehicle. Usually, this is necessary when you purchase a car and receive just a bill of sale and no title, or a title that was not properly assigned. Also, this type of bond is needed when you have bought a vehicle and the title that you received at the time of purchase has been lost or stolen.

How much does a lost car title bond cost?

The cost for a lost car title bond may range between $100 and $250. Many surety companies charge a flat rate, although you may end up paying a percentage of the total required bond amount for more expensive cars.

The bond amount of a lost title bond depends on the fair market value of the vehicle. Generally, the bond should be worth between 1 to 3 times the amount of the car. Your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines the required bond amount.

Why do I need a lost title bond?

A lost title bond is important because without a valid vehicle title, you will not be able to prove ownership of your car. As a result, you won’t be able to register your vehicle, get insurance, drive it legally, or sell it to someone else if you want to.

How can I get a lost car title bond?

You'll need a signed application, including personal indemnity, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN#) for bonds up to $25,000. For bonds greater than $25,000, a full application, principal credit report, and personal financial statement are required.

In order to purchase a lost car title bond, you must:

  • Find out from your local DMV if your car meets the state’s standards for getting the bond. Your car's age and value may influence the eligibility to buy a lost car title bond or bond amount, so be sure to consult the DMV first.
  • Be prepared to prove you own the car. This can be done with a receipt, bill of sale, or canceled check. You may also be able to present a notarized statement about how you came to own the car.
  • Find out the value of your vehicle and calculate the bond amount. Based on the fair market value of the car, your bond amount will be between 1 and 3 times what the car is worth. Some states may have a minimum bond amount. However, always check with your state's DMV to make sure you have the correct bond amount.
  • Go through the application process. First, you should find a surety company to provide the bond and then fill out their application form. Then you pay the amount that you owe. When the bond becomes active, you present it to your DMV. Your state may charge administrative or application fees.

What else should I know about the lost title bond?

When you get a lost car title bond, there are three parties to this agreement: the principal, the obligee, and the surety. You are considered the principal because you're the one trying to obtain the bond and who assumes responsibility for any claims against it. The obligee is your state’s DMV because that is the entity requiring you to obtain the bond. The surety is the company that issues the bond and will investigate any claims against it.

It's important to know that if you're starting a motor vehicle business, this is not the right bond for you. Depending on your state’s requirements, you may need to file a Motor Vehicle Dealer or Registration Service Bond to start your business.

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