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Duplicate Car Title Guide: 4 Tips For Success

  • 4 min read

Are you looking to replace a lost title? If you were the last titled owner of the vehicle, a duplicate car title process is likely the best way to recover your lost title. This guide will take you step-by-step through this process and provide tips for success.

What is a duplicate car title?

A duplicate title is a common method of recovering a missing or damaged title when you were the last titled owner. A duplicate car title is simply a copy of a vehicle’s certificate of title that is issued by the DMV when the original title has been lost, damaged, or stolen. Each US state provides a duplicate title process.

How to get a duplicate title

Obtaining a duplicate title is a relatively straightforward process. Before using this method, make sure that you are the current owner of the vehicle. To apply for a duplicate title, you must be the current owner of the vehicle. The DMV will not issue a duplicate title to anyone other than the current owner in their system.

Here are the general steps to get a duplicate title in all states:

  1. Visit the DMV website of the state where your vehicle was last titled
  2. Obtain the state’s Duplicate Title Application
  3. Complete the application electronically or on paper
  4. Include duplicate title fees (typically ranging from $2-$25)
  5. Submit your duplicate title application electronically or by postal mail. Do not email this application. Or, if you still live close by, you can visit the DMV location and submit your application in person.

4 tips for success using the duplicate title process:

Tip #1: Duplicate titles are only issued from the last state in which a vehicle was titled.

If you recently moved out of state and need to obtain a duplicate title for your vehicle, you can’t do so in your new state. Duplicate titles are only issued in the state where they were last titled. To obtain a new title in your previous state, you can either visit your old DMV to apply in person or apply by mail if you cannot visit the DMV.

Tip #2: Complete your application carefully, making sure all owners’ names are correct.

The DMV will not accept an application that is damaged in any way. If there are rips, spills, tears, stary markings, erasures, or any other visible damage on the application it will become void and you will have to resubmit. Make sure all names are listed and suffixes provided if applicable. Your duplicate car title application contents must match exactly what is shown on the title. If there are two or more owners, they all must be listed and sign the application.

Tip #3: Before you submit your duplicate title application, make a photocopy of it.

It may seem counterproductive to make photocopies of your documents since the DMV does not accept them. However, the photocopies should be kept for your records in case there are questions about your application during processing.

Tip #4: If possible, submit your duplicate title application in person to the DMV.

In some cases, submitting your application in person can get results more quickly. When you apply in person at the DMV, you submit your application directly to an agent who processes it in real-time. In some cases, you may be able to get a duplicate car title on the same day. If you cannot go in person or do not wish to, you may submit a duplicate car title application by mail. The only downsides are that the application may take longer to process than an in-person submission or it may get lost in the mail.

The process of obtaining a duplicate title when you were the last titled owner of your vehicle is straightforward. If you were not the last titled owner, but you are looking to replace your car title, consider other methods of title recovery that are available in your state.