certificate of title bond

What is a "Certificate of Title Bond"?

This is a financial guarantee type bond. This is a bond that is typically required by a department of motor vehicles when a person is attempting to get their vehicle titled in that state and they can not produce a prior title.  Typically a person is not able to produce the title because it was lost or destroyed or they have built the car and it was never before titled.

The bond is generally written at a value that is 1 1/2 times the value of the car that is to be titled.  See value below for information on how this is determined.

How much does a Certificate of Title Bond cost?

The cost for a Certificate of Title Bond is generally $15 per $1,000 in value on the bond amount.

Example:   Your car has an appraised value of $10,000.  The bond would be in the amount of $15,000.  The cost for the 3 year bond would be $225 (this is the total cost).  There is typically a minimum amount charged ($100 for most companies) so if the value of the bond was only $2000, it would be subject to the minimum premium.

If the bond was written for an amount exceeding $25,000, the pricing is subject to underwriting review.  

How long does it take to get the bond?

If you have the proof of value, it can be done in minutes.  We are able to create the bond and email it to you quickly.  It is important that you have the required information to help expedite the process.  

What is needed to obtain the bond?

Name of the person who is seeking the title

their address

their phone number

their date of birth

their social security number

The state that you would be seeking title with

year, make, model and VIN # of the vehicle to be bonded

Explanation on why you do not have the title and how you came into possession of the vehicle.  

Premium Payment

If the bond exceeds $25,000 in value a personal financial statement may be required.

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How is the value of the car determined?

States may vary on how this is determined.  It is important to check with your state on this point.  In general they determine value by:

- Written appraisal of the current wholesale value of the vehicle from a licensed new or used car dealer

- Written appraisal by a licensed rebuilder (for salvage or junk vehicles only)

- Written appraisal by an officer of an Antique Club or Association (Antique Car only)

- Appraisal can be obtained from a used vehicle price guide, besides the value being shown on the pertinent page you must also provide copies of both the front & back cover of the guide.

What must the appraisal include?

- Description of the vehicle including year, make, model, VIN#

- Wholesale value

- Statement that the vehicle is intact and in running condition

- If vehicle is not in running condition - then a statement that the appraisal applies to a salvage or junk vehicle

- Statement the the appraised value is accurate to the best of the appraisers abilities and made under penalties of perjury

- Signature & printed name of the appraiser

- Firm name, address and license number (if applicable)

- Date of appraisal

What is the purpose of the bond?

The bond protects the state and any prior owner, lienholder and any subsequent purchasers against any loss or damage due to the issuance of a Certificate of Title.  This a financial guarantee type bond.  If the issuer of the bond (Insurance Company) is required to pay out to a claim (to a owner or secretary of state), you would be required to pay back that money to the insurance company.  This bond is for the purpose of not tying up your funds and to protect any claimants from having lost possession of their vehicle due to a dishonest sale.

Moral of the story: Do not seek a title if you believe that any kind of dishonest act may have occurred with the vehicle such as stolen parts or vehicle.  There should be a clear and understandable path to how a person obtained the vehicle.

Why is the bond necessary?

Since adequate proof has not been provided to the Secretary of State of car ownership, this bond is a protection for them in the event that another party steps forward and provides proof that they are the rightful owner of that car.  


Bob buys a car from Steve.  Steve provides a bill of sale to Bob but is unable to provide a title at the time of purchase.  He had inherited the car from his Dad who has passed away.  Bob has to obtain a certificate of title from the secretary of state and presents his bill of sale as "proof of ownership".  The bill of sale is not considered absolute proof because the Secretary of State does not have proof that the car was actually owned by Steve and that he had the right to sell it in the first place.  

What type of situations can this bond be used?

The most common circumstances for a certificate of title bond:

- Lost my title

- destroyed my title

- built a kit car that used a frame from another vehicle that I do not have a title to

- built a hot rod/ custom car using a frame that I do not have title to 

- built a car using a motor/frame from another vehicle that I do not have a title for

- inherited a car and unable to locate the title

When is a certificate of title bond not available?

A bond cannot be used to obtain a title for the following situations:

- repossessions

- abandoned cars

- mechanics lien

- remove a lienholder

Is there another way to get this done besides getting a bond?

Yes, generally you can provide a cash bond.  The typical required amount is 1 1/2 times the value of the car.  The secretary of state would then hold on to this for a 3 year period of time.  If no claim is made in that time frame, you would then get a refund of your cash bond.