Lost My Car’s Title: How to Get a Duplicate

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Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


, Contributing Writer - April 13, 2021

Losing your vehicle’s title can be stressful – but you may not have lost it at all, depending on what state you live in and if you’re still financing the car. Here’s how to get a duplicate title, and what we know about title-holding states.

Getting a Duplicate Title

If you lost or damaged your vehicle title, then there’s a way to get a duplicate one. Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Secretary of State’s (SOS) website. These institutions typically allow for people to complete a duplicate title form or title replacement form online to get a replacement if it was lost, stolen, or damaged. You can also visit a physical location and request a duplicate title there.

There’s usually a fee for getting another title, and the cost varies depending on your state, it could be anywhere from $5 to $60 or more. Typically, you need to explain why you need a duplicate title and it can take a few weeks to around 30 days to get it in the mail.

The things you’re likely to need to request a duplicate title include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Vehicle’s information
  • Proof of ownership
  • Reason for requesting a duplicate

Now, the question is do you actually need a duplicate title, or do you live in a title-holding state?

Title-Holding States

If your car still has a loan on it, then odds are, your lender has your title and you never lost it to start with! Most states are title-holding states, which means the title gets sent to the lienholder (your lender) until you finish paying off your loan.

Do you live in one of these states?

  • Arizona
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

If you don’t, then your lender probably has the title if you’re still financing your vehicle. The above states are called non-title-holding states. This means that the borrower gets the title in the mail soon after purchasing the car, regardless if they’re financing or they paid in full.

In title-holding states, once you complete the loan and remove the lien, the lender sends you the title in the mail.

Do I Need a Title to Sell My Car?

You do need to have your vehicle’s title to sell a car. If you’re looking for your title because you’re preparing to trade it in at a dealership, in title-holding states the lender typically sends directly to the dealership so they can transfer ownership once the loan is paid in full.

If you're trading in a vehicle in a non-title-holding state, you need to bring the title to the dealership with you so you can sign it over to them.

Looking for an Auto Loan?

When it’s time to sell or trade in your vehicle, odds are, you’re looking for another one! However, it’s not always easy to get approved for a car loan if your credit score isn’t great. Some dealerships are signed up with bad credit auto lenders, but it can be hard to know where to go for these resources.

When you’re in need of special financing, CarsDirect is here to help. We’ve created a nationwide network of dealers that are signed up with subprime lenders – they specialize in assisting borrowers with credit challenges.

To get matched to a dealership in your local area that has special financing options, fill out our free auto loan request form, and we’ll get right to work.

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, Contributing Writer

Bethany Hickey is a graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint, with a bachelor’s in English-Writing. She is a content writer for Auto Credit Express, CarsDirect, and many other automotive blogs, as well as the Poetry Editor for UM-Flint’s writing magazine.


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