You are in the market for a motorcycle and just found the perfect one. Well, perfect, except for the fact that the seller doesn’t have the Title.
What are you going to do? Or rather, can anything be done?
Behold, yes! Yes, you can get a Title for a motorcycle even if the original was lost. Here’s how!
The first step would be to contact the seller and ask them to apply for a vehicle Title.
While the process can vary slightly, one can apply for a duplicate certificate of Title at the DMV office of any state. This process requires information from both seller and buyer, necessary paperwork, and payment of the current fees.
A Title certificate is an official document establishing proof of vehicle ownership. In case of a sale, the original Title is needed to transfer ownership.
In some states, such as Missouri, the vehicle owners are the ones who must apply for a duplicate Title. So, you should check who should apply for the lost Title as per your state’s laws.
In complicated cases, the buyer can also obtain a court order to apply for one.
In most cases, the registered owner of a vehicle (car or motorcycle) can easily obtain a replacement or duplicate Title.
Table of contents
How to apply for a new Title at the DMV?
The process can be done in person or via mail. In some states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and California, you can order a duplicate Title through an online service.
Ideally, most states require a completed duplicate Title form that includes information about the bike.
This includes the vehicle year and make, VIN number (vehicle identification number), license plate number, and a bill of sale. You can get the appropriate application form on your state’s DMV (department of motor vehicles) website.
Additionally, you must provide proof of identification and residence and pay the Title fees and sales tax. Title fees vary from state to state – in North Carolina and Michigan, it is $15.
If you are applying by mail, send the fees via money order or a personal check with your documents.
You may also need to provide additional information. For example, a death certificate if you inherited the bike from a family member who has passed away.
Moreover, the lien holder must sign the application if the bike has an open lien. If you’ve paid off the lien, get a lien release instead.
When can you receive the duplicate Title?
After submitting the necessary documentation and paying the fee, the DMV will check the documentation. If everything is okay, you should receive your new Title by mail at your current address, usually within 30 days.
But this can also vary from state to state.
In Indiana, it can take 21 business days, while in Alabama, it can arrive within 7 to 14 days.
No matter how you applied, whether by mail, in person, or online, there is always a waiting period before they issue a replacement Title. This lets the state make sure that the motorcycle isn’t stolen.
Other ways to get a duplicate Title for a Motorcycle
You can also use other methods to get a lost motorcycle title. They can apply in special circumstances. Or perhaps, you do not have the time to apply and can fork out the extra cash.
One way is to contact a lost Title company to handle the process.
These are private companies that usually operate in many states. For a fee, they will check your problem and see the best way to receive a duplicate Title ASAP.
Depending on your state, another way is to get a Bonded Title.
This is a new Title that has a bond held against it. You can first apply for this at your local DMV.
Then, buy a bond from an independent surety bond provider. With a Bonded Title, you’ll be able to obtain a clear Title within 3 to 5 years.
What are the cons of not having a Title for your motorcycle?
In one word – plenty!
I would be very cautious if the Title was missing but very concerned if the seller, wouldn’t agree to getting a new one! It could be a stolen motorcycle!
Without a Title, you cannot register your motorcycle in most states.
And without a Title or registration, you cannot legally drive your motorcycle.
The Title also establishes proof of ownership. If you want to get insurance or even file a claim, this will be required.
Moreover, the lack of a Title makes it much harder to sell a vehicle. You might even have to sell it at a much lower price than you hoped.
The bottom line is, even if the process seems complicated, get a Title for your motorcycle.
If you are looking to get a title for your frame, please have a read: How To Get A Title For A Motorcycle Frame?
Life is just hard in general. Don’t make yours any harder than it should be.
I say it all the time because it bears repeating — keep it clean and be on the right side of the law.
Get that Title. Ride with peace. ✌️