If you have a car in California, but no title, you might be wondering what you can do. You aren't stuck yet. You might be able to get a California Bonded Title.
What is a California Bonded Title?
A California Bonded Title is a regular title that has a "bonded" brand on the title. Title brands are simply a way of permanently designating a title.
A "bonded" brand implies that there is a surety bond attached to the title.
Purchasing a surety bond is just one part of the process to get a California Bonded Title. The steps to get a bonded title are listed further down.
Purpose of a California Bonded Title
When you get a bonded title, you are promising that you are the true owner the vehicle. The surety bond is there to any previous owners of the vehicle.
For example, if someone comes forward later on and says that they are the owner of the vehicle and that you should not have been granted a bonded title, they can make a claim on your bond. If the claim is determined to be valid, the surety bond is there as a safeguard.
Want more information about what would happen if someone made a claim on your bond? Check out this resource.
When You Need a Bonded Title CA
- You bought/received a vehicle and didn't receive a title
- You bought/received a vehicle and only received a bill of sale
- You bought/received a vehicle and received and improperly assigned title
- You bought/received a vehicle, received, and lost the title before transferring it into your name
You do not need a California Bonded Title if you had the title in your name at one point in time, but just lost the title. In this case, you are eligible to apply for a duplicate California Certificate of Title. The fee for a duplicate California Certificate Title is $19.
Not sure if you need a Bonded Title CA? Check out this
How to get a California Bonded Title
Step #1: Check with local DMV to make sure you are eligible
Always check with your local DMV before starting the process. Some of the below steps might be different based on your situation.
Your local DMV is the only entity that can tell you if you are eligible for a bonded title.
Step #2: Complete paperwork - Application for Title or Registration
Have an authorized DMV employee or law enforcement office fill out a Verification of Vehicle form
Step #3: Complete a Statement of Facts form
The form contains the following information:
- How, when, and from whom the vehicle was acquired
- What efforts were made to obtain original title, and why you could not obtain it
- The current value of the vehicle
Step #4: Fill out a Weight Certificate
You only need to do this if your vehicle weighs less than 10,001 pounds when empty
If your vehicle weighs 10,001 pounds or more, or is a trailer in the Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) program, fill out the Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight Form certifying the estimated weight.
Step #5: Complete a Certificate of Non-Operation/Planned Non-Operation, if applicable
Step #6: Complete an odometer disclosure statement if you vehicle is less than 10 years old
Step #7: Purchase a California Lost Title Bond
Purchase a surety bond from a company like us. Make sure you apply for the correct bond amount.
Your bond amount must be equal to the appraised value of your vehicle (from KBB.com, etc). For example, if your car is worth $2,000 then you will need to get a $2,000 California Lost Title Bond.
The price you pay for your bond is normally around $100. It is a one-time payment.
Before you purchase your title bond - learn important payment info
Step #8: Take paperwork to DMV
Once you buy your California Lost Title Bond, you are almost done. Take all your paperwork, plus your CA Lost Title Bond to your local DMV. If your paperwork is approved, you will be issued a Bonded Title CA.
Does my California Bonded Title Expire?
Yes, California Bonded Titles expire 3 years after they are issued. There is nothing you need to do during this 3 year time period. You do not need to renew your title bond.
After the 3 year time period is up (as long as no one has made any claims against your title bond) the bond becomes null and void. You can go back to the DMV and apply for a clean title (with the "bonded" brand removed).