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Moving on to your next vehicle can be an exciting transition. Maybe you’ve even got your next car picked out and you’re ready to go — but there’s one problem. You’re missing the title for your current car.

Depending on where you live, the age of your vehicle, and if the car is titled in your name in the first place, a missing title may be no problem. However, in most cases, a title is required by law for a vehicle to be sold. Titles provide proof of ownership for a specific vehicle, meaning they basically determine who has the right to sell it.

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How Would I Be Able to Sell a Car Without a Title

There are certain circumstances under which someone without a title can sell their car. Residents of California, for example, do have the option of completing additional separate paperwork that allows you to complete a sale without a title.

There are also certain exemptions in place for cars that are past a certain age (which varies, but 15-25 years on average). These older vehicles only require a bill of sale. You also may be able to sell a vehicle with a title in someone else’s name provided permission from that individual and their signature on the title.

Despite the fact that titles are required in most instances, you may come across businesses or individuals offering to buy your car without a title. If your car is old or damaged in any way, these offers may be especially tempting. Be wary when you see this — in some cases, they may be scams. It’s important to understand why titles are required to sell a car.

Beyond proving ownership and thus granting authority to sell the car, titles are used to determine who is legally responsible for a vehicle. What this means is that if you sell your car without transferring the title but a title exists in your name, you’ll still be held responsible for whatever happens to that car once it’s left your possession.

Some disreputable scrapyards that offer to buy cars without titles will hold onto vehicles sold without titles for months, then turn to collections agencies to charge their legal owners for accumulated “storage fees”. The unfortunate victims of these scams are often left without recourse, as the car remains legally in their name.

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Going About Getting a Copy of Your Title

If your car is owned in your name and you’ve simply lost your title, the good news is there’s nothing to worry about. Obtaining a copy of your title is easy, and in most states, you can apply online to have a copy of your title sent to you.

To get a copy of your title, you will need other documents to verify your identity and connection to the vehicle you need the title for. The exact requirements will vary by location, but you can generally expect to provide a few key pieces of information.

In most cases, you’ll need your driver’s license, the vehicle registration and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the car you’re seeking the title for, the vehicle’s license plate number, and your vehicle’s title number. Your car’s VIN is a 17 digit number that can be located by looking through the windshield on the driver’s side of the car. Your title number is eight digits long and can be found on your vehicle registration paper.

There may be a nominal fee for the copy of the title, but once you’ve submitted your application your title should be delivered within seven to 10 business days to your home. A lost title may feel like a big deal, but in reality, it’s a common occurrence with an easy fix. Once you’ve received a copy of your title, don’t forget to fill out the car’s current mileage as well as your name and signature in order to transfer it to a new owner.

Once you’ve got your title in-hand and signed, you’ll have everything you need to sell your car.

If your car is older or less-than-perfect, selling quickly and for a fair price might seem an overwhelming next step. The good news is that now that you’ve got a title, you can have your car sold and out of your hands within 48 hours no matter what condition it’s in — with CarBrain!

Ready to Sell Your Vehicle? Here's How You Can Use CarBrain.com

CarBrain can give you a guaranteed quote within 90 seconds from the comfort of your own home using some basic information and pictures of your car. Your quote is good for seven days, so you won’t need to worry if you need some extra time.

Towing is always free, and one of our drivers can pick your car up in 24 to 48 hours from anywhere nationwide. Once the driver arrives, sign over your title and get paid the best price for your car!

There are no fees whatsoever for using our service, and we make the process as simple as possible. Our associate buyers can walk you through everything from getting a duplicate title if you lost yours to scheduling your free pickup. If there’s any additional paperwork you can use or require, your associate buyer will help you with that too.

We’ll make an offer on any less-than-perfect car, from used and pre-owned vehicles to clunkers, junkers and total losses. Get a fair market offer for your car in 90 seconds and start selling it to CarBrain today. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s simple.


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