Do I Need a Title for a Classic Car?

Title for a Classic Car

All cars including classic cars need a title. Consider if your car is stolen or you need to sell your car, a title is a very important document that shows proof of ownership of the vehicle.

If you’ve bought, or are thinking about buying a classic car that has no title and you’re wondering if you can get, or know how to get a title for the classic car, then you’re reading the right article.

What is a Classic Vehicle?

First, let me clarify something before we proceed. A classic car is a vehicle that’s over 20 years old, an antique car is over 45 years old, while a vintage car is a car built between 1919 and 1930.

But depending on the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and some insurance companies, classic cars classification can change and issuing titles and registration can change as well.

Please do your homework to check on your state rules and regulations about classic cars.

Many states in the US will not issue a title if a vehicle is more than 15 to 25 years old. If this is the case, a state may have a standardized bill of sale form, which can be used by buyers to register the classic car.

In instances where your state does not have the official version, there are several templates available online and you can even create your own version. The document doesn’t need any design structure and the information on a bill of sale is almost similar to that on a car title.

In some states, notarization is a requirement. The cost of notarizing a bill of sale is minimal and also adds a level of validity to the transaction.

Why Do I Need a Title For My Classic Car?

1. State Requirement

Some states like California and Florida require a title for classic cars, but don’t require a safety inspection when it comes to classic cars.

In California, all vehicles, 1975 and older, don’t need a smog inspection and in Florida, there may be some registration restrictions.

2. A Proof Ownership

The title of a car is a legal document that proves the ownership of a vehicle. A car title usually includes the owner’s name and address and without it, there is no proof that you own your vehicle.

3. To Verify the Condition of the Classic Car

Are you interested in purchasing a classic car without a title? Before any payment, you should certainly find out why there is no title from the seller.

If you find out that the car was classified as salvage – it’s meant to be used as parts or destroyed, or that it’s a stolen car, you definitely don’t have anything to do with it.

Verify the title and condition of a classic car with our Classic VIN Check tool.

How to Get a Title For My Classic Car?

If you purchase a classic car where the seller can no longer provide the paperwork, the car is often more of a junk car. To restore and make it something special, then you need to consider getting a bonded title.

As long as the classic car is not stolen and depending on the laws in your state, there is a guide you can follow to get a bonded title.

How Do I Get A Bonded Title For My Classic Car?

The term bonded title is usually used when you end up buying a classic car that had been left to rot out in a field, and without a title because the car is so old that the paperwork has decayed over time or lost at some point in time.

Because of the age of the vehicle, it’s very possible that the State DMV has no records of the car and the records have long been deleted from the system at the state level.

But whatever the reason may be, you can still acquire a bonded title.

A bonded title is simply a title that has “bonded” written on it. Securing a bond on the classic vehicle ensures the state is covered if anyone shows up to make a claim on the vehicle.

This  basically defends the State from being liable to the person that places a claim on the classic car. Just like insurance, the bond title is sold either by insurance and or a bonding company.

The first thing to do is to apply via a simple form, bonded title application, online or from your state DMV office. Once this is done, the state involved usually sends a state police officer to check the classic car and validate the VIN number, fender numbers, and other important locations.

This is carried out to be sure that it’s the car or vehicle the application is submitted for. If the verification is successful and bonded, the state issues a title for the vehicle.

What are the Requirements for a Bonded Title?

Please know that getting a bonded title means that you are telling the truth that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle. A bill of sale from the seller is a boost and makes it easier if the vehicle had previously been registered and titled in that state, but the records got deleted by the state not so long ago.

You shouldn’t have any issues with bond claims if you are the genuine owner of the car.

Since every state is different, they may have other procedures and requirements to get a title for your classic car. Therefore you still have to call your State DMV and make some inquiries.

Most times, the reason for a seller not being able to provide a title is simply that the car is too old that it has been abandoned or discarded for one reason or the other by the previous owner.

It could also be that the car stopped running or had problems several years ago and the owner just left it in his backyard until they could figure out what to do with it. Of course, after many years, one can expect that the owner is likely to have misplaced the title. 

Overall, you need to be sapient and trust your instincts to judge the reason you were told about the missing title.  If it sounds strange to you, it likely is.

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