Registration shows that you own a vehicle and lists pertinent information, such as the title number. However, if you misplace your title, you may run into delays insuring your vehicle or taking other action regarding your vehicle. Fortunately, there are several ways that you may be able to obtain your title number if you lost your registration.
What is Car Registration?
State law requires that you register a vehicle if you own or operate a car within the state. Vehicle registration involves providing pertinent information to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or similar entity. You must also provide details about your car and pay a registration fee. Some states also require you to pass certain emissions tests before they will allow you to register your vehicle there. If you do not maintain valid registration on a vehicle and are pulled over when driving it, you may receive a ticket, be fined, and possibly have your vehicle impounded.
What is a Title Number?
A car title number is a unique, multi-digit number that is usually stamped on a section of the car title. These are also known as “control numbers” or “document numbers.” Often, title numbers can only help locate a vehicle title and do not provide information about the vehicle itself. When the owner of the car changes, the title number also changes.
Some states no longer issue paper titles and instead use an electronic database to record information that is typically included on car titles.
Why a Title Number Is Important
A title number can help locate the title if you lost the original title. The car title proves that you own the vehicle, so it may be very important for you to replace the title itself if it is lost.
You may need the title number for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Insuring your vehicle
- Locating a missing title
- Obtaining a new title
- Applying for a lien
How to Find a Title Number For a Car
If you need to find a car title number, you may be able to find this important information in a variety of locations, including:
Other Vehicle Registration Documents
You may have other documents that contain the vehicle title number. The title number is usually on the registration card, but it may also be on the registration renewal notice. Most title numbers are seven or eight digits, so look for a number like this even is it doesn’t say “vehicle title number.:
The title number is also on the certificate of title, often printed in a larger font. The location of the number on the certificate varies by state with some states choosing to place the number on the very top while others place it on the bottom of the page.
Electronic Title System
Some states maintain an electronic title system that keeps track of this information. You can contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or similar entity to ask if this is the case where your vehicle is registered. You may be able to access the system yourself and locate the information, or a representative may be able to access it for you.
Even if your state does not use an electronic database, the DMV may still be able to look up your car title number if you ask. The procedures may vary by state and you may be asked to provide proof of your identification and some other documentation showing you are the registered owner of the vehicle.
What Is a Lienholder?
Many states are considered “title-to-lienholder” states. This means that the title of a vehicle goes to the lienholder if the vehicle is financed. Until you pay off the vehicle, you are not technically considered the rightful owner of the vehicle. If you fail to pay the amount on the car note, the lienholder can repossess the vehicle.
Therefore, you may be able to get the title number from the lienholder itself. This is especially important if you have just finished paying off the car and you want the lienholder to now release the lien. You will need the lienholder to release the lien and send you the title so you can register the vehicle.
How To Get a Replacement Registration or Title
If you have tried all other methods to obtain the title number and have fallen short, you may be able to request a duplicate title. Each state establishes its own procedures regarding this process.
Some states may allow you to request a new car title over the Internet, by fax, by phone call, or by mail. However, some jurisdictions may require you to come to the DMV in person in order to make this request. You will need to fill out paperwork to effectuate this request and will usually pay a fee of about $20. You may need to provide proof of your identity and car ownership, such as your driver’s license, insurance, and vehicle information. You may need to know the purchase date.
Some states may have stricter requirements. For example,
Alternatively, you can ask for a duplicate registration form to show that your vehicle is registered if the registration card has the title number on it. For example, to obtain a duplicate certificate of title in Nebraska, you will need to complete the application form, have it notarized, and return it to the County Treasurer’s Office. You will need to provide thorough information, including the name of any applicable lienholder and the signature of each person named on the title unless the other person named is the title holder’s spouse.
Lost Vehicle Registration Could Be Bothering
Losing your vehicle registration can be a hassle, especially when you were depending on it to provide information you needed to insure your vehicle or obtain a lien on it. However, there are other ways to locate your title number beside your registration, such as contacting the DMV or the lienholder or locating it on other paperwork. With this in mind, you can quickly locate your title number and go about your business.