The title is the instrument (as a deed) that is evidence of a right [source: Merriam Webster]. The title of a car is evidence that you are the rightful owner of the car. Without the car title, you can't sell your car and transfer ownership. You receive title of a car after you register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to find out what the requirements for getting a copy of a car title are in your state. Although the requirements vary from state to state, we'll take you through the general procedure.
You can apply for a copy of your car title by mail, online, or in person.
Here's how to apply by mail:
- Complete an Application for Duplicate Title, which is available online at your state's Department of Motor Vehicles' Web site or from your local Department of Motor Vehicles office.
- Photocopy your proof of identity. Check with the local Department of Motor Vehicles to find out what forms of identification are acceptable proofs of identity.
- Make out a check for the fee.
- Mail all these items to the address listed on the application form.
Here's how to apply online:
- Go to your state's Department of Motor Vehicles' Web site.
- Select Replace a Title Certificate Online, and follow the instructions. If the address on your title is the same as your current mailing address, you own the title you're requesting, and there are no other changes to the information listed on the title, you should be able to complete the process online.
Here's how to apply in person:
- Go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office.
- Complete an Application for Duplicate Title.
- Present proof of identification.
- Pay the fee.
The title will be mailed to you within five to seven business days, unless you mail in your application. In that case it could take six to eight weeks before you receive a copy of your car title [source: NYSDMV].