Vehicle Title: Definition, Types, and Purposes

A car title is a document that establishes ownership of a vehicle. One must purchase a car from a dealership or private seller to get such a title. The title will be in the name of the dealership or seller until you transfer it into your own name.

Most people are aware of two types of car titles: clean and salvage, but there are actually a few different types of titles that can exist for a vehicle. Depending on the state you live in, the type of title issued for your car may vary. Here is a list of some of the different types of titles and their meanings.

1. Affidavit Title

An affidavit title is a formal document that is used to swear to the truth of certain statements. It is usually notarized by a public notary. The seller of the vehicle is responsible for ensuring that the title is transferred to the buyer.

Affidavit titles are used with original titles and are usually very affordable. In some states, you might pay as little as $1 for an affidavit title, though you will still need to pay for the cost of the original title.

2. Bonded Title

A bonded title is issued when the car’s ownership cannot be proven. You must post a surety bond for the value of the vehicle in order to get a bonded title. Once the bond is posted, you will be able to get a title in your name.

Bonded titles differ from clear titles in that a clear title means that the car’s ownership can be proven. The cost of a bonded title will vary depending on the state you live in and the value of the vehicle, but they typically cost around $15.

3. Clear Title – Certificate of Origin

A clear vehicle title is required to successfully complete a car title transfer in most states. A Certificate of Origin may be provided by the dealer or manufacturer as proof that the car is new and has never been titled before.

The Certificate of Origin will have the car’s make, model, year, VIN number, and other important information. The cost of a clear title is usually around $15 to transfer to the new owner.

Certificates of Origin are also called Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO).

4. Dismantled Title

A dismantled title is a title given to a vehicle that has been taken apart or dismantled. The most common reason for this is when a vehicle is being sold for scrap metal, and the owner wants to get rid of the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Vehicles with these titles are in such condition that it doesn’t make sense to spend the money needed for sufficient repairs. The cost of a dismantled title is often around $4 or $5.

5. Electronic Title

According to, an electronic title is a paperless title that uses electronic storage and retrieval instead of the physical title certificate. The lienholder’s authorization is still required for an electronic title.

Electronic titles have become a favorable alternative to paper titles because they are more difficult to lose and can be transferred more quickly. The electronic title also remains with the DMV in the event that the car is sold, so the new owner will not have to worry about getting a new title.

The cost of an electronic title usually only applies if the vehicle owner requests a printed copy. This fee varies by state. In Florida, for example, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) charges a fee of $4.50 for this service.

6. Export Title

U.S. Customs and Border Protection defines an export title as belonging to any vehicle leaving the United States for the purpose of being sold. As such, an export title doesn’t apply to self-propelled vehicles operated stateside.

The cost of an export title includes the usual transfer fee for the original title, as well as the export application for a motor vehicle.

7. Flood & Water Damage Title

As its name implies, a flood & water damage title is used when a car has been damaged by flooding or water. To get this type of title, you’ll need to provide the DMV with a report from a licensed appraiser that details the extent of the damage.

You’ll also need to pay a fee and have any liens on the vehicle satisfied (if applicable). The cost is usually the same as a salvage or dismantled title, which tends to be about $5.

8. Import Title

An import title is a title that was issued in another country and imported into the United States. The process for getting an import title can vary depending on the state you live in.

Generally, you’ll need to go through your state’s DMV and provide them with the foreign title along with proof of ownership, identification, and payment for any required fees. Once the DMV has processed your request, they will issue you an import title that will allow you to register and operate your vehicle in the United States.

9. Junk Title

A junk title is a type of car title that is issued when a vehicle is determined to be “junk” or “salvage” by a licensed inspection station. The term “junk” generally refers to a vehicle that is in such poor condition that it is not safe to operate on the road.

Junk titles usually cost between $5 and $200 if there’s no lien on the vehicle in question, but one with a lien typically adds $15 or more.

10. Lemon Title

According to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, lemon titles are given to vehicles that were purchased back by the original manufacturers due to warranty defects.

Lemon titles also apply to used vehicles, as long they were manufactured after 1/01/1996. The cost for a lemon title is low, typically around $5.

11. Lienholder Title

The lienholder title is the title that’s held by the company or person who loaned you money to purchase your vehicle. In order to get a lienholder title, you’ll need to take out a loan from a bank or other lending institution.

Once you’ve paid off your loan, the lienholder will send you a release of lien, which you’ll need to submit to the DMV along with your title application. You will then pay the standard titling fees according to your state.

12. Odometer Rollback Title

A car with an altered odometer reading is considered to have a rollback title. This means that the car’s title will have a special designation on it, indicating that the mileage has been tampered with. It’s worth noting that it’s a felony to alter the state of a vehicle’s odometer.

You can still purchase vehicles that are proven to have odometer tampering, which is when you will receive an odometer rollback title. The cost of a rollback title will generally depend on the state that you live in.

13. Parts Only Title

Parts only titles are issued when a vehicle is dismantled, and only parts remain. The application must be signed by the legal owner of the vehicle.

A vehicle with a parts only title cannot be legally driven. The cost of this type of title is the same as a junk or salvage title—as low as $4 in some states (Ohio) and as much as $200 in others (New York).

14. Rebuilt Title

A rebuilt title is a title that has been issued to a vehicle that has been declared a total loss by an insurance company and then repaired. In order for the vehicle to be eligible for a rebuilt title, it must pass a state inspection.

There are two types of rebuilt titles:

  1. Salvage Rebuilt: This is a title that is issued to a vehicle that has been declared a total loss by an insurance company, repaired, and then inspected by the state.
  2. Non-Salvage Rebuilt: This is a title that is issued to a vehicle that has not been declared a total loss by an insurance company but has been repaired.

According to Ohio’s Franklin County Clerk of Courts, once a salvage vehicle passes inspection, it receives a rebuilt salvage title. This inspection must be administered by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Rebuilt titles are also called “reconstructed titles” or simply “R” titles.

15. Salvage Title

A salvage title is one that’s been issued to a vehicle that’s been declared a total loss by an insurance company. The car can be repaired and driven, but it will always have a branded title (see Rebuilt Title).

In some states, salvage titles are inexpensive, but in others, they can cost a couple of hundred dollars.

What Is the Best Title for a Car?

Clear title is the best car title. This is because it is easy to understand, and there is no confusion about who owns the car. Unlike other types of titles, a clear title does not have any lienholders listed on it.

This means that the car owner is the only person with legal rights to the vehicle. A clear title also makes it easier to sell a car since there are no liens attached to it.

What Is a Car Title?

Car titles refer to legal documentation that proves who owns a vehicle. In most states, the car title is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The car title includes the owner’s name and address, the make and model of the vehicle, the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), and other important information.

When you buy a new or used car from a dealership, they will usually handle the transfer of the car title for you. When you buy a car from a private seller, you will need to obtain and transfer the car title yourself.

You will also need to obtain a new car title if your old one is lost or damaged. In the event that you choose to finance your vehicle purchase, the lender will usually hold onto the car title until the loan is paid off.

It is important to keep your car title in a safe place, as it is proof of ownership and can be used to sell or transfer ownership of the vehicle.

What Is the Difference between a Car Title and Car Registration?

Most people think that a car title and registration are the same thing. There are some similarities, but there is a big difference between the two. A car title proves that you own the vehicle, while a car registration allows you to operate it on public roads.

A car title is a document that shows who owns a particular vehicle. You must first purchase the vehicle from a dealership or private seller before you can get its title. The title will list your name and address as the legal owner of the vehicle, and you will need to present your car title any time you sell or donate your vehicle.

A car registration is required in order to legally operate your vehicle on public roads. To register your car, you will need to fill out an application and pay a fee to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Your registration will list the make, model, and year of your vehicle, as well as your name and address. You will need to renew your car registration every one or two years, depending on your state’s laws.

A car title proves ownership, while a car registration allows you to legally operate the vehicle on public roads. Both documents are important, and you will need to have both in order to drive your car legally.

What Is a Vehicle Certificate of Destruction?

Certificates of Destruction are issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles to certify that a vehicle is forever dismantled, never to be used again on public roads. The Certificate of Destruction is also known as a “salvage certificate” or a “junking certificate.”

In order to obtain a Certificate of Destruction, the owner of the vehicle must first submit a completed application to the DMV, along with the required fees. The DMV will then inspect the vehicle to confirm that it has been permanently dismantled and is no longer roadworthy. Once the inspection is complete, the DMV will issue the Certificate of Destruction.

The Certificate of Destruction is an important document for both vehicle owners and scrap yards. For vehicle owners, the Certificate of Destruction serves as proof that the vehicle was properly disposed of and will not be subject to future registration fees. For scrap yards, the Certificate of Destruction is required in order to lawfully dispose of a vehicle.

Do you plan to scrap a vehicle? Be sure to obtain a Certificate of Destruction from the DMV before taking it to the scrap yard. This will ensure that the vehicle is properly disposed of and that you will not be liable for any future registration fees.

Please be aware that once a vehicle gets a Certificate of Destruction, that vehicle can never again be registered to operate.

What Is a Title Brand?

A title brand is a designation given to a car that has been previously owned and has had its title transferred to a new owner. The term “title brand” can also refer to a car with a salvage title, which means it has been declared a total loss by an insurance company.

There are several different types of title brands, and each one indicates a different level of damage or issue with the vehicle. Here is a quick refresher on some of the most common title brands:

Rebuilt: A rebuilt title brand indicates that the car was once declared a total loss, but it has since been repaired and is safe to drive.

Lemon Law: A lemon law title brand indicates that the car has been deemed unrepairable by the manufacturer and is therefore not safe to drive.

Flood: A flood title brand indicates that the car was submerged in water at some point and has sustained significant damage as a result.

Fire: A fire title brand indicates that the car was damaged in a fire and is not safe to drive.

Salvage: A salvage title brand indicates that the car has been declared a total loss by an insurance company due to extensive damage.

Anyone thinking of buying a car with a title brand needs to conduct sufficient research to make sure they understand what they’re getting into. Be sure to get a complete history of the vehicle from the seller, as well as a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) report, to make sure there are no hidden issues.

What Is a Lemon Title Brand?

Under the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a new car is considered a lemon if it has a serious manufacturing defect that cannot be repaired after a reasonable number of attempts. A vehicle owner whose car has been found to be a lemon may be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle.

Lemon laws vary from state to state, so it’s important to check the laws in your state to see what protections you may have. Some states have “implied warranty” laws that provide protection even if your car doesn’t have an explicit warranty.

In order to get a refund or replacement vehicle under the lemon law, you will need to prove that the manufacturer was notified of the problem and given a reasonable opportunity to fix it. You may need to keep records of repair attempts, as well as receipts, invoices, and other documentation.

Do you think you may have a lemon on your hands? Contact an experienced lemon law attorney in your state for help.

What Are the Requirements for a Replacement Car Title?

Listed below are the requirements for getting a replacement car title. Consult your state’s DMV website for specific information.

  • A completed Application for Replacement Title (Form HSMV 83140 in Florida, for example).
  • Proof that you own the vehicle in question.
  • Proof of identity (driver’s license, passport, state ID card, etc.).
  • The required replacement fee according to your state.

In the event that you’re buying a vehicle from someone who doesn’t have the original title, they will need to follow the steps above. Then, they can sign the replacement title over to you.

What Is the Process of Titling a Car?

The process of titling a car is important to understand if you want to be a responsible owner. In most states, you will need to title your car in your name within a certain period of time after purchasing it. The process usually involves going to your local DMV office and filling out the necessary paperwork.

You may also need to provide proof of insurance and registration. Once the process is complete, you will be the official owner of the vehicle and will be responsible for all taxes and fees associated with it.

It is important to note that the process of titling a car may vary slightly from state to state. Be sure to check with your local DMV office to find out the specific requirements in your area.

Key Points to Remember:

  1. In order to title a car, the owner will need to have the car’s title, registration, and proof of insurance.
  2. The car’s title will list the owner’s name and address, as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN).
  3. The registration will list the car’s make, model, and year, as well as the owner’s name and address.
  4. Proof of insurance is required in order to obtain a car title. The insurance must be active and in force at the time of titling.
  5. Once all of the required documents have been gathered, they can be taken to the local DMV office for processing.
  6. The DMV office will require the payment of a fee in order to title the car. This fee will vary by state.
  7. After the fee has been paid and the documents have been processed, the DMV will issue a new car title in the owner’s name.

Do You Need a Title to Junk a Car?

No, depending on your state. Some states require a title to scrap, while others do not. It’s important to note that having a title will increase the value of your junk car by $109 on average.

Make sure you contact your local DMV if you have any questions about whether you need a title to junk your car in your state.

What Are the Differences between Junk Title and Salvage Title?

There are a few key differences between junk title and salvage title. The first is that junk title is given to a vehicle that is considered to be beyond repair, while salvage title is given to a vehicle that has been damaged but can potentially be repaired.

Junk titles are typically given by insurance companies, while salvage titles are usually given by the state. This is because insurance companies will only pay out for a vehicle if it is considered to be a total loss, while a salvage title indicates that the vehicle may still have some value.

Another difference between the two types of titles is that vehicles with junk titles cannot be registered or driven on public roads, while vehicles with salvage titles can be registered and driven if they are repaired and pass inspection.

Finally, vehicles with junk titles are usually sold for scrap, whereas vehicles with salvage titles may be sold at auction or to a salvage yard.


There are many different types of car titles, and the process for obtaining each one can vary slightly. Knowing each type and how to obtain them can help you ensure that you’re getting the right title for your car.

Keep in mind that different states have different requirements for transferring titles, so be sure to check with your local DMV to find out what’s required in your state. Once you have the proper documentation, you can apply for a new title in your name.