I Lost My Title...Now What? Duplicate Title or Bonded Title

By Ann Mullen-Martin
Mullen Insurance Agency

If you simply lost a title, replacing it may be easy and not require a bonded title. The last registered owner can obtain a duplicate title in four easy steps:

  1. Visit the nearest TxDMV regional service center

  2. Complete the Application – VTR-34 – all recorded owners must sign the form at the time of application

  3. Provide a photo ID

  4. Pay the $5.45 fee.

Steps and Hurdles

Sometimes an original release of lien letter may also be required. There are a few more steps and hurdles if the title happens to have a lien or be in the name of a trust. Still, the procedure is relatively easy and does not require any bond. However, sometimes dealers are unable to contact the last registered owner, or the registered owner is not willing or able to help get a title. In those instances, you may need to obtain a bonded title (which we discussed in a previous article).

Some Possible Gotchas

Let's talk a minute about some of the possible ‘gotchas':
  • A lien less than 10 years old can create a challenge. Surety bonds are not readily available for vehicles with liens because of the possible claims. Most sureties require a certificate of lien release prior to issuing a bond.
  • If the vehicle was previously titled in another state or imported or is a commercial vehicle, additional documents could be required in Step 2.
  • If you need a bond of more than $25,000 in value, then underwriting comes into the picture. Surety underwriters evaluate the risk to be taken. Remember, bonds are not insurance but rather promises that YOU will pay. That risk can be increased by credit ratings and other underwriting considerations. While bonds at values of $25,000 or less have uniform prices among sureties, that is not the case with the higher-risk bonds. Those costs can vary significantly from surety to surety.
  • Because these bonds must be paid for in full at the time of purchase, the expense of a high-risk bond can be enough to cause a dealer to opt for a tax assessor-collector hearing.
  • If you do not complete the process of filing for your bonded title within 30 days, you start completely over.


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