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How do I Find My Title Number If I Lost the Title?

by Jackie Lohrey

A title number is a unique, multi-digit number stamped in the information section of a vehicle title. States that use title numbers also refer to them as control or document numbers. A title number can be used to locate a vehicle title, but by itself cannot tell you anything about a vehicle associated with it.

A lien holder, insurance company or State Motor Vehicle Department might ask you to supply a title number when adding a lien, insuring the vehicle or transferring ownership. When you can’t provide the number because you lost the title, explore other options or request a duplicate title.

It’s possible that you haven’t misplaced or lost the title at all. Some states no longer issue paper titles but do maintain an electronic title system. Contact your state DMV department or website to see if your title is electronically maintained and to get instructions to view, print or request a paper title.

Most states are “title-to-lien holder states” where the lien holder, not the owner, retains the title until the loan is paid in full. If the vehicle has a lien, or if you’ve recently paid the loan in full, contact the lien holder and ask for the title number.

Check the vehicle’s current registration card or the registration renewal bill. Not all states print the title number on the vehicle’s annual registration card, so look for a listing that specially states the number you’re looking at is a title number.

As a last resort, request a duplicate title. Each state has its own procedures for making a duplicate title request.

For example, while some states allow you to submit a request online, by mail or in person, Nebraska DMV rules allow only for in person requests at any County Treasurer's office. To get a duplicate title in Nebraska, you’ll need a completed, notarized duplicate title application that includes the vehicle identification number, the name of the lien holder if there is one, signatures for each person named as an owner and the application fee. The only exception to the signature requirement is for a title held by spouses in which one spouse acts as an agent and signs for the other.

Tips

For same day service, submit a duplicate title request in person. Otherwise, most states mail the title within a few business days.

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.

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