Bonded Titles, otherwise known as Certificate of Title Bonds, or just Title Bonds are a type of surety bond. Surety bonds are a type of financial guarantee which take place between three parties. These are known as the principal (the party which is required to obtain a bond), the obligee (the party who requires that the principal obtains the bond) and the surety (usually surety company which guarantees that the bond obligations are performed).
These three parties cooperate through the bond to ensure that the principal acts according to law in a given arena. In these cases, Bonded Titles are used to ensure that the law is being followed in terms of ownership of the vehicle.
In this article, we’ll offer you all the information you need to get bonded with confidence.
What is a Bonded Title?
A Bonded Title is used most commonly to demonstrate ownership of a vehicle when the original title is missing or incomplete. In this capacity, they are able to act as duplicate titles. Moreover, they generally transition into full vehicle titles after a given period of time.
However, the primary role of Certificate of Title Bonds is to guarantee that the owner of a vehicle who is required to post a Title Bond is supplying truthful information about the vehicle in question. In the event that the bondholder misrepresents any information about the vehicle, such as its ownership history, the bond provides a financial guarantee to protect injured parties with a legitimate claim against the bondholders. These parties might include lienholders or legal previous owners in the event of theft.
Why is a Bonded Title Required?
Vehicle titles are used to verify that a given motor vehicle is being bought by a new owner, sold and owned legally. They contain valuable information such as the vehicle’s make, age, the owner’s name and the vehicle identification number (VIN). Without this title, it’s difficult to prove that a given vehicle is owned legally.
Title surety bonds offer protection to any party which might be hurt by the illegal sale or possession of a vehicle, such as that vehicle’s legal owner. As such, there are several circumstances in which a Bonded Title is usually required. These circumstances include:
- When buying a vehicle without a vehicle title
- When the car title lacks important information, such as the name of the current owner
- When buying a classic or antique vehicle which doesn’t have a title.
- When the buyer loses the original title before it could be transferred to their name.
Certificate of Title Bonds also allow the bondholders to buy insurance for their vehicle.
How to Get a Bonded Title
- You should first make every effort to find the original title, as well as any documents which evidence the vehicle’s ownership history. In order to do this, you may wish to contact prior owners, vehicle dealers or local state authorities.
- Ask your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to calculate the value of the bond you must post. The value of this bond will vary depending on a combination of each state’s laws and the value of your car.
- Your state DMV will then ask you to provide them with paperwork, so that they can verify your eligibility for a bond. This paperwork may include providing them with documents such as your driving license or a bill of sale. Equally, you may have to fill forms provided by the DMV itself. For example, in order to obtain a California title, applicants must fill in a form known as REG 256, or the Statement of Facts. Which they must then submit to the California DMV.
- Once your DMV has agreed that you are ready for your Title Bond, you may approach a bonding company to begin your Bonded Title application.
How much does a Title Bond cost?
It’s worth noting that there is a significant difference between the cost and value of a surety bond. The value of a surety bond, or the bond amount, is equal to the full amount which that bond covers. In most states, the owners are required to post bonds worth either 1, 1.5 or 2 times the value of their vehicle. If, for example, the value of your vehicle is $5,000, you may be required to post a bond worth $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000. Surety bonds under $20,000 such as these don’t require underwriting.
However, the cost of that bond, or the bond price, is only a small portion of the bond value. Whilst bondholders are financially responsible, and must repay the full value of the bond in the event of a successful claim, they usually only have to pay that small portion, which is known as the bond premium. In the case of Certificate of Title bonds, this premium typically costs $100.
To get a free, no-obligations quote on your bond, simply submit your surety bond application.
In order to help you gain the most comprehensive possible understanding of Bonded Titles, we’ll answer a few FAQs here.
Questions about Bonded Title
When Is a Bonded Title Required?
The exact circumstances in which vehicle owners are required to take out a Bonded Title vary state by state. However, in most cases, if you own or wish to buy a vehicle which lacks a vehicle title, or if that vehicle title is incomplete, then a Bonded Title is necessary. In order to learn the specific bonding requirements for your state, you should consult your local DMV.
What Can a Bonded Title Be Used For?
The central use of Bonded Titles is to act as a form of financial protection to potentially harmed parties. However, it also holds benefits for the bondholder. It can allow the bondholder to possess proof of ownership in place of an incomplete, non-existent or lost title bond.
This is essential, as proof of legal ownership is necessary for buying insurance, or selling the vehicle. The bond may also be passed between owners if the vehicle is sold, in much the same way that a title transfer takes place when an original title is present.
How Are Title Bond Claims Paid?
First, a claim must be made against the bond by an injured party. The surety company who has provided the bond will then launch an investigation into the claim. If they find that the claim is valid, then the surety will pay damages to the claimant up to the full value of the bond. It is then the responsibility of the bonded party to pay the surety back in full. For that reason, it is sensible for bondholders to avoid claims being made against their bond.
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