Do you have a car in Texas, but no title. Maybe you recently purchased a vehicle, but didn't receive the title. Or maybe you did receive the title, but lost it before transferring it into your name. Sounds like you need a Texas Bonded Title.
What is a Texas Bonded Title?
A Texas Bonded Title is a document that proves you own your vehicle.
A Texas Bonded Title looks just like a regular title, except the title is marked with a "bonded" brand. This brand implies there is a surety bond attached to the title.
Why You Need To Purchase a Surety Bond
The purpose of a TX Bonded Title is to protect any previous owners of the vehicle and the state of Texas.
Because you do not have a title to your vehicle, the DMV is not going to just magically issue you one. They will want some form of protection should it come about later on that you should not have been granted a bonded title. They seek protection in the form of a surety bond.
You can learn more about how the surety bond works and what it means to be bonded at the end of the article.
When You Need a Texas Bonded Title
You might need a bonded title in any of the following situations, though this is not a complete list. You should also always check with your local DMV before starting the process to ensure you are eligible for a bonded title.
- You bought a car and never received a title
- You bought a car and only received a bill of sale
- You bought a car and received an improperly assigned title
- You bought a car, received the title, but lost it before transferring it into your name*
*If you had the original title in your name at one point in time, but lost it, you can get a duplicate certificate of title. Apply for a duplicate title by completing an Application for a Certified Copy of Title and paying the replacement title fee.
How to get a Texas Bonded Title
Step #1: Contact DMV to make sure you are eligible
Your local DMV is the only entity that can tell you if you are eligible for a bonded title or not.
Contact your local DMV, explain your situation, and ask if you could get a bonded title.
In order to qualify, you must be:
- a Texas resident, or
- Military personnel stationed in Texas, or
- Have a vehicle that was last titled in Texas.
If the Department says you can get a bonded title, move on to Step #2.
Step #2: Submit paperwork
Submit the following paperwork to the Texas DMV Regional Service Center. Include a $15.00 administrative fee.
- Statement of Fact for Bonded Title
- Any supporting evidence of ownership (bill of sale, cancelled check, etc)
- Copy of photo ID
- You might also need to include a photo (or pencil tracing) of your vehicle's VIN number. If you are unable to take a photo or pencil tracing, you will need to complete Form VTR-270 Statement of Physical Inspection.
Step #3: Wait for approval
The Texas DMV Regional Service Center must approve your paperwork before you can move on to Step #4.
When your paperwork is approved, you will be issued a letter stating your bond amount.
The Department will determine the value of your vehicle using one of the following forms:
- The Standard Presumptive Value (SPV) Calculator on the Texas DMV website
- NADA reference guide
- If none of the above are available, a licensed motor vehicle dealer or insurance adjuster may appraise the vehicle on a form provided by TxDMV (Form VTR-125)
Step #4: Purchase Texas Lost Title Bond
Purchase a bond from a surety bond company. Make sure you apply for the correct bond amount.
The Department should give you your bond amount in Step #3. Your bond amount will be 1.5 times the value of your vehicle.
You do not need to pay the full bond amount to get bonded.
Most people only pay $100 for their bond. You only need to pay for your bond one time.
Surety Solutions, A Gallagher Company does not issue Certificate of Lost Title Bonds
Before you purchase your title bond - learn important payment info
Once you purchase your title bond, the surety company will mail you your title bond in the mail.
Step #5: Submit
Once you receive your bond in the mail from the surety bond company, submit it (along with all of the paperwork listed in Step #2 AND an Application for Texas Title) to your local county tax office.
You must submit your bond and paperwork within 30 days of receiving your approval letter in the mail.
For additional information on what to submit, view the Texas DMV Apply For a Bonded Title page.
What it Means to be Bonded
When you get a bonded title, you are promising that you are the true owner the vehicle, and that you will take responsibility for any bond claims.
If someone comes forward later on and says that they are the owner of the vehicle and that you should not have been granted a bonded title, they can make a claim on your bond.
If the claim is determined to be valid, you would be responsible for satisfying the claim. Usually, this would mean a financial compensation. The surety company would determine what is fair.
If you fail to satisfy the claim, the surety company would satisfy the claim for you. Then, they would come to you for reimbursement. Essentially, the bond holds you liable for your actions, no matter what.
Want more information about what happens if someone made a claim on your bond? Check out this resource.
Does my Texas Bonded Title Expire?
Yes, TX Bonded Titles expire 3 years after they are issued. This means the "bonded" brand remains on your bonded title for 3 years. During this time, you are responsible for any claims that might occur against your bond.
If no one comes forward and makes a claim against your TX Lost Title Bond during those 3 years, then you (or whoever owns the vehicle at the time), can go apply for the "bonded" brand to be removed from the title. If the DMV approves your request, then you will be issued a clear certificate of title.
If you decide to sell your vehicle before the 3 years is up, that is okay. Your name will remain on the surety bond, though, until the 3 years is up. You will be liable for any surety bond claims during those 3 years.