Surety Solutions, A Gallagher Company
By Megan Hinojosa • September 7, 2016

Iowa Bonded Title: How To Get One

bonded title


Do you have a car in Iowa, but no title? Maybe you recently purchased a vehicle in Iowa, but never received the title. Or maybe you received the title, but lost it before transferring it into your name? You aren't stuck. You can get an Iowa Bonded Title.


Short on time? Check out our Bonded Title FAQ page


What is an Iowa Bonded Title?


An Iowa Bonded Title (also known as an Iowa Lost Title Bond) is a certificate that proves you own your vehicle. 


A bonded title is just like a regular title but it is marked "bonded", meaning that it has a surety bond attached to it.


When you get a bonded title, you are promising that you are the true owner the vehicle. 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, the surety company would pay the person a fair amount. It would then be your responsibility to repay the surety.


Curious about what would happen if someone made a claim on your bond? Check out this resource.


When You Need an Iowa 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 original 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 simply get a duplicate or replacement certificate of title by completing Form 411033 Application for Replacement of Iowa Certificate of Title to a Motor Vehicle, submitting it to your county treasurer's office, and paying the $25 replacement title fee. 

**Note that vehicles issues a junking certificate cannot be reinstated through the bonding procedure unless the vehicle is 25 years or older.

Not sure if you need an IA Bonded title? Check out this awesome infographic


How to get an Iowa Bonded Title



Step #1: Contact DMV to make sure you are eligible


Your local DMV or Iowa's Department of Transportation 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.

If they say yes, move on to Step #2. 


Step #2: Complete an Application for an Iowa Bonded Title


Step #3: Submit Application 

Include with your application any proof that you have of purchasing your vehicle, such as a bill of sale or cancelled check.

Submit to the following address:

Iowa DOT's Office of Vehicle and Motor Carrier Services
PO Box 9278
Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9278



Once you submit your application, the Department will:

  • Determine whether there is an active lien on the vehicle

If there is an active lien, the Department will follow through on that process. For details on what the Department will do, view the Iowa Bonded Title page.


Once following through on that process, the Department will:

  • Determine the current value of your vehicle
  • Send you a letter with the value of your vehicle
  • Require you to continue the bonded title process


Step #4: Calculate your bond amount


Next, you will need to calculate your bond amount. Multiply your vehicle value times 1.5. This is your bond amount.

For example, if the Department determines your vehicle to be worth $2,000 then your bond amount will need to be $3,000. Don't worry, this is not how much you have to pay for your bond.


Step #5: Purchase an Iowa Lost Title Bond

Purchase a bond from a surety bond company. Make sure you apply for the correct bond amount. (You calculated this in Step #4)

The price you pay for your bond is very small. Most people can get bonded for around $100.


Surety Solutions, A Gallagher Company does not issue Certificate of Lost Title Bonds


Before you purchase your title bond - learn important payment info



Step #6: Submit your title bond

Submit your title bond to Iowa DOT's Bureau of Investigations and Identity Protection. Include a letter authorizing the county treasurer to issue you a bonded title for your vehicle.


An investigator will contact you and make an appointment to verify that the information you submitted on your paperwork is correct.


One of two things will happen:

  • If your paperwork is approved, the investigator will give you the bond receipt and a copy of the authorization letter which you may then take to your county's treasurer's office, submit an application for a certificate of title, pay the appropriate fees, and register your vehicle. 


  • If the investigator does not approve your paperwork, the investigator will authorize the county treasurer to issue the bonded title, but your bonded title will be immediately suspended until your vehicle meets the approved requirements by the investigator.


Does my Iowa Bonded Title Expire?

Yes. IA Bonded Titles expire 3 years after their date of issuance. If after 3 years, no one comes forward and makes a claim against your Iowa Lost Title Bond (by saying they are the true owner of the vehicle) then you will be issued a standard certificate of title.


Related Links:

Everything You Need To Know About Title Bonds

Bonded Titles FAQ