Should I Buy a Car with a Bonded Title

Should I Buy a Car with a Bonded Title: Here is What You Need to Know

Purchasing a vehicle can be a confusing process; many people are left with questions.

One thing that is essential to know before buying a car is the title’s standing. Should you buy a car with a bonded title? Well, you can still register and buy a car with a bonded title, just like any car with a regular title.

Buying a car with insufficient ownership documentation can take additional time and effort.

That is why it is recommended to use a bonded title. It is likely that a vehicle with a bonded title once had a regular title, but this has been lost or damaged between title transfers.

A title marked “bonded” can cause alarm since most people are oblivious to what this means, but this reaction isn’t always necessary. Hopefully, in this article, we can resolve some of the concerns you might have relating to it.

What is a Bonded Title?

First off, let us look at what they are. Simply put, a bonded title is a document that establishes who owns the car. This document can also be known as a Certificate of Title Surety Bond or Lost Title Bond.

It can still be used to register the car with the Department of Motor Vehicles, also known as the DMV, insure the car, or sell the car.

Bonded titles will be used when original car titles have been lost or damaged, and the car legal owner have no way of verifying they own their vehicles and vehicle title. It is their legal and financial responsibility.

Four Reasons Why You Need a Bonded Title

Below are some reasons why you might need to obtain a bonded title:

You purchased a car without receiving a title or a bill of sale

Many people tend to sell or donate their vehicles without signing any contract. For instance, if you win a supercar in a Fast and Furious-styled race, you certainly will not request your rival to sign over the title to your name or to sign a gift contract. Another much more common example would be if you bought a classic car from a vendor, and they didn’t provide you with the title.

Bonded title rules vary from one state to another. For instance, for a Texas bonded title, you require to file the following:

  • Copy of your photo ID
  • Statement of fact for a bonded title
  •  Statement of physical inspection
  • Supporting evidence for your title claim

If you do not have a bill of sale, title, or gift contract, it may be hard to prove that you are the car’s legal owner. In this case, you could also use a notarized statement, sale receipt, or canceled check that explains how you acquired your vehicle and vehicle title.

You purchased a car with a bill of sale

This is another reason you need a bonded title to sign over the title rights. You should retain your bill of sale and use it as supporting evidence for your title claim.

You purchased a car and lost the title

If you lost the title document before applying the title in your name, you should use a notarized statement, bill of sale, or a receipt to get a bonded title. In different circumstances, if you transfer the title in your name before losing it, you don’t have to obtain a bonded title. You can apply for a duplicate title certificate (DTC) at any DMV.

You purchased a car and received a badly signed title

Last but not least, you need a bonded title when you buy a car with a title that is not appropriately signed.

Even if the car seller signed over the title, you must examine it carefully. Badly signed titles comprise those that are listed under the wrong name.

So, should you buy a car with a bonded title? Since the bonded title is not necessarily a red flag, you can buy the vehicle.

Steps in Obtaining Bonded Title 

Now that you know why you might need a bonded title, how do you get one? The steps are outlined below:

Meet primary standards

Some states will only provide bonded titles to cars over a certain age and below a certain price with no earlier title applications on record. There are even some states that do not provide bonded titles at all, but they do have alternative options. Start by affirming you are qualified through the DMV.

Show ownership

You need to show ownership of your car with a receipt, bill of sale, or a copy of the check you used to buy it. If you cannot issue these documents, some states accept a notarized explanation of how you ended up owning the car.

Obtain an appraisal

Look into the value of your car using the NADA Guide or Kelly Blue Book Values. You might also be permitted to rely on a licensed car dealer.

Determine your bond amount

Lost title bonds normally have to be worth more than the car’s value, often 1.5X or 2X the value. Hence, if your car is worth $4,000, you may need a bond for $8,000, but that figure refers to the total the bond will pay, not the actual cost of the bond.

Locate a surety company

Find a surety company such as Viking Bond Service that can provide missing car title bond in your state. You will be required to fill out an application, indicate the amount you need the bond to cover, and pay a fee based on that amount. In many instances, fees are around $100. 

Finalize the application

This is the final step in obtaining a bonded title. Once you have an active bond, provide evidence along with a completed title bond application to the DMV. You may also have to pay administrative fees or applications related to acquiring the bonded title.


Buying a car can be hectic sometimes; it requires research before making a final decision, especially if there are factors you aren’t knowledgeable about, like bonded titles.

So, should you buy a car with a bonded title after all? Yes, a car title with bonded should not be a cause for alarm, as it is just like a regular car title. However, you need to research why a particular car you are interested in can have a bonded title, and if the reasons do not coincide with the four reasons we mentioned above, then there is a need to be alarmed. Otherwise, you can buy a car even if the title is bonded.