The car title is a critical document used for proof of ownership during transactions like buying, selling and transferring ownership. It also has critical information like the vehicle identification number (VIN), make and model, and the year of manufacture. While the specifics of a car title can vary by state, there are some universal elements to the documents that help you know what to expect.
In the United States, vehicle titles are issued by the state government and usually display the state name prominently. They are sometimes pink or blue and may contain specialized features to prevent forgery like watermarks or holograms. Some states have also adopted electronic lien and title (ELT) processing systems that remove the need for physical title transfers.
There are many different sections of a car title, with the most important ones being the owner and lienholder sections. The owner section typically includes the full name of the owner and contact information. The lienholder section identifies the lender and their account number, and it’s important to ensure the information on this part of the document is accurate.
The title also usually notes the date of issue, odometer reading and the year of manufacture. Some states have additional sections for dealer information, special endorsements such as Lemon Law Buyback and details of any prior accidents or damages. In some cases, the car title can also be used as a security deposit when applying for an online auto loan, with lenders often requiring that you have comprehensive and collision insurance before lending you money.