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How to Replace a Lost Vehicle Title in California

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California drivers must have a California car title as proof of ownership of their vehicle. In the event of a lost, damaged or stolen car title, you must apply for a CA car title replacement as soon as possible.

More Important Information on Car Title Replacement

How to Report a Stolen Car Title

The California DMV does not require you to notify local law enforcement about a stolen or lost car title. However, recommends reporting the missing car title before applying for a car title replacement. Reporting the theft will protect your identity should somebody find your car title and attempt to use it as their own.

California Eligibility Requirements for Obtaining a Duplicate Car Title

The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires drivers to replace car title documents:

  1. Lost car titles
  2. Stolen car titles
  3. Car titles damaged beyond legibility

Additionally, replacing car titles is common practice after changing your name or address. Regardless of your reason for needing a new document, there are two methods for replacing car titles with the CA DMV:

  • In person
  • By mail

Replace Car Title In Person

To replace car titles at a local CA DMV office, you must have the following:

  • A completed Application for Duplicate Title form (REG 227), which must be notarized and signed by the legal owner. The following details need to be included:
    • The owner's complete name
    • The owner's address
    • The owner's California drivers license number
    • The number of the car's license plates
    • A signed statement of facts about what happened to the car title
  • Your CA driving license.
  • Payment of the $19 fee, which can vary based on the type of vehicle.
    • The CA DMV accepts cash, checks, money orders, and debit/ATM cards

When applying to replace car titles in person, be sure to make an appointment at the DMV to avoid long lines and unnecessary wait times.
Note: While proof of car insurance is not required, it is always a good idea to have your insurance card with you when you go to the DMV office.

Replace Car Title By Mail

If you would like to replace lost car titles by mail, the process is just as easy. Fill out an Application for Duplicate Title form (REG 227), have it notarized, and send it with a check or money order for the $19 car title replacement fee to the following address:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Registration Operations
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001    

How to Replace a Car Title if Out-of-State/on Military Duty

If you have lost your car title and are either out-of-state or an active service military member, you are still required to obtain a car title replacement. To do so, you will have to follow the steps associated with applying by mail.

  1. Fill out an Application for Duplicate Title form (REG 227) and have it notarized.
  2. Enclose a check or money order for the $19 car title replacement fee.
  3. Send the form and payment to the following address:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Vehicle Registration Operations
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001    

To learn about other circumstances, contact the CA Department of Motor Vehicles directly.

If Your Title Is Damaged

In the event that your title is not lost or stolen but only damaged, the CA DMV requires that you submit your damaged title when you go to obtain your replacement. You can do so by mail or in person.

If You Find Your Lost Title

If you happen to locate the title that you had lost after receiving your replacement document, it is recommended that you contact the CA DMV for further action. While the original title that had been lost has been rendered invalid because of your replacement, it is best to notify the DMV so that you take the appropriate action.

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