California Bonded Title Process

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Surety Bond Professionals is a family-owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your California title bond needs. Learn more about the California bonded title process, below.

What Is a California Bonded Title?

A California bonded title is your best solution if you bought a vehicle in a private sale and the seller:

  • Did not give you a title certificate
  • Gave you a defective (altered, improperly assigned, or illegible) title
  • Gave you a valid title, but it was lost or stolen before the vehicle was ever registered in your name

A California bonded title will allow you to do the same things you could do with a standard title—insure, register, sell, or otherwise transfer ownership of the vehicle.

A bonded title is backed by a three-year surety bond that provides a way to compensate any party who can prove both ownership of the vehicle or a lien against it and a financial loss resulting from you having been issued a bonded title. It also protects the state of California for having issued you the bonded title.

Who is Eligible for a California Bonded Title?

Your local DMV office can tell you whether you are eligible for a California bonded title. Not all vehicles will qualify.

How Do I Get a Bonded Title?

The process for obtaining a California bonded title can be a little complicated. Don’t hesitate to ask for guidance from your local DMV staff. In general, the process involves these steps:

  • Complete an application for a California bonded title and other applicable forms, including a Statement for Facts form explaining how you acquired the vehicle and your lack of a valid title.
  • Fill in the vehicle’s current appraised value. Depending on the specific details of your situation, you may also need to provide:
    • An odometer statement (for a vehicle less than 10 years old)
    • A Weight Certificate (for a vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or less empty) or a Declaration of Gross Vehicle Weight/Combined Gross Vehicle Weight (for a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds)
    • A Certificate of Non-operation (if the vehicle will not be operated on any road or freeway in California)
  • Have the vehicle inspected by an individual authorized by the DMV, who will verify the VIN and complete the necessary form.
  • Purchase a California title bond in an amount equal to the appraised value of the vehicle.
  • Submit all paperwork, including the bond certificate to the local DMV office.

You will be issued a California bonded title once the DMV has approved your paperwork.

How Are Title Bond Claims Paid?

If a valid claim is filed against your California title bond by a prior owner or lienholder who can substantiate a financial loss as a result of you claiming ownership of the vehicle, you are legally obligated to pay it. In practice, to expedite the process, the bonding company will pay a valid claim on your behalf, but you must then repay that debt.

If your bond expires with no claims having been filed against it, you can apply for a standard certificate of title.

How Much Does a Title Bond Cost?

Different bonding companies may have different pricing methods. However, in general, bonds for less than $25,000 are not subject to underwriting and are sold for a small flat fee, potentially as low as $100. Bonds for more than $25,000 are sold for a one-time premium that is only a small percentage of the bond amount. That percentage (the premium rate) is based largely on the purchaser’s personal credit score. With good credit, you’ll qualify for a premium rate in the range of 1% to 2%.

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Our surety bond professionals will get you the California title bond you need at a competitive rate.