Iowa 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 Iowa title bond needs. Learn more about the Iowa bonded title process, below.

What Is a Bonded Title?

An Iowa bonded title allows you to insure, register, or transfer ownership of a vehicle you own but don’t have a valid certificate of title for. You must purchase one before you will be issued a bonded title.

The Iowa title bond is your guarantee that you are the vehicle’s rightful owner. It indemnifies the Iowa Department of Transportation against liability if it’s determined during the time that the bond is in force that you are not the vehicle’s rightful owner and should not have been issued a bonded title. Additionally, the bond ensures that the vehicle’s true owner or lienholder will be compensated for any financial loss resulting from you having been issued a bonded title.

Who Is Eligible for a Bonded Title?

Most people seek a bonded title because they were not given a valid, properly assigned certificate of title at the time they purchased a vehicle in a private sale. Or, they may have received a valid title certificate that was lost or stolen before the vehicle could be registered to the new owner. Iowa doesn’t issue bonded titles for junk vehicles that are more than 25 years old.

Your local DMV can tell you whether you meet the eligibility criteria for a bonded title.

How Do I Get a Bonded Title?

These are the main steps in the process for getting an Iowa bonded title:

  • Complete an “Application for Registration and Bonded Certificate of Title for a Vehicle” and submit it, along with any documents supporting your claim (such as a bill of sale) to the DOT, Office of Vehicle and Motor Carrier Services in Des Moines.
  • The DOT will conduct a title search of Iowa records. If a prior owner of record is found, the DOT will notify that party and request a waiver of further claim. If there is no response, or DOT receives a waiver within 10 days, your application will continue to be processed.
  • DOT will send you a bond form and instructions to purchase a three-year Iowa title bond, which will be 1.5 times the vehicle’s current value as determined by DOT.
  • You must then purchase the necessary Iowa title bond and submit it to the DOT’s Bureau of Investigations and Identity Protection. An investigator will review your paperwork. If it’s approved, the DOT will send you a receipt for the bond and an approval letter for the county treasurer.
  • You will take the letter to your county treasurer’s office, fill out an application for a bonded title certificate, and register your vehicle.

If DOT does not approve your paperwork, you can still get a bonded title, but it will be suspended until you correct the problems identified by the investigator.

How Are Title Bond Claims Paid?

If someone comes forward and claims ownership of the vehicle within the three years that your Iowa title bond is in force, and that claim is found to be valid, you may be liable for monetary damages. The surety bond company will pay the claim up to the full amount of the bond. However, as the bond’s “principal,” you are legally obligated to compensate the injured party, so you must reimburse the surety company in full.

If there are no valid claims during the bond’s three-year term, you will be able to exchange your bonded title for a standard certificate of title.

How Much Does an Iowa Title Bond Cost?

Most Iowa title bonds are sold for a flat fee that often is as little as $100, with minimal to no underwriting by the bonding company.

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