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How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Car Title in Massachusetts

Having a misplaced or lost car title in Massachusetts can easily be mistaken for a minor concern. However, astolen, misplaced orlost title, or an auto title that has become damaged or been accidentally destroyed,has the potential to become a significant problemvery quickly. Vehicle titles are unique legal documentation of vehicle ownership.Physical copies of a vehicle’s title issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in good condition are essential to owners’ ability to initiate many important vehicle transactions.

It is always in vehicle owners’ best interests to promptlyreplace car title documentation when it becomes lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed. There are several reasons for this. First, the RMV title replacement process is not instant. Although replacements take less time than the initial issuance of a title, motorists may still need to wait a few weeks to receive their duplicate titles by mail. Holidays and other factors can extend that timeframe. While not extensive, this wait time can frustratingly delay vehicle sales, insurance claims and other title-dependent processes.

Second, to file for lost title replacements, applicants will need information about their vehicles that is easiest to get from the vehicle itself or from documentation kept in the vehicle such as the registration. It is easier to apply for a car title replacement when the vehicle and paperwork are readily at hand. Vehicle owners who wait to replace a lost vehicle title until there has been an accident or another event may not have access to that information, complicating and delaying the process further.

Information Needed to Apply for a Massachusetts RMV Lost Title Replacement

Massachusetts motorists wondering, “I lost my car title, now what?” are often pleased to discover that replacing a title is generally easier and less expensive than ordering an initial title or transferring a title from another state.

Lost car title replacements can be ordered in person, by mail or online. Drivers will need their vehicle identification numbers (VIN) and their drivers’ license identification numbers to submit a request for anRMV title replacement. Alternatively, motorists may supply their title numbers in place of their vehicles’ VIN numbers if they prefer. Title numbers are listed on vehicles’ registrations for easy reference.

Applicants filing for lost title replacements who choose to apply in person or by mail will need to complete and submit the correct form. It is important to note that it is not the same form used to request an initial title or to transfer a title into Massachusetts from out of state. Car title replacement applications being submitted in person may be taken to any RMV service center. Applicants who are members of AAA may also be able to get their requests processed at participating AAA locations. Applicants should verify which forms of payment a service center accepts before going. Not all service centers accept all forms of payment.

Applying for a Copy of Car Titlein Massachusetts

To replace a lost title in Massachusetts online, applicants simply need to gather the necessary ID numbers and then either log onto the appropriate site or call the RMV’s dedicated line. Applicants should provide their information where and how it is requested. Applicants seeking to replace car titles should pay careful attention to details during the application process and verify that their address on record with the RMV is correct before submitting their applications. 

Copies of car titles may be requested in person or by mail using the appropriate form. As with other forms of application, it is essential that applicants verify they have provided all required information accurately and legibly before submitting their requests. Missing, incorrect or unreadable information can delay or prevent the processing of a request.

Checking Massachusetts RMVAuto Title Status

Before applying for a Massachusetts RMV title replacement, motorists may wish to take a moment to check the status of their titles. Using the same information needed to request a duplicate title as well as some basic personally identifying information, vehicle owners can check the status of their titles with the RMV by phone or online. AnRMV title check can verify the date the title was issued, if there is a lienholder on the title (and, if so, who it is) and where the duplicate title will be sent. This information can be particularly useful to motorists filing for lost title replacements who:

  • Are unsure if they received their titles from the lienholders when their balances were paid off.
  • Are experiencing confusion about a possible lien on their vehicle and need to know the correct party to contact.
  • Believe the lost title may reflect joint ownership, an old or incorrect address or another discrepancy that needs to be addressed before they request the duplicate.

Other Massachusetts RMV Title Replacement Considerations

RMV title replacement requests for vehicles that were purchased without financing can be requested by the vehicles’ owners without the involvement of current or former lienholders. To replace lost vehicle titles on vehicles that were purchased using financing, owners may need assistance from the lienholder. This can be true even when the vehicle loan has been completely paid off.

In some cases, applicants will need to include with their applications letters from their former lienholders clearly identifying the vehicle and stating that the lien is no longer in place. There is no time limit on this rule. Lienholder letters may be required to replace car titles long after vehicle loans are paid off.

If a lost or damaged title is found after a car title replacement is issued, then the original must be turned in to the RMV. If a motorist is applying for a replacement because the original title is damaged, then the damaged title must be surrendered with the replacement application.

If the motorist to whom a vehicle is titled has died, then the replacement car title request must be accompanied by a valid death certificate and some form of qualifying legal paperwork thatauthorizes the applicant to legally take possession of the title in the deceased’s place.

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