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Can You Register a Car Without a Title in MA

Can You Register a Car Without a Title in MA

Maybe you lost your title and you’re wondering if you can register a car without a title in MA.

Registering a vehicle without a title in Massachusetts is possible but comes with specific requirements.

While state law generally mandates all cars be titled within 10 days of purchase, certain older vehicles or lightweight trailers may qualify for exemptions.

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When Registration Without a Title is Allowed

Massachusetts title laws require passenger vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, and heavy trailers (over 3,000 lbs) to obtain a title within 10 days. However, you may legally register without a title if your vehicle matches these criteria:

  • Older Cars: Passenger vehicles over 20 years old (model year 1980 or earlier) purchased before November 1990 are exempt.
  • Lightweight Trailers: Trailers 3,000 lbs and under do not require titles.

Documentation Needed to Register Without a Title

If your vehicle qualifies for registration without a title, you’ll need to provide:

  • Bill of Sale: Signed by seller with details on the vehicle sale, including VIN, price, date, and parties involved.
  • Previous Registration (if available): The most recent from the prior owner further confirms proof of ownership.
  • RMV Application: Completed Registration and Title Application form.

Step-by-Step Process to Register

Follow these key steps to register your vehicle without a title at the RMV:

  1. Gather Documents: Have your bill of sale, prior registration, and RMV application ready.
  2. Visit RMV: Bring documents and pay applicable registration fees onsite.
  3. Verification: The RMV checks the vehicle is not stolen or salvaged.
  4. Approval: With all in order, you receive license plates and registration.

Important Considerations

  • If your vehicle still requires a title, you can apply for a bonded title by purchasing a surety bond.
  • For missing titles, apply for a duplicate title through the RMV.
  • Contact the Massachusetts RMV for latest guidance on registering without titles.

When a Massachusetts Bonded Title is Required

If your vehicle does not meet the registration exemptions and lacks documentation proving ownership, applying for a bonded title is the alternative option before registering.

Here’s an overview of bonded titles in Massachusetts:

  • Serves as a regular title + “bonded” brand
  • Requires purchasing a surety bond for 1.5 times your vehicle’s value
  • “Bonded” brand stays for 3 years then can be removed
  • Allows registration if standard titling documentation unavailable

Purchasing a Massachusetts bonded title involves:

  1. Confirming eligibility with MA Title Division
  2. Submitting vehicle history paperwork & inspection
  3. Awaiting approval and determining vehicle value
  4. Calculating bond amount correctly
  5. Buying bond and application for title
  6. Applying to register vehicle with bonded title

Be prepared to supply extensive vehicle history documentation when applying for a bonded title. Working closely with both the Title Division and RMV will ensure you meet the state’s requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • Massachusetts law requires most vehicles obtain titles but provides registration exemptions for older cars or lightweight trailers
  • If your vehicle qualifies to skip titling, have bill of sale, prior registration, and completed RMV application to register
  • Bonded titles allow registration without standard ownership documentation but involve additional steps
  • Always verify specific titling and registration requirements with the RMV

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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