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what is an instant title

What is an Instant Title

An instant title, as it relates to car titles in North Carolina and Illinois, is an expedited service that allows vehicle owners to receive their car title on the same day or next business day, rather than waiting for the standard processing time.

This service is offered by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in both states for an additional fee.

How Instant Titles Work in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the instant title service is designed to speed up the titling process for vehicle owners who need their title quickly. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Processing time: Titles are processed and issued on the same day or next business day.
  • Cost: The fee for an instant title in North Carolina is $105.75, which is in addition to the regular title fee.
  • Availability: Not all DMV offices offer instant title services. You’ll need to visit a designated location capable of issuing instant titles.
  • Requirements: You must provide the proper documentation, including the old title if applicable, and meet all other titling requirements.

It’s important to note that while the service is called “instant,” there may still be a short waiting period. For example, some offices may require you to wait up to an hour for processing.

Instant Titles in Illinois

Illinois also offers an expedited title service, though it may not be referred to as an “instant” title. Here’s what you should know about expedited titling in Illinois:

  • Processing time: While standard titles can take 2-6 weeks to arrive, expedited services can significantly reduce this time.
  • Availability: Not all DMV locations offer expedited services. Check with your local office or the Illinois Secretary of State website for participating locations.
  • Electronic Registration and Title (ERT) Program: Illinois has implemented an ERT program that allows certain service providers to process titles more quickly.

Benefits of Instant Titles

Getting an instant title can be beneficial in several situations:

  • Selling or trading a vehicle quickly
  • Securing insurance immediately
  • Retrieving an impounded car
  • Avoiding potential loss of title in the mail
  • Meeting urgent deadlines for vehicle transactions

What to Consider When Getting an Instant Title

Before opting for an instant title, keep these points in mind:

  • Higher cost: You’ll pay more for the expedited service.
  • Limited availability: Not all DMV offices offer this service.
  • Documentation: Ensure you have all required paperwork to avoid delays.
  • Specific locations: You may need to travel to a designated office that offers instant titles.

How to Obtain an Instant Title

To get an instant title in North Carolina or an expedited title in Illinois:

  1. Gather all necessary documentation (e.g., current title, ID, proof of insurance).
  2. Locate a DMV office that offers expedited title services.
  3. Visit the office in person (appointments may be required).
  4. Pay the required fees, including the additional cost for expedited service.
  5. Wait for your title to be processed and printed.

Remember, while these services are designed to be fast, they may still require some waiting time at the DMV office. It’s always best to arrive prepared with all necessary documents and information to ensure the smoothest possible transaction.


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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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