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Illinois Lost Car Title Guide

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If you’re unable to provide proof of ownership when applying for a new vehicle title, you’ll need to obtain an Illinois bonded title. Why do you need a bond for this? The bond protects the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois, as well as any subsequent owners, in case of a fraudulent claim of ownership.

The Illinois Lost Title Application Process

Applications for an Illinois bonded title are handled through the Driver Services Department of the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois. These may be submitted by mail or by visiting your local Secretary of State facility. If you have any questions throughout the process, you can also call 1-(800) 252-8980 for general questions or 217-782-9796 for specific questions regarding obtaining an Illinois bonded title.

Step 1: Complete the Main Illinois Lost Title Application

Illinois has an Electronic Registration and Title (ERT) System. You’ll need to complete and print out this main application document, along with additional documents, for a bonded title. You can complete the application online and print it out.

Note: Once you complete the ERT application, you have seven days to submit it along with the other documents and fees.

Step 2: Compile the Required Documents

In addition to the application mentioned above, you’ll need to include the following documents in your bonded vehicle title application:

  • Documents supporting your claim of ownership. Examples can include a bill of sale, receipt, or canceled check. If none are available, please provide a notarized statement explaining how you came to own the vehicle.
  • If there was a previous lienholder, you’ll need to provide a lien release.
  • A Motor Vehicle Use Tax Return form and tax payment must be included if applicable. To determine if you’ll need to include this you can call the Illinois Department of Revenue at 217-785-6606.

Step 3: Obtain a Written Appraisal

You’ll need to obtain a written appraisal of the wholesale value of your vehicle from a licensed new or used vehicle dealer in Illinois. The description included within the appraisal must contain the following information:

  • Description of the vehicle, including year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Current wholesale value
  • Statement that the vehicle is intact and that all major component parts are present and in running condition
  • Statement that the appraisal value is accurate to the best of the appraiser's knowledge and that the affirmation is made under penalties of perjury
  • Signature and printed name of the appraiser
  • Firm name, address and dealer license number, or real estate license number, if applicable
  • Date of appraisal

Step 4: Obtain a Illinois Lost Title Bond

You can submit either a cash bond or a surety bond worth 1.5 times the vehicle’s appraised value along with your application. A cash bond means you’ll supply the entire amount in cash, whereas a surety bond will only require you to pay a premium to a bonding company.

  • If providing a cash bond, you’ll need to provide a document proving you’ve paid the required amount to the Illinois State Treasurer
  • If providing a surety bond, you’ll need to include a completed Power of Attorney form from the bonding company along with your completed bond form

When you have all of the required forms and documents together, you must submit them along with a $95 issuance of title fee to the following address:

Secretary of State
Vehicle Titles Division
Attn: Bonded Titles
609 Howlett Building
501 S. Second St.
Springfield, IL 62756-7000


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