TN Lost Car Title Guide

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If you own a vehicle but are unable to prove that ownership with a title because it has been lost, damaged, or destroyed, you’ll need to find other ways to show your ownership. This guide shows you how to use a surety bond to obtain a Tennessee bonded vehicle title. With this process, you will supply a bond to protect the state against a fraudulent claim of vehicle ownership.

The Tennessee Lost Title Application Process

Applications for a Tennessee bonded title are handled by the Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Special Investigation Section. If you have any questions throughout the process, you’re encouraged to contact the department at 888-871-3171 statewide and 615-741-3101 in the Nashville area or out of state.

Step 1: Determine if You’re Eligible

This process applies to vehicles that have not been previously titled under your name. If you have previously held a title for the vehicle under your name, simply apply for a Tennessee duplicate title.

If your vehicle is worth $3,000 or less, or if it is at least 30 years old, you can apply for a certificate of ownership.

If neither of these apply to you, you should contact the Special Investigation Section for final confirmation of your eligibility for a Tennessee bonded title. Their contact info is in the section above.

Note: You can only receive a bonded title for a vehicle that is roadworthy.

Step 2: Complete Your Lost Title Bond Application

When you complete your Tennessee lost title bond application, you’ll need to provide a reason why you’re not able to otherwise prove ownership (filled out on the form). You’ll also need to complete basic information about your vehicle, including the make, year and vehicle identification number. The bonding section of the form should be completed with a bonding company.

Step 3: Obtain Your Lost Title Bond

You’ll need to obtain a surety bond worth 1.5 times the value of your vehicle according to the NADA Guide appraised value. You won’t have to pay the full amount of the bond: a bonding company will provide the guarantee in exchange for a premium based on your credit rating, usually ranging from 1-15%.


When you’ve completed all of the above steps, mail in your documents along with certification of your vehicle’s identification number to your local county clerk’s office or the following address:

Vehicle Services Division
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, Tennessee
37243-8050

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