Did you know that a car can have multiple titles? Different types of car titles can designate who owns them, where they came from, their state of repair, and whether or not they are legal to drive. With a proper type of title, your car falls under different requirements to be driven legally in the State of Florida.

Car titles can also affect the value of a vehicle. Improper titling of your car could make you get charged fees, and can even result in criminal charges. Learn more about the various types of car titles below:

Titles that Explain a Car's First Sale

When a car is first sold, there are two documents that track the origin of the vehicle.

What is a Certificate of Origin?

Car manufacturers issue a Certificate of Origin when a car is first delivered to a dealership. The dealership issues the certificate, and when the car is sold to new owners, it is used to transfer the ownership of the car or truck.

What is a Statement of Origin?

When a car is imported or transferred within the US, a Statement of Origin gets issued to record accurate details on the origin of the vehicle and facilitate transfers of the vehicle.

Titles Can Track a Car’s Ownership History

What is a Clear Title?

A clean title on a used vehicle is a good sign for used car buyers. When a car’s title is clean, it means that there are no liens, no major damages that resulted in the car being “totalled” by an insurance company. Whoever owns a clean title is the only owner, no loans are issued, and therefore no one else can claim ownership of all or part of the vehicle.

What does it mean when a car has a Salvage Title?

If a car has a Salvage Title, it’s usually because the car has either been stolen or that it was totalled, aka damaged to such an extent that an insurance company declared it wasn’t worth fixing. 

In Florida, if an insurance company did not declare the car totalled, it was most likely uninsured. In either case, the car will usually be given a Salvage Title if the cost of repairs are greater than 80 percent of the current market value of the car.

If the totalling process is handled by an Insurance company, they will be required to auction the car. The salvage title is issued on the car. If the car is uninsured, the owner has 72 hours to go to the DMV and declare it salvaged so that it can be processed.

What is a Junk Title?

When cars are sold to junkyards to be scrapped for parts, a Junk Title will be issued to track the car’s VIN. Junk titles, salvage titles, and certificates of destruction are rarely removed from titles.

What is a Certificate of Destruction?

An insurance company might issue a Certificate of Destruction when a car is marked for destruction. This means the car will not be used or registered again.

Sometimes an insurance company will issue these certificates for cars that are in good shape if they have a defect. This is meant to protect the company from legal action if a car is resold or placed back on the road and someone gets hurt.

What is a Reconstructed Title?

A Reconstructed Title is made for a car that has been heavily modified or reconstructed. Who can issue a Reconstructed Title? Licensed rebuilders, collision centers, insurance companies and body shops can all issue Reconstructed Titles. This enables a company or individual to reconstruct a vehicle so that it may be legally registered for use. In order to get this title, the car must be inspected.

Cars with a Legally Questionable Status

What is a Bonded Title?

Sometimes, it’s hard to determine who actually owns a car. A person or company gets a Bonded Title for a vehicle with a security bond that covers the value of the car. It will cover any legal claim that may or may not exist for the car’s ownership. Sometimes this is the only legal option to buy a specific car.

What is an Affidavit of Title?

An Affidavit of Title is very similar to a Bonded Title - it’s a title that sellers issue to make a clear statement about the car’s ownership. An Affidavit of Title says unequivocally that the car may have legal problems or ownership disputes and its property status is under question. This is a way to protect the buyer from any problems that a seller may run into in selling the car. The document will help protect both parties from any liabilities in owning the car.

What is a Lienholder Title?

If a car is sold with a loan, a Lienholder Title will be issued to the company or person who helps the buyer purchase the car. These are issued directly to lienholders. This title will list the lender as the lienholder, and the person who was loaned the money for the purchase will be listed as the owner. This allows the lender to effectively own the car or take possession of it if the owner defaults on the loan.

Other Titles for Car Statuses

What is an Import Title?

If a car is imported into the United States, it will need a legal title to make it through Customs. If that car has been titled in the US before, then the car will have to undergo a recovery process to get the Import Title. However, if the car was not not manufactured for the US market or previously titled in the US, it will need to be certified to be driven legally.

The certification/recovery process for an imported car is a state process. Government organizations including but not limited to The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency will check whether or not the make of the car meets the requirements for being driven within the US.

What is an Export Title?

When a car is sold to a country outside of the US, it needs to be cleared for export. It must be declared before exiting the country. Even if a car has been approved for use and has a clear title in the US, it may not pass the requirements of the country to which it is exported. It is a good idea to begin the titling process as soon as possible, because the car may be stored for a long time and the storage fees can add up.

When you’re buying or selling a car, these titles designations are important details keep an eye on. If you buy a used car, it’s important to know what each title means, and when you’re moving, selling, or considering a loan, you need to understand the ramifications of ownerships and types of ownership.


Do you need help getting your car title in Pompano Beach, Florida? Contact Auto Tags of Florida at (954)848-4808 and get your titles sorted in just a day!