Losing your important documents for your vehicle is a frustrating occurrence that happens to the best of us. However, there is always a solution to obtaining a replacement for any car document you need. Whether you’re missing your vehicle title, registration, driver’s license, or insurance card, we’ll guide you through all the necessary steps to replace your most important car documents.
Replacing lost car documents
The most common documents that require replacing during car ownership are the vehicle title, registration driver’s license, and insurance card. Most of these documents can be retrieved by submitting an application to the DMV. Some states require more documents readily available in order to own and operate a vehicle. Always check with your state’s laws to determine what documents you should have so you can replace any missing ones promptly.
The safest way to own and operate a vehicle is to have all your most important documents in an accessible place. You should keep your driver’s license in your vehicle or on your person when driving a car, and you should have your vehicle registration in the vehicle at all times when driving.
Replacing any missing documents can be completed in 6 steps: identifying documents needing replacing, contacting the right agency, furnishing proof of ownership, paying fees, considering expediting the process, and protecting yourself from future losses. With these steps, replacing your documents can be a simple process you can accomplish today!
Identifying which documents are needed to be replaced
Before filling out any applications or reaching out to anybody, you should figure out which documents need replacing. Even if you have one document that needs to be replaced, you should take a moment to see if any others are missing. This will allow you to take care of all the documents in one sitting, as receiving replacement licenses, titles, etc., can take up to 7-10 business days.
Contact the appropriate agency
From there, you may find the contact information for the agency associated with your missing document and reach out to begin the replacement process. Most agencies, like the DMV, have online services where you can easily fill out and submit an application, along with payment for the replacement document. You may also contact the DMV by visiting a local branch in person and filling out an application. Those who need a new insurance card can do so by requesting a card on the company’s website, or contacting the agency by phone.
Provide proof of ownership
Proof of ownership is always required when replacing your most important personal documents. Identity verification tools are necessary to prevent fraud. The DMV will usually ask for your ID and to confirm other information when submitting an application for a replacement vehicle title, driver’s license, and car registration, such as your current address.
In many cases, replacing your document comes with a fee, ranging from $8-50. Fees associated with the DMV can usually be paid online or in person with a debit or credit card. Check with your local DMV to see which payment methods are acceptable when filing an application for replacement car documents.
Consider expediting the process
Documents like a vehicle title can be expedited by paying an additional fee. This is worth considering if you plan on selling the vehicle associated with the document soon and need a physical proof of ownership document by the day of sale. Most states do not offer an expedition process for a driver’s license replacement, and in many states, receiving a replacement license can take up to 30 days. The most convenient thing you can do for yourself is to file for a replacement license either well before it expires or as soon as you notice it is missing. This sentiment goes for any document that will be delivered by mail.
Take steps to prevent future losses
Losing car documents is so stressful, especially when the ones needed for daily driving go missing. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent these documents from going missing ever again. Keep your vehicle registration in the car – authorities will ask to see your registration if you are pulled over, and other entities may require quick proof of ownership for your vehicle at some point. Storing the vehicle registration in the glove compartment of your car eliminates the chance of leaving it at home or accidentally throwing it away.
Your license and insurance card should remain on your person or in an accessible place, like a wallet or a purse. Carrying your license is required for operating a vehicle, and keeping your license in one place only will save you the frantic search later on.
The vehicle title can be kept at home in a secure place, like a safe or a file cabinet. Having the original copy of your vehicle title saves you the replacement fee, allowing you to sell your unwanted car faster and for the most cash possible. Cars with a vehicle title on hand receive almost $200 more than cars without a title.
How to replace lost car title
A replacement car title can be obtained by reaching out to your local DMV either in-person or online. You will have to provide information about your vehicle, such as the VIN, make, model, and year, along with your license number. Filing an application for a replacement car title requires a fee. This fee can range anywhere from $8-35 and can be paid by cash, debit, or check. Ask your local DMV which payment methods they accept for paying application fees.
After an application is submitted, you can expect to wait anywhere from two weeks to a month for your replacement title. Keeping the original title in a safe space is the easiest way to avoid the long wait times and costly fees for a replacement.
How to replace lost car registration
Replacing a lost car registration can be done online in most states. You must provide your vehicle registration and driver’s license number, and pay the fee for the replacement document. The fee for a replacement registration tends to be around $25. Many online DMV application services allow you to print your registration at home. Those who do not have access to a printer can request a copy, which they can expect to receive by mail in 7-10 days.
How to replace lost driver’s license
A driver’s license can be replaced by filling out an application online or in person with the DMV. You must confirm your identity by providing your residential address. your driver’s license number, and your social security number. The application for a replacement requires a fee to be paid before delivery, which ranges from $25-50, depending on the state. You can expect your driver’s license to arrive via mail within two weeks to a month once your transaction is processed.
How to replace lost insurance card
Missing insurance cards can be replaced by contacting your insurance company by phone or online. The easiest way to request a new insurance card is to log in to your company’s online portal and submit a request there. Many insurance customer service lines have terribly long wait times, and you can be stuck on hold for 30 minutes or more. Completing a request for an insurance card online takes a fraction of that time.
Most insurance companies give you the option of downloading a virtual copy of your insurance card. This is especially helpful to have, since receiving a physical copy by mail can take weeks
How long does it take to replace lost car documents?
Replacing lost car documents can vary in wait time. Some documents allow you to print them right at home after your application is processed, like your vehicle registration. Others, like an insurance car or license, can take close to two weeks. A vehicle title can take even longer in some cases. To avoid the headache of replacing these items, keep all documents in their designated space. The vehicle registration can be kept in a safe or drawer at home, your license and insurance cards can remain in your wallet, and your vehicle registration can stay in the car. By sticking to these spots, you greatly reduce the chance of having to replace these documents before an expiration date.