How do you get a title for an abandoned vehicle?

I bought a new house, and it has quite a bit of property attached to it. While wandering around, I found an old car that’s been abandoned. How do I get its title?

Congratulations on your new house! When it comes to abandoned vehicles, the process is a little complicated—even when they’re sitting on property you own.
Your best bet is to try to contact the owner. Start by trying to find the VIN. The vehicle identification number is usually registered with your local DMV, and they should be able to use the VIN to contact the owner.
Each state’s laws are different, but local authorities almost always have to be involved with this process. In some cases, they’ll come out and tow the vehicle. If no one claims it, the car will go to auction, and then you can bid on it.
In other cases, once you reach out to the DMV, your local sheriff’s office will publish notices related to the car and try to contact the owner. If you get ahold of the owner, you can try to purchase the car and get the title or a replacement title.
The steps to getting an abandoned car can be complicated, but getting insurance for the car shouldn’t be. Getting cheap car insurance is easy with Jerry. Jerry pulls quotes from the top 50 companies in under a minute and delivers the best deals right to your phone.
Lauren Smith
Answered on Nov 10, 2021
Lauren has written for World Nomads, the Matador Network, Korvia Consulting, and once upon a time Three Fates Games. She graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a BFA in Creative Writing. After graduating, she moved overseas and lived in South Korea where she spent her free time traveling and going on road trips with friends. She misses the rest stop potatoes and is trying to figure out how to recreate them at home. She's now based outside of Chicago and when she's not writing she spends her free time reading, playing video games, and exploring whenever she can.

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