When you have a car loan, who holds the title?

I’ve been considering applying for a car loan and purchasing a new vehicle, but the process is confusing. My mom explained how the car has a lien, but when you have a car loan, who holds the title?

Jack Walsh · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
The process of purchasing a new vehicle and applying for a
car loan
can be confusing, and it was nice of your mother to help explain it. Building upon her explanation, the lienholder holds the title in 41 states while the borrower holds it in the other nine states.
The states where you hold the title are:
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New York
  • Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin
Your car title lists information about the vehicle, the primary driver or owner, and the lender or
, but you don’t need the physical title to drive the car. Once you pay, the lender will return your title if you’re in one of the 41 states where the lender has it.
In the other nine states, you need to get a lienholder release form and retitle the loan.
Hopefully, this helps clarify the process!
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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