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Bonded certificate of title

If your vehicle cannot be titled or registered by your county treasurer because you do not have the proper title documents, you may be able to file a bond as a condition of obtaining a title and registration plates. However, a vehicle issued a junking certificate cannot be reinstated through the bonding procedure unless the vehicle is 25 years or older, ref. Iowa Code 321.24. Submit the following to the Iowa DOT's Office of Vehicle Services, P.O. Box 9278, Des Moines, Iowa 50306-9278.

To avoid processing delays please submit the following required supporting documents:

  • An Application for Registration and Bonded Certificate of Title for a Vehicle form, completed and signed.
  • A copy of any written document received at the time the vehicle was acquired, such as a bill of sale or cancelled check.

The Iowa DOT will:

  • Determine whether there is an active title record or junking certificate record on file for the vehicle in the state of Iowa. If a record is found, the department shall notify the owner of the record by first-class mail, at the last known address, that an application for bonded certificate of title has been received. The notice shall include a statement in which the owner of record may assert their right to claim the vehicle or to waive any further claim. If the department receives no further response from the owner of record within 10 days after the date of the mailing or receives a waiver of further claim to the vehicle, the department will continue processing the bond.

  • Determine the current value of the vehicle and require that a cash bond or surety bond, based on one and one-half times the current value of the vehicle, be filed with the department as a condition of issuing a certificate of title and registration receipt. The bond paper showing the current value of the vehicle and the amount of the bond will be sent to you to be completed and signed by your surety company representative and also by you as the principal. The signed bond must be returned to the Office of Vehicle Services. Cash bonds may be deposited with the state and are held for three years on a noninterest bearing basis, or you may purchase a surety bond from a bonding company licensed to conduct business in the State of Iowa. Fees to obtain a surety bond through a bonding company are set by the company. Please refer to the bonding company for the fee to obtain your surety bond.

  • Send to the Iowa DOT's Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement a bond receipt and a letter authorizing the county treasurer to issue a title for your vehicle. An investigator will contact you and make an appointment to verify that the information submitted on your application correctly identifies the vehicle that you own. Should your vehicle not meet the specific equipment requirements under Iowa Code Chapter 321., the investigator shall authorize the county treasurer to issue title and registration, and immediately suspend registration until such time your vehicle meets the specific equipment requirements. The investigator will give you the authorization letter that you must take to your county treasurer’s office within 30 days of written authorization from the department, make application for certificate of title, pay the appropriate fees and register your vehicle.

  • Hold the bond for three years, after which time the bond will expire and there is no requirement for a bond.