What is a 'non-title' state (automotive)?

Browsing eBay I came across this statement:

I understand that the seller does not have title to this (parts) car; but what does he mean that Georgia is a ‘non-title state’?

Some states don’t require a document of title when selling a car. The title proves that you are legally the owner of the car.

Generally, your registration is separate from your title. When you sell the car, you transfer title; the registration is up to the purchaser.

New York used to have the registration as proof of title; if someone got ahold of your registration, they could sell the car. Now there is a title document (which also indicates if there’s a loan outstanding). The title is never kept in the car, so no one can sell the car (at least, not to a legal purchaser) if they steal it.

Evidently, Georgia doesn’t require any title document when selling or buying a car.


So how does one prove one owns a car, if the title has been lost?

I believe you can request a duplicate title from the DMV if you are the legal owner of a car

Not sure what the eBay seller is talking about. Georgia does require transfer of the certificate of title when selling a car.

Here is the statute covering cars sold for parts under Georgia law..

Mabye the seller meant to say “Non-Title Holding State.”

In some states, the owner of the car keeps the title, regardless of whether there’s a lien (for example, the car is used as collateral against a loan) on it or not.

In my state (Illinois), the lienholder keeps the title. For example - I owe Toyota Motor Credit several thousand dollars for my car, and so they’re holding the title until it’s paid off.

In other states (I don’t know which ones), I would keep the title.

Some states do not title and/or register some classes of vehicles. This section details states titleand/or registration exceptions.


What the seller is saying doesn’t make a lot of sense, given spoke-'s post.

OTOH, maybe, depending on what the seller bought the car for:




This isn’t what you asked about, but (I know! I know!)…

Along with Georgia, Alabama did not require titles until the 1970s. There used to be “title mills” in Birmingham that, for about $100-200, would buy your vehicle and then sell it back to you with a title. For a while it was by far the easiest way to title a vehicle that was not stolen but had lost its title through the years.

Titles Unlimited, one of the Alabama companies, got into trouble when the State of California discovered that they were providing titles for Cobra kit cars built in California. Things have probably tightened things up a bit since then.

There are about 10 states that do not issue titles on older vehicles, NY, GA, CT… to name a few. As proof of ownership, you get a certificate of registration in these states, that must be signed when you transfer the vehicle. All the same rules as a title, they just don’t call it a title. So if you are buying a car in a non-titling state, the seller still has proof he owns it to sign over to you. ( how else would you get it out of impound?) Don’t be fooled by "I don’t have any paperwork as my state does not issue titles on a 1955 Bel Air. " Get a bill of sale as well and notarize it.
There are a few legitimate companies who do title recovery work for tough cases, eBay sent me to Lost Title Solutions in the past. It all worked out well with good service on an old Cushman scooter.