FAQs for the General Public

Q: Does a vehicle that is required by law to be titled also need to be registered?

A: No, unless the owner wants to operate the vehicle on a public way.


Q: How can I check on the status of a Title?

A: The Registry has an online way for owners, lienholders, dealers, and agents to track a Title, verify Title and brand status, inquire on lienholder information, learn when a Title was issued, and/or identify to whom a Title was mailed. When the requestor uses this service, personal information will not be revealed. Instead, the “Title Mailed To” section will display “owner”, “lienholder”, or “third party.” The new Title/Lien Inquiry is now available on the Registry’s website.


Q: What if someone has an original Certificate of Title and a duplicate of that Title exists?

A: The original Title must be surrendered to the Registrar as specified by M.G.L. Chapter 90D Section 14.


Q: Whom do I contact if I did not receive the Title to my vehicle within the normal processing time?

A: Please contact the Title Division.


Q: What if an existing Title is mutilated or illegible?

A: If the Title is mutilated or illegible, a Duplicate Title must be applied for. The Certificate of Title will need to accompany the Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title.


Q: I need to add/remove an owner to a Title. How can this be done?

A: Adding or deleting an owner from the Title is not considered an amendment. This is considered a transfer of ownership and a new Title must be applied for. For more information on transferring ownership, please see the Transfer of Ownership section.


Q: What if I want a Duplicate Title and the party to whom the Title was issued is deceased?

A: You must submit the following:

      Application for Duplicate Certificate of Title

      A copy of the court appointment as administrator or executor of the estate of the decedent, or an Affidavit of Surviving Spouse and a copy of the death certificate


Salvage Titles

Q: What information must be completed on the RMV-1 Form when applying for a Salvage Title?

A: All of the following information must be completed on the RMV-1 Form including: 

      The date of loss

      Odometer Reading

      Primary Salvage Brand (i.e. Repairable or Parts Only)

      Secondary Brand(s) (e.g. Collision, Fire, Flood, Salt, Theft or Vandalism)


Q: Can a Salvage Title be converted to an Owner-Retained Title?

A: No. Once a vehicle has been issued a Salvage Title, it can never revert to Owner-Retained status. For more information, please see the Total Loss/Salvage Vehicle Process section.


Q: If I have a truck or cargo van over ten years old, do I need a Salvage Title?

A: Yes. All motor vehicles must have a Salvage Title except:

      A vehicle owned by the United States unless it is registered in Massachusetts

      A vehicle moved solely by animal power

      An implement of husbandry

      Special mobile equipment


      Passenger vehicles ten or more years old

      Manufactured homes


Q: What if I have a Salvage Title and my vehicle becomes ten years old; is the salvage inspection still required?

A: Yes, the salvage inspection process must be completed.


Q: What should I do if I discover a vehicle that I bought was previously salvaged?

A: The law requires that the seller disclose any salvage brands at the time of sale.


If you did not know that the vehicle was previously salvaged, you should:

      For a dealer sale, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division

      For a private sale, contact a private attorney


Title Brands

Q: I have a Clear Title for my vehicle but the Registry contacted me and indicated that it should be a RECONSTRUCTED Title. How can this be resolved?

A: All questions on this matter should be referred to the Title Division. Occasionally, the Registry issues a Title without a brand, when it should have been issued as RECONSTRUCTED.


Sales Tax

Q: Can I take a gift sales tax exemption on a vehicle, if I have a lien on the vehicle?

A: No. A customer who receives a vehicle as a gift but lists a lienholder on the RMV-1 Form is not eligible for a sales tax exemption.