I Can’t Find My Registration for My Car

If you can't find your car registration, you can request a new copy from the DMV. Driving without a copy of your registration in the car is illegal and punishable by fines.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 17, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • It is important for you to have a copy of your official vehicle registration in your car or truck at all times because you could be pulled over and asked to show your registration
  • If you are not able to produce your official vehicle registration, you could be forced to pay a fine in certain states
  • If you are not able to find a copy of your current vehicle registration, you can request a duplicate from your state department of motor vehicles
  • You may be required to pay a fee to the state agency and produce your driver’s license in order to have a copy of your registration issued
  • Every state has its own set of regulations on how often your vehicle registration must be renewed to stay current

It is a good idea to always have a current copy of your vehicle registration in the glove box of your car or truck in case you are involved in an accident or pulled over by a law enforcement officer.

If you lost a copy of your current vehicle registration, the state department of motor vehicles (DMV) will still have a copy on file, but you may have to pay a small fee in order to obtain another copy. Some states make this service available to vehicle owners online.

Realizing you have lost your vehicle registration can be stressful, but luckily you can contact the DMV and request a lost car registration renewal form to replace lost car registration papers, license plates, and vehicle stickers.

When you get a car, you are given a title and proof of ownership. You must provide the car title to the local DMV in order to register the vehicle. It is important to keep it in a safe place because if you’re pulled over, you’ll be asked to show it.

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What’s the most important documentation for your vehicle?

Your official vehicle registration is one of the most important documents you should have concerning your car or truck. In addition, you should always have a copy of your current proof of insurance inside your vehicle.

Proof of insurance could be important if you are pulled over for a police officer or need to show insurance information in the case of an auto accident.

The official vehicle title is a document that proves that you are the official owner of your car. This document should be kept separately from your vehicle.

Along with the paper copy of your vehicle registration, there is typically a sticker that is displayed on your license plate that indicates the expiration date of your vehicle registration. This sticker should be displayed at all times to avoid getting a ticket from a police officer.

Even if your vehicle is just parked on a public street, a police officer or public parking attendant could issue you a ticket for failing to display current registration information on your license plate.

If this sticker has been lost or stolen, you should also act immediately to get a replacement sticker for your plates.

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What information is required to obtain a car insurance policy?

If you are signing up for auto insurance coverage, then you will be asked for details about the following:

  • Your vehicle
  • Information found on your driver’s license
  • Copy of your registration

As an extra precaution, you should scan or take a picture of your vehicle registration document so that you have the information on file if you are asked to provide the insurance company with a copy.

If you need immediate information about your vehicle registration, the auto insurance company may have these details on file and would be able to provide them at your request.

Should you notify your car insurance company about changes in your vehicle registration?

If there is any significant change in your vehicle registration, such as purchasing a new car or selling your current vehicle, then you should tell your auto insurance company about it right away.

If you do not notify the company immediately about a change in the document of ownership status of your vehicle, there may still be a grace period during which you can report any major updates to the car insurance provider.

You should be prepared for a change in your auto insurance rate when you buy a new vehicle. For some auto insurance companies, if you buy an expensive new car, your auto insurance premium will increase.

You do not necessarily have to accept a rate increase without exploring other options for coverage.

As soon as you find out that your auto insurance rates will go up, you should jump on looking into other companies. This can be done online by comparing prices with a free online search tool.

Be sure to use an accurate zip code for your online search because the location of your vehicle registration and permanent residence will affect the rate that you are eligible to receive.

What happens when you fail to comply with vehicle registration requirements?

You may not be aware that receiving a ticket or fine for failure to comply with your state’s vehicle registration requirements could result in you having to pay more for your auto insurance coverage.

Auto insurance companies look at your comprehensive driving record in determining the price that you will ultimately pay for car insurance coverage.

In addition to complying with state rules and regulations concerning vehicle registration, you should also be sure that you are current on all other requirements.

This includes making sure that you do not let your driver’s license expire before renewing it. The state can impose its own set of penalties on this, which would end up being used as a justification by the auto insurance company to charge you more for car insurance coverage.

Having a clean driving record is one of the most effective ways that you can guarantee you will not have to pay an expensive premium. After a certain number of years, a violation on your driving record will no longer come into play for your auto insurance rate.

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How to find the official registration for your car or truck

It is not complicated to get another copy of your official vehicle registration if you cannot find your official copy. It may take some time and cost a small fee, but it is an important document to keep in your car in case you are asked to produce it by a police officer.

Your state DMV is responsible for keeping records of all officially registered vehicles and will have a specific process whereby you can request another copy of your official vehicle registration.

It may not be necessary to produce this document right away for the purpose of signing up for auto insurance coverage, but you should have it as long as you plan to drive your car on public roads.

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