Car Title transfer from an ELT state to a non-ELT state
July 29, 2013 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Electric car title needs to be sent from California to Michigan.

I purchased a car in California when I lived there. I have a loan on the car through a California based bank. I moved to Michigan and would like to register my car in Michigan.

Steps I have taken:

1) I went to the Michigan DMV to register my car, they told me that I needed a copy of my title.
2) I went to the California DMV while I was back in town to get a copy of my title. They told me that I needed to contact my bank.
3) I contacted my bank, faxed them all the requested information, and they told me that they had contacted the California DMV to have my title sent from the California DMV to the Michigan DMV at or before August 8th.

Neither the Cali DMV, MIich DMV or the Bank would give me a paper copy of my title no matter what I said/did/begged/pleaded.

My questions:

1) California is a ELT state (electronic title) where Michigan is not. Does that mean that the Cali DMV will print a copy and send it to the Mich DMV?

2) How do I register my car once the title has been transferred from state to state? When the Mich DMV says "we won't help you unless you have a title" do I say "Cali DMV sent it to you and it arrived on August 8th"? Will they have the title on file at that point or will it be another round of "no title no help"?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (1 answer total)
IANAL, but I have transferred cars with loans across several states, more than once. In my lay opinion, I think that it is quite probable that the California DMV would provide paperwork to Michigan on instructions of your California bank, and that Michigan's response would be to issue a new Michigan title with a first lien recorded as your California bank, and send it to the primary lien holder, which is, as you may guess, your California bank. Ultimately, to register your vehicle in Michigan, it's going to be up to your primary lien holder, your California bank, to furnish a suitable title facsimile for Michigan DMV purposes, and to get the appropriate paperwork to you. Keep in daily contact with your bank in California; they have a fiscal interest in you keeping your vehicle appropriately licensed and insured, as per your loan agreement, and they should do all they can, including FedEx or other overnight courier of document hard copies, to help you get the car registered and properly insured in Michigan. After all, if you can't register it, you probably can't insure it, and if it goes up in flames while uninsured, the big loser at first cut is the bank, although they'd try hard to make it your problem, long term.
posted by paulsc at 6:02 PM on July 29, 2013

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