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I got my first dirt bike in the third grade. My best friend and I would ride it down this long gravel driveway the neighbor had for his farm. It was over a mile long, surrounded by corn fields on either side, with a small creek in the middle.

After racing up and down it a few times, we’d always stop by the water to talk. Sometimes we’d build dams or let the sticks run down the current, discussing all the essential issues of the week.

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When fall arrived, and the corn was tall, it felt like that driveway was separated from the rest of the world.

I drove the dirt bike on the road one day instead of the driveway. A police officer saw me, pulled into our property, and asked my family for the title. That’s when I learned the importance of supporting paperwork.

Do Dirt Bikes Have Titles?

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Dirt bikes can, and often should, have titles. This official document provides legal proof of ownership.

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If you are buying or selling a dirt bike, having a title is important to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.

Older bikes and used models sometimes come with titles. Sometimes the paperwork gets lost, and some were never registered properly.

You’ll typically need a title to register and use the dirt bike legally. If one isn’t available, you can take steps to obtain one as the buyer or the seller.

What does it mean when a dirt bike doesn’t have a title?

When a dirt bike doesn’t have a title, it means that there is no legal documentation that proves ownership of the vehicle. A title is a legal document that establishes vehicle ownership and is required in most states to register and operate the bike on public roads.

Without a title, it can be difficult to prove ownership of the dirt bike, and it may be challenging to sell, trade, or transfer ownership of the vehicle.

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What happens if you caught riding a dirt bike without a title?

If you are caught riding a dirt bike without a title, you could face legal consequences depending on the laws in your state.

Riding a dirt bike without a title is illegal in most states, and you could be fined, have your bike impounded, or even face criminal charges.

Additionally, if you are involved in an accident, you may not be covered by insurance if you don’t have a title for the bike.

Note that:

Even if you have purchased a dirt bike without a title, riding it without proper documentation is still illegal. If you need clarification about the legal requirements for riding a dirt bike in your state, consult with your local DMV or a qualified attorney.

How to Apply for and Receive a Title for a Dirt Bike?

If you have purchased a dirt bike without a title or lost it for your existing one, you may need to obtain new documentation before registering or legally selling it.

Here are the steps you can take to ensure you receive the title for your dirt bike.

If you purchased the dirt bike from someone else, check with them to see if they have the title or can help you obtain a replacement one.

  1. Contact your state DMV to determine the requirements for obtaining a new title. The requirements can vary depending on where you live. You could be asked to provide proof of ownership with items like a bill of sale or affidavit of ownership and pay a fee.
  2. If you have misplaced the title for your dirt bike, you may need to file a lost title application with your state DMV. You’ll need information about it, including your VIN.
  3. You might be asked to provide additional documentation supporting your new title application. It could be a notarized statement of ownership, a lien release form, or other forms as required by your state.

Once you have finished the application process and submitted all the required information and documents, you’ll need to wait for a new title to be issued by the DMV. The waiting period can be several weeks.

Can You Register Dirt Bikes Without a Title?

Since the title indicates ownership to the state, it can be challenging to register a dirt bike without this document.

Some states might allow registration with an alternative ownership document, such as a receipt. In others, a replacement title is required before the registration process continues.

In some cases, you may need to apply for a bonded title. A surety bond backs this document in case of legal disputes over ownership.

Can You Sell a Dirt Bike Without a Title?

It can be more challenging to sell a dirt bike if you don’t have a title for it. This legal document proves ownership, allowing the buyer to register it in their name.

Buyers often hesitate to purchase dirt bikes without a title because they cannot prove legal ownership.

The legal responsibility of a seller without a title is highly variable across the United States. This document might be unnecessary if the dirt bike is over a specific age or is being sold for parts.

You should apply for a new title, provide proof of ownership, or create a bill of sale to ensure an ownership transfer occurs.

Once the title issues are sorted, you can sell the dirt bike like any other vehicle.

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Mike Navarette has more than a decade of experience in the auto insurance industry, but that's not his true passion. He loves getting on a motorcycle to explore roads he's never traveled. You'll find Mike in the garage working on something when he isn't helping clients or leaning into curves. It's sometimes a side hustle, more often a favor, but it keeps his hands busy doing something productive. Since the first time his father strapped on his helmet and took him for a ride, Mike has loved bikes. That passion, along with a desire to help others through a deep understanding of insurance policies, led to the creation of Motorcycle Ride Coverage.

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