While buying a camper, most people focus on its price, model, available facilities, and condition.
Nobody bothers about the essential document of ownership that is the title of the camper. Most US states require trailers to have titles like other vehicles, with exceptions in a few states.
Should I Buy a Camper Without Title? The title of a Camper is a legal document of ownership. Therefore, it is safe to never buy a trailer without a title to avoid legal repercussions until you live in a country that doesn’t require it. Moreover, having a title gives you the benefits of reasonable resale price and insurance of your camper.
Should I Buy a Camper Without Title?
It is a legal document of ownership of a camper issued by the department of motor vehicles.
The title has all the details, including model, VIN, gross weight rating, and make. Moreover, it also has the name and address of the purchaser or owner.
Each US state has different procedures and laws regarding the title of a camper.
For example, some states require separate titles and fees for trailer and towing vehicles, while others don’t need it for campers and only for towing vehicles.
While selling your RV to another person, you must transfer its title to the purchaser with the approval of the title issuing department.
Legal aspects of buying a camper without title
The title is a legal document and has the same importance as for other vehicles. Regulations regarding having ownership of a trailer vary from state to state.
Buying a trailer without title in a state where it is mandatory has serious legal repercussions. First, you have to get it from the department of motor vehicles (DMV) to take your RV on the road and avoid heavy fines.
No proof of ownership
It is the legal proof of ownership. Original bill of sale or any other document is not a replacement for this document.
In the absence of a title, you don’t have any valid claim regarding its ownership.
Unable to get registration
For other registration processes and getting the license plate of your RV and the title is a mandatory requirement.
Moreover, a notary between seller and buyer is another legal document required for getting a title.
Illegal to use in some States
It is illegal to drive on the road without a valid title in your name. Therefore, it is the most crucial aspect of buying it to avoid any hassle in the future.
If you get caught by police without a title, they can impose heavy fines and serve you jail time depending upon the severity of the crime.
Camper remains the property of the seller
If you don’t transfer the title to your name while purchasing, it remains the rightful property of the seller or the person in whose name it has a registration.
If he is not a good person, he can file a case against you for stealing or damaging his property.
The authorities will confiscate your vehicle in such a situation, and you won’t get any compensation resulting in heavy financial losses.
You may end up buying a stolen camper
While buying a trailer without a title document, you may end up buying a stolen or the one used for criminal activities.
In such scenarios, police will arrest you, considering a thief or criminal involved in illegal activities.
In addition, you have to bear the financial loss and also a bad reputation.
It will become a liability for you to resale it without a title. You won’t find a customer to buy it in the absence of legal ownership documents. If somebody is willing to take a risk, he will pay you much less than its actual worth.
Why do some campers have no title?
You will find most new campers registered and with title documents due to awareness among the public regarding state laws. But old and vintage models won’t have titles due to several reasons.
The camper is very old
People purchase old or damaged trailers from second-hand markets or owners who have abandoned them.
Therefore, you have to rely on the bill of resale from the vendor or seller. Moreover, you have to apply for the title by yourself in such a situation.
Most people avoid this hassle and buy the new RVs as getting a title is a time and money-consuming process.
However, some states don’t require titles for 30 years or more old campers treating them as antique or vintage objects.
Thus, there are rare chances of finding or keeping the title documents for such a long-term old vehicle.
Lack of knowledge/regulations
Rules regarding registration and title for other automobiles are obvious and mandatory for all states.
Where for campers, there is diversity from state to state. Some states don’t require it, while others have mandatory compulsion to have complete documents for all RVs.
Few states have laws to have the document of ownership for specific weight ratings of trailers.
In all these scenarios, an owner cannot have title due to ignorance or confusing laws because of differences in various states.
You lost the paperwork for the title
There are good chances of losing paperwork or documents due to theft, abandoning it, or damaging it during an accident.
Some owners don’t care about getting new titles if they lose them. It results in a vehicle without proof of ownership to sell to the new owner.
Other possible reasons can be inheritance without a record or paperwork from their parents. A stolen trailer can also be without title that is a risk for new buyers.
Purchased from an unauthorized dealer
Purchasing from authorized dealers of the brand is a reliable and easy process. They take care of all necessary paperwork and give you legal documents of ownership.
While purchasing from private dealers or individual persons, you have to perform this task of applying for title and registration from DMV.
This routine will be hectic and a financial burden for some people failing to get its title. In addition, failure at this point has consequential loss of transfer of ownership for future sales.
You Built your own Camper
Few people design and built their RV by themselves; therefore, they don’t have any documentation.
As this doesn’t exist before and you have created it yourself, there is a procedure to get its approval and title document after checking all safety requirements. It is called a scrape title.
Why is it essential for a camper to have a title?
The title is an essential document for a buyer and proof of its ownership.
Moreover, you will know your vehicle is legal, not stolen or involved in any illegal activity, and not on a mortgage.
It also fulfills all the safety requirements of a particular state. Moreover, you become eligible for insurance and relevant benefits.
You can file a complaint if it gets stolen or faces any untoward situation if you have appropriate ownership documents.
In the presence of a title document, it is easy for you to resell it and get a reasonable price according to its condition.
Procedure for getting a title for a camper
If you purchase a new camper or an old one without a title, you can apply for it to the DMV of your state after checking its website for requisite documents.
Documents required can be an application form, bill of sale, certificate of inspection, driver’s license, and notary in some states.
Download the application form from the DMV website, fill in the requisite information like model, make, brand, VIN, weight, and other information about the trailer and its owner.
After completing the application, you can send it via mail or email along with the required documents and application fee to the DMV office.
Bill of sale contains the information about the price, details of buyer and seller, tax status, date of purchase, and loan status.
You also need to submit an inspection certificate from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that your trailer fulfills all the safety requirements regarding lights, brakes, tires, and other parts.
You will get the new title within 3-4 weeks after the date of application and can apply for license plates. After that, you will legally become responsible for all aspects of your camper and related benefits.