Title bonds in regard to cars and other road vehicles are pretty common knowledge, but not many people know that you can purchase a bonded title for a boat, as well. A title bond is a type of surety bond attached to your vehicle’s title that helps prove that you own the vehicle. There are certain instances where you may need a bonded title for your boat:
- The purchased boat didn’t come with a title, or only came with a bill of sale
- The title of the boat wasn’t assigned properly (wrong name, etc.)
- You lost the boat’s title after purchase and before transferring it to your name
You typically only need a title bond if you can’t obtain the original title. Keep in mind that you cannot get a bonded title for a lost or stolen boat.
In most states, including Texas, you’re required to have a title bond with the state before you’re able to receive a new title.
How Do I Get a Boat Title Bond?
Before purchasing a bond, you must apply for a new bonded title with your DMV. To apply for a bond, you will need your:
- Type of watercraft
- Watercraft’s make, year, model and serial number
- Proof of purchase or other document that supports your claim of ownership
Things may be more complicated if the vehicle was last registered in a different state than the one you’re currently attempting to register it in. You must have verification from the previous state as well as the information above in order to get a title bond.
You should be approved for a title bond as long as there are no legal disputes attached to the ownership of the watercraft. Once approved, you will be informed on the bond amount needed. This is usually 1.5 times the value of the watercraft. For example, if your boat is worth $5,000, you will need a title bond for $7,500.
After being approved for a bond, you must purchase the bond. You can do so through a surety. Make sure to have the information above ready along with the bond amount that you need. Get several quotes before purchasing a title bond for your boat to make sure you get the best price.
How Much Does a Title Bond Cost for a Boat?
Don’t panic if you see that you need a title bond for $7,500. This isn’t the dollar amount you’ll be paying, but the amount of coverage you need to have for the title. In general, most title bonds in Texas cost $15 for $1,000 of coverage. For a $7,500 bond, that means approximately $112.50. Bonds for $6,000 or less could pay as little as $100. Drivers with good credit will likely pay less for a surety bond than those with low credit. Unlike insurance, the length of a bond does not affect the cost.
How Long Does a Title Bond Last for a Boat?
Bonded titles generally last for three years in Texas, though this time varies per state. You will receive the bond after three years as long as there are no claims against it. If someone files a claim against the bond stating that you are not the owner of the vehicle, the claim must be settled before you can receive the bond, even if it’s been three years after purchasing the bond.
Check your state’s bond requirements and limits before applying for a title bond. Keep in mind that you cannot purchase a bonded title for a boat with a lien.