In what circumstance is a title only required for a vehicle?

There are only certain instances where a "title only" is appropriate for a:

  • motor vehicle,
  • motorized bicycle,
  • trailer,
  •  semi-trailer,
  • pole trailer driven or moved upon a highway,
  • mobile home, or
  • house trailer.

While determined on a case-by-case basis, instances where only a title is required include:

  • an out-of-state repossession.
  • an insurance company settlement.
  • dealerships selling a vehicle to an out-of-state registrant.
  • an owner of a mobile home.
  • vehicles donated a nonprofit agency with a perspective purchaser.
  • vehicles confiscated by government agencies, where the vehicle is sold through online auctions.
  • vehicles that comply with Interstate Common Carrier, and registration is provided in other jurisdictions/states.

If a request does not apply to any of these circumstances, the county clerk or the customer should submit the following to the Vehicle Services Division:

  • copies of the ownership documents, and
  • a letter requesting permission for and the reason why they only need a title.

Approved title only requests will be returned to the customer with instructions for filing with the county clerk. The “title only” fee is $11 (subject to additional county fees). 

In the event of an unrecovered theft, requests for “title only” can be mailed to:

Tennessee Department of Revenue
Vehicle Services Division, Research Unit
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37243-8050

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