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  • Andrew Maggard

The History of Vehicle Titles


The history of vehicle titles can be traced back to the early 20th century, when the automobile was first becoming a popular mode of transportation. Prior to this, vehicles were not required to have any form of official documentation to prove ownership. However, as the number of cars on the road increased, so did the need for a way to keep track of vehicle ownership.


The first vehicle title laws were introduced in the 1920s, with most states requiring that vehicles be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and issued a title to prove ownership. These early vehicle titles were simple documents, typically containing only the vehicle's make, model, and serial number, as well as the name of the owner.


Over time, the information included on vehicle titles has become more comprehensive. Today, most vehicle titles include the vehicle's make, model, year, VIN number, as well as the names of the current and previous owners, and any outstanding liens. Additionally, states have started to include information about the vehicle's history such as any accidents, thefts, or damages.


In the 1980s, the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) was created, a federal database that provides consumers with important information about a vehicle's history and title status. This system brings together information from various sources, including state motor vehicle departments, insurance companies, salvage yards, and other industry participants.


The history of vehicle titles has shown that as the number of cars on the road has increased, the need for a more comprehensive and standardized way of keeping track of vehicle ownership has grown.

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