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  • Andrew Maggard

What is a Vehicle Title-Holding State?

A vehicle title holding state is one in which the lienholder (usually a finance company or bank) retains possession of the vehicle's title until the borrower has fully paid off their auto loan.

This means that the owner of the vehicle does not have physical possession of the title until they have satisfied their debt. The lienholder is listed on the title as the legal owner of the vehicle until the debt is fully repaid, at which point the lienholder releases their interest in the vehicle and the physical title is transferred to the owner.


There are only nine title-holding states:

  • Michigan

  • Maryland

  • Minnesota

  • Kentucky

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • New York

  • Oklahoma

  • Wisconsin


In the other 41 states, titles are issued to the lien holder of your vehicle until the loan is fully paid off.

Make sure you know if you'll actually be receiving your car title per your state - this will clear up any confusion when trying to find that title in the future!

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