Anyone who has owned a motor vehicle understands the necessity (and the frustration) of managing their vehicle’s title. When you have a traditional paper title, losing it, damaging it, or anything else that makes it unusable may throw a wrench into almost anything you might try to do with your vehicle, such as selling it. Having an electronic title for your vehicle ensures that selling or transferring the vehicle is a seamless process.
The Differences Between E Titles and Traditional Titles
The most basic difference between an e title and a traditional title is that one is stored electronically on the systems at the DMV, while the other remains in the physical possession of whoever owns the vehicle. This presents some obvious drawbacks of paper titles. A fire at a car dealership, for example, could wipe out the titles of thousands of vehicle owners who still have liens on their vehicles. On the flip side, electronic records can easily be backed up and restored.
There are several other key differences that should be considered:
- E Titles Reduce Fraud: It’s difficult to manipulate a formal document like a title when access is inherently limited and there isn’t a physical copy to modify.
- E Titles are More Sustainable: Traditional titles require paper and e titles don’t, making e titles more sustainable. Aside from that, managing an e title is far more efficient and involves less management for the DMV. Efficiency leads to sustainability.
- Expedited Transfers: E titles enable the DMV to transfer titles between individuals far easier than they otherwise would be able to.
- Decreased Cost: Reduced need to manage paper titles means the costs of processing, handling, and maintaining a title are reduced as well.
How and Why to get Electronic Titles
When a vehicle is first being registered, owners can opt to have their title converted to an electronic form. If there is still a lien on the vehicle from the dealership, the dealership will remain in possession of the title itself (electronic or otherwise).
Once a vehicle has been issued a paper title, the local county tax collector’s office will be the one to actually perform the conversion to an e title, It won’t happen until the next registration period, so it is smart to have this done right off the bat at the initial registration.
Once an owner has an electronic title for their vehicle, there are still reasons they may want a paper title. For a small fee, the local county’s tax collector’s office will be able to expedite the process of getting you a paper title.
When a Traditional Title Still Makes Sense
Electronic titles have a slew of advantages when an owner is simply possessing a vehicle. However, a traditional paper title is still necessary if a vehicle is being sold to another individual. As stated above, a paper title can simply be printed out for a minimal fee, so this is hardly an inconvenience. As anyone who has ever gone digging through old files knows, simply going to an office and printing out a title is far less of a hassle.
One important exception here is a vehicle trade-in at a dealership. This depends on the specific dealership’s policies, but a paper title may not be required to complete the trade-in.
Hook: When buying a vehicle, you should consider opting for an electronic title. The sheer convenience is hard to beat.
Do They Perform the Same Function?
At bottom, there is no fundamental difference in function between an electronic title and a traditional paper title. So, either way a vehicle owner goes, they will have the same legal status.
E titles are not just available to cars, either. Boat, RV, motorcycle, and all other motor vehicles that would otherwise require a title can receive an e title. In the end, it comes down to a simple question, do you want to worry about the hassle of managing a paper title? For some, this isn’t a concern at all; some people are just good filers. However, there is inherent risk involved in possessing a paper title.
Aside from the convenience or sustainability factors, risk mitigation and peace of mind may be the most compelling reasons to convert to an e title.
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