Here's the short answer to this – no, you won't be able to obtain a title loan if you don't have the title to the car you'll be using as collateral.
You could apply for the title loan online and receive a pre-approval, but that won't do you much good, because any title loan company will require you to provide them with your car title before they issue your loan.
There are a few important reasons why a title loan company won't issue a loan until they've gotten your car title from you, and they're all related to protecting the title loan company from any issues that could arise.
Before the title loan company can issue a loan, they must verify that the car is:
To confirm both, the title loan company needs to see the title to the car. Without that, there's no telling who the car belongs to. Someone could bring in a car that belongs to a family member or friend and say it's theirs, or they could steal a car and use it to get a title loan. The lender would be taking a huge risk by not getting the title.
There's also the possibility that there's another lienholder on the title. For example, if you're still paying off your car, then the company that issued your vehicle loan would be a lienholder on the title, and you couldn't use the car as collateral on a title loan. The only way to get around this would be to get the lienholder to authorize it with the title loan company, which would be unlikely, as this would put the lienholder at risk if you defaulted on either loan you have on the car.
Finally, there's the fact that the car title is a key piece of collateral for the lender with a title loan. If you were to default on a title loan, the lender's recourse would be repossessing your car. They would have a harder time doing that if they didn't have the title already. And even if they repossessed the car, they wouldn't be able to sell it without the title.
Fortunately, it's simple enough to replace a car title if yours is lost or stolen. You can get this handled through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state, and you have a few different options available.
The quickest, easiest way to replace your car title is to go online to the website for your state's DMV. Here's how:
Keep in mind though that not every state has this option available.
Another option is replacing your car title by mail. To do this, you print up the car title replacement form, fill it out and mail it to the DMV with the title replacement fee enclosed.
You can always go to your local DMV office to get your title replaced, as well. If you do, you'll fill out the same form, and you can either get the form there or print it up and fill it out before you go. You'll pay the replacement fee when you submit the form. If possible, make an appointment at the DMV before you go, because this can save you quite a bit of time.
It typically doesn't cost much to get your car title replaced, and the only inconvenient part can be the time it takes to receive your replacement title. It often takes over a week, although many states will provide quicker service if you pay a rush fee.
Once you've gotten the replacement car title, the previous title is null and void. If you find it again, you can just destroy it.
As the name of a title loan would suggest, the car title itself is an integral part of the loan, and you can't get one without it. If you don't have your car title, it's a good idea to get a replacement anyway, whether you plan to get a title loan or not. You'll need it if you get pulled over or decide you want to sell the car.