Imagine this scenario. Your pop up camper is stolen and you found it being used by someone else. How do you prove to the authorities that the pop up camper is yours? You have to show them the title, of course.
However, titles are not necessarily required for pop up campers. So, what happens when the scenario above happens and you don’t have a title for your pop up camper? How can you prove your ownership of the said camper? Even if it really does belong to you, it would be hard to prove it without the proper documents, right?
Furthermore, how can you get insurance for your recreational vehicle without having a title? We all know that insurance is essential as it protects you in the event of theft or accident.
First off, a pop up camper, or a foldable camping trailer, is a type of recreational vehicle that is collapsible when not in use. You can lower down the roof to the main body of the trailer and attach it to a towing vehicle. It makes for easy towing and easy storage. When you get to your destination, you set it up so that you can use the sleeping, cooking, and seating areas. It is great investment if you love traveling, camping, and enjoying the outdoors.
Having a title for your pop up camper is important. Technically, it is not required by law since it is a trailer. Your towing vehicle is the one that should be registered and have a title. But having a title for your pop up camper is a smart thing to do if you value your property.
In this article, we’ll discuss why it is necessary to have a title for your pop up camper, how you can get one in case you bought a camper without a title, what to do if you lost or misplaced your title, when you need to have your title updated, and other important matters related to having a title for your pop up campers.
What is a certificate of title?
A certificate of title is a legal form or document that provides the person proof of ownership of a property such as a house or a vehicle. A certificate of title is also known as a “pink slip” or simply called a “title”.
The title contains important details about your camper that makes it unique from other campers. It is essential to check that the information contained in your title is accurate. The certificate of title would contain the owner’s name, address, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
The certificate of title is issued by the Secretary of State. You can get it from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the state agency that’s in charge of registering motor vehicles and issuing driver’s licenses.
Do you need a title for your pop up camper?
A pop up camper is not legally required to have a title but it would serve your best interests if you still get one. So, to answer this question, yes, you need a title for your pop up camper.
If you don’t have a certificate of title, you don’t have legal proof that the pop up camper is yours. There are many other situations wherein having a title will help you. You will not be able to have it registered to obtain a license plate, and in most cases, you also won’t be able to have your popup camper insured without it.
Some would even say that it might be illegal for you to use your pop up camper if you don’t have proof that you own it.
Proper documentation and paperwork will give you a valid certificate of title which you can use to prove your ownership of this recreational vehicle.
How can a pop up camper have no title?
If you purchase a new pop up camper today, it would be registered and have a title. However, there are instances when pop up campers don’t come with a title. Here are some possible reasons why.
The owner might have lost it.
This is situation that can happen if you don’t buy directly from the manufacturer or dealer. There might be a chance that the old owner has lost the title and didn’t request for a replacement. The paperwork could also have been destroyed due to an accident.
If you’re buying a pop up camper with no title, make sure that it is reasonably priced considering that you still have to do the paperwork to have it in your name.
The pop up camper is already old.
Pop up campers over 30 years old are not required by some states to be titled. They consider these units to be vintage or collector items already.
When you buy from a private seller
This is one of the main differences when you buy your pop up camper from a dealer and private seller. Dealers usually handle all the paperwork for you whereas private sellers don’t necessarily offer this service. It would be up to you to take care of all the requirements to get hold of a title.
The owner didn’t know that a title was necessary.
As we mentioned earlier, technically pop up campers are not required by law to have a title that’s why there may be some people who don’t find it necessary to get one. This is understandable as some states do not require campers or trailers which are less than 3,000 lbs to have a title.
It might have been gotten illegally.
RVs are easy targets for thieves and robbers. Beware and be vigilant when buying from non-dealers. If you come across a seller who seems shady and can’t give you the proper details regarding the camper, might as well don’t push through with the transaction as it could be stolen or illegally acquired.
How do I get a title for a camper trailer?
Although we don’t recommend ever buying a vehicle without a title, here’s what you can do when you already bought a pop up camper without a title.
First, make sure that you ask the private seller about it. It could be that they have just forgotten to turn it over to you. If they don’t have a title, you can have a bill of sale indicating the description of the pop up camper and its VIN and then proceed with your application for a title.
Applying for a certificate of title for your pop up camper is almost the same as getting a title for any regular vehicle. You just present the necessary legal documents and paperwork to the DMV office near you.
Here are the documents that you need to submit:
- Title Application Form
- Driver’s License
- Original Title or Bill of Sale from the previous owner or Certificate of Origin from the manufacturer
- Certificate of Inspection (from the DOT or RV Dealership)
- The lien status document
We also recommend that you check with your local DMV regarding all the needed documents that you have to submit for your application as some might require other documents as well. We’ll also discuss some of these requirements briefly.
Title Application Form
This can be downloaded from your local DMV’s website or you can get one from their office. Fill in the required information such as the vehicle type, VIN, your camper’s specifications such as weight and dimensions, as well as you personal identification details.
Bill of Sale
As mentioned earlier, if the previous owner doesn’t have a title, you should ask for a Bill of Sale. This is proof that the previous owner is passing ownership unto you in exchange for money. This document contains information regarding the pop up camper’s description, its VIN, the price and date of sale, as well as the personal and contact information if both the seller and buyer.
Certificate of Origin
This is similar to a title. The manufacturer of the pop up camper issues this certification to the dealer who then endorses it to the owner or buyer. It is also called a Manufacturer Statement of Origin
Certificate of Inspection
You can get this from your local Department of Transportation office or accredited RV dealers. Have their authorized personnel inspect your pop up camper to ensure that it is in good condition and at par with the state’s safety standards.
The Lien Status Document
You can check this online. You need to provide the VIN, vehicle model year, and vehicle make and you will see if there’s any liens and the name and address of the lienholders.
The DMV will make sure that your ownership of the the pop up camper is legal, meaning it isn’t stolen, it isn’t on lien over some debt, and just ensuring that ownership is clear. DMV will also make sure that your pop up camper is in compliance with the safety standards of the state.
Once you satisfy all these requirements, DMV will approve your application and grant you a title for your pop up camper after which you have 30 days to have it registered if the state mandates it. You can also get a license plate for your RV or have your camper insured for your protection.
When the time comes that you want to sell your pop up camper, you won’t have a hard time selling it for its actual value because you have all the legal documentations as proof of ownership.
So, there you have it! That’s how you get a title for your pop up camper!
New pop up campers bought directly from dealers usually come with the necessary paperwork for you to have a certificate of title for your RV. However, there are instances when pop up campers don’t have titles and it is in your best interest to apply for a title from your local DMV. If you have all the necessary documents, it shouldn’t be difficult to get one.
Protect yourself and your properly by having the proper documentation proving your ownership of your pop up camper.