Do You Have to Notify the DMV if Your Car is Repossessed

Car repossession can occur when you fail to make your car payment several times, the lending institution will decide to repossess the car and sell it to a third party. So, do you have to notify the DMV if your car is repossessed?

Yes, you need to notify the DMV within 10 days of your car being repossessed by taking a copy of the repossession notice to the DMV to ensure your name is removed from the car title.

Do You Have to Notify the DMV if Your Car is Repossessed?

Yes, you do.

Since the Department of Motor Vehicles is responsible for the registration of vehicles, driver’s licenses, and many more, it is mandatory to notify them if your car is repossessed so they can remove your name from the title. This is how it is in all the states of the United States of America.

For example, if for some reason you missed your car payments several times, the car may be taken away from you by your lender and will no longer be in your possession. You need to notify the DMV so that they will be aware that the car is no longer in your possession. As long as the car is still in use but no longer in your possession, the DMV has the right to know.

Some may advise you not to bother yourself with notifying the DMV since the insurance company will do that. It is not a very good idea.

You are mandated to notify the DMV at least within 10 days of the repossession. However, if it’s possible, you should let the DMV know as soon the car is off your hook; especially when you sold the car to someone you don’t know. Doing this will help take your name off the title to save yourself in case the car is used in any illegal activities after purchase.

Meanwhile, if you’re the new owner, you are advised to inform the law enforcement agencies of your repossession deal so as to prevent the person that sold the car to you from calling the police and claiming the car was stolen.

How to Notify the DMV if Your Car is Repossessed

To notify the DMV of your repossessed car, you need to:

1. Notify the Police

The first step in notifying the DMV of the repossessed vehicle would be to personally appear at the police agency in the locality where the repossession occurred, and notify them of the repossession.

2. Notify the DMV by Email

You can notify the DMV by email within 10 days of the repossession. The email should be personally delivered by you and should be done by first-class mail. You can mail the license plates of the repossessed car as well as a copy of a repositioning notice.

If the registrant removed the license plates before the repossession is completed, you can leave them behind. But if not, you may be charged a fee for the license plates.

3. Notify the Registrant/Vehicle Owner

The vehicle owner should be notified of the repossession within 24 hours of the repossession. This notification should be made either in person or by a registered, certified, or first-class mail with a registered certificate of mailing properly endorsed by the U.S. postal service sent to the owner at the owner’s last known address.

4. Fill Out the DMV Notification Form

You can download it online or go to your state DMV website and download the repossession form. When you download it, fill out the form correctly and take it to the DMV.

5. Take the Filled Form to the DMV

After you are done filling out the form, take it to the DMV with the license plates if you still have it.

Nevertheless, when you take the form to the DMV, they should be able to return the owner copy and repossession copy to the repossessed. Once you receive the repossession copy and the owner copy, you are however mandated to forward the owner copy to the owner immediately.

Insurance Lapses on Repossessed Vehicles

If you are in New York and your vehicle is repossessed and you received a repossession letter from the DMV stating that you have an insurance lapse on the repossessed vehicle, all you have to do is to mail the following information below to the DMV.

  • The bottom part of the letter from the DMV which states the lapse of insurance
  • A copy of the repossession notice which must include the date of repossession,
  • The name and address of the registrant,
  • The vehicle year, make, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Once these documents are ready, mail them to the address below.

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles
Financial Security Bureau
PO BOX 2725
Albany NY 12220-0725

However, if you don’t have a notice of repossession, don’t worry, you can get a written letter from your lending institution. The latter must however be written with the lending institution letter heading and must be signed by an official of the loan company. In the letter,

  • The lending institution must verify that the vehicle was repossessed and provide the date of repossession
  • They should include the name and address of the registrant
  • The letter should also have the vehicle year, make, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Importance of Notifying the DMV of Your Repossessed Car

  • It saves you from Illegal Activities: Notifying the DMV about your repossessed car saves you in case of any illegal activities done with the car.
  • It saves you from the Law: In some states, it’s against the law if you don’t notify the DMV of your repossessed car. So to avoid breaking the law and paying a fine, have the DMV informed.
  • Your Name Will No Longer Be on the Title: Notifying the DMV after your car is repossessed will take your name from the car title. This will help you should in case the car was involved in any issue.


You should notify the DMV at least 10 days your car is repossessed to avoid breaking the law, to remove your name from the title, and to avoid getting into trouble when your repossessed car is used in any illegal activities.