What Is a Car Title?

A car title is a paper document that contains vehicle and owner information and provides proof that the named person on the title owns the listed vehicle. A vehicle owner must have possession of the title before selling or transferring ownership of car.

A car title contains the VIN, or vehicle identification number, which corresponds to the number on the vehicle. The make, model and year of the vehicle also are listed. The date of purchase and owner's name and address are listed as proof of ownership. Depending on the state where the vehicle was purchased, the title also may include information as to whether the vehicle has a lien on it.