Surety Bonds

Tenn. Code Ann. Section 55-3-103(b)


  • If the department is not satisfied as to the ownership of a vehicle, and the vehicle has not been reported as stolen, the department may register the vehicle, but as a condition of issuing a certificate of title, require the owner to complete additional steps depending on the fair market value and age of the vehicle.
  • Surety Bond vs. Certification of Ownership
    • To obtain a certificate of title, an owner of a vehicle meeting the description above,
      • with a fair market value of $3,000.00 or less, or
      • with a manufacture year of at least 30 years old regardless of fair market value, must complete the Certification of Ownership process as outlined using the Certification of Ownership form.
    • To obtain a certificate of title, an owner of a vehicle meeting the description above,
      • with a manufacture year of less than thirty (30) years old AND
      • with a fair market value exceeding $3,000.01, must contact the department’s Special Investigation Section to begin the “surety bond process”, using the Surety Bond Application.


  • The Surety Bond Application must be completed and supported by the following:
    • A bill of sale* from the last registered owner stating why the vehicle was not titled or registered in the seller's name. 
      • Manufactured/Mobile Homes: a written estimate of the current value of the mobile home only (that does not include any land value) or a recent property tax bill of the mobile home property showing separate “land” and “improvement” values (if applicable).
      • Vehicles (car, truck, golf cart, motorcycle, camper, trailer, etc.):  a written appraisal of the vehicle (showing its current value) from a local licensed dealer or website such as or  


  • Personal Surety Bond Requirements:
    • The name and address of two (2) sureties, who must live at different addresses than each other and cannot live at the same address as the principal, must be provided on the Surety Bond Application.
    • For both sureties, provide General Tax Certification ("GTC"). The GTC can be obtained from, the local tax assessor’s office or county website. The GTC is used to show proof that the land is located in Tennessee and the value of the property for each surety.
  • Corporate Surety Bond Requirements:
    • The complete name and physical address of the insurance provider or bonding company who serves as guarantee of surety on the Surety Bond Application. 
    • A TN Corporate Surety Bond Form requested from the insurance/bonding company to use when writing a Corporate Surety Bond.  The bonding or insurance company’s attorney-in-fact must sign the Corporate Surety Bond, stamp the bond with the company’s seal and attach an original, written power of attorney, stating that they are licensed to transact Surety Bonds in the state of Tennessee, to the Corporate Surety Bond before it can be approved.


  • Mailing Address: Tennessee Department of Revenue, Special Investigations (ATTN: Surety Bonds)/ Andrew Jackson Building, 11th Floor / 500 Deaderick Street, Suite 11.125 / Nashville, Tennessee 37242
  • Email Address:
  • Fax: (615) 532-7835                         


  • The department checks the VIN to make sure the vehicle or mobile home has not been reported as stolen.
  • After the application has been processed by the department’s Special Investigation Section, an approval letter and supporting documentation will be sent to the applicant advising them to complete the Multi-purpose, Noting of Lien and Duplicate Title Application at the local County Clerk’s office, apply for title and pay the appropriate fees. State and local title and registration fees as well as sales and use tax* may apply. The surety bond approval letter and supporting documentation from the state is required in order to process the application for title though the office of the local County Clerk. The clerk should scan all documentation to support the transaction.
    • * Sales tax is calculated based on the sales price or appraised/assessed value depending on the documentation provided with the bond application. Tax is not calculated on the bond amount. The sale of a used factory-manufactured home is exempt from the sales tax if a person can show that someone paid Tennessee sales tax on it in a prior transaction.


  • Surety Bonds cannot be written for any permanently affixed mobile home (Affidavit of Affixation on file in the county Register of Deeds’ office)
  • A physical address of where the manufactured/mobile home is located must be provided on all Surety Bond applications for mobile homes.
  • The value of the surety bond is calculated at one and one-half (1½) times the fair market value of the vehicle. 
  • The state of Tennessee will only write a Surety Bond for any person or company that is a resident of or have a residence or office address in Tennessee. 
  • The issued bond is maintained in a file for a period of three years. The bond may be returned at the end of the three years or prior if the vehicle is no longer registered in this state and the certificate of title has been surrendered to the department.


  • A surety bond should be required to support a title-only application for an ATV purchased for more than $3,000 where the owner does not have a certificate of title or an MSO. This is for former titling and non-titling states. There is no distinction. A registration document will not be sufficient to issue a title.
  • A surety bond may be written for a vehicle or mobile home that is subject to a lien, whether the lien is in-state or out-of-state. A title application supported by a surety bond should be approved even where a lien is present on the NCIC or VTRS systems.


  • Questions regarding Surety Bonds: Email
  • Questions regarding the title process after a surety bond application has been processed, including questions about mobile home de-titling: Call (615) 741-3101 or email





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