May 26, 2016

Indiana Vehicle Identification Numbers
Is it important to have a VIN check run on a car in Indiana?

Yes. A car is a big investment and you always want to have a VIN check done on the car before you purchase it, particularly if it is a used car and the history of the car is unknown. Some states, including Indiana, require a VIN check to register a car.

A simple VIN check can tell you things like:

  • Accident History – around six million car accidents are reported annually by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
  • Title Brands – flood, hail-damage, and salvage titles are examples of critical title brands to look for before you purchase a used car;
  • Look for used-cars that have had special-purpose designations – including taxi-use, rental-use, or police-use;
  • Faulty Odometer settings;
  • If there are any liens currently against the car. If you purchase a car with liens against it then you may become financially responsible for those liens which need to be paid before the car can be registered in your name;
  • To check and see if the vehicle has been previously declared a lemon;
  • If there have been any airbag deployments;
  • In some cases, the title may be detailed enough to give you history on maintenance on the car; and
  • To check and see if the vehicle has been reported stolen and not recovered.
Where do I get a VIN Check in Indiana?

The state of Indiana has a state database, called the BMV Records Search, which allows users to get information from the state database. For information on a Title and Lien you will need a Title Number AND a Social Security Number or a VIN AND a Social Security Number.

  • For a Title Search you will get the following information:
    • Title Number;
    • Branch Number;
    • Last Action;
    • Purchased;
    • Issued;
    • Vehicle Make;
    • FTN;
    • VIN;
    • Out of State Title;
    • Vehicle Type;
    • Vehicle Model;
    • Vehicle Brand;
    • Odometer;
    • Title Brand;
    • Damage Brand;
    • First Lien Information; and
    • Second Lien Information.

Reports from individual states are often not as complete as the reports that you can get through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) or through VINCheck, the free service recommended by the National Crime Insurance Bureau. NMVTIS is a reporting agency which focuses on auto recyclers, salvage yards, and junk yards. Their reporting helps to ensure that no vehicles, or materials from salvaged vehicles, are used again on other cars. They also help to protect the VINs of salvaged vehicles so that thieves do not use a fake, or improper VIN, on a stolen vehicle. There are also private companies which do VIN checks for a price and they will often have more information that either the NMVTIS or the NICB.

BMV State of Indiana:

BMV Record Search


Recommended by the National Insurance Crime Bureau


What vehicles are required to have a Certificate of Title in the state of Indiana?

Residents of Indiana are required to have an Indiana certificate of title for all vehicles except for those which are specifically exempt from being titled, including:

  • A vehicle that is not required to be registered;
  • “Special Machinery” –
    • A vehicle designed and used to perform a specific function unrelated to transportation people or property on a highway;
    • With permanently mounted machinery or equipment used to perform operations unrelated to transportation on a highway; and
    • Incapable of, or would require substantial modification to be capable of, carrying a load.
  • A motor vehicle that was designed to have a maximum design speed of not more than 25 miles per hour and that was built, constructed, modified, or assembled by a person other than the manufactured;
    • “Motor-driven cycles” – A motor vehicle that:
      • Has a seat or a saddle for the use of the rider;
      • Is designed to travel on no more than three wheels on the ground; and
      • Complies with applicable motor vehicle equipment requirements under IC 9-19 and 49 CFR 571;
      • Has an engine that produces no more than five brake-horsepower; and
      • Is registered as a Motor Driven Cycle – Class A.
      • The terms does not include an electric personal assistive mobility device.
    • An “off-road” vehicle that was purchased or acquired before January 1, 2010 – defined as a motor driven vehicle capable of cross-country travel without benefit of a road, on or immediately over land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, or other natural terrain, and includes the following types:
      • A multi-wheel drive or low-pressure tire vehicle;
      • An amphibious machine;
      • A ground effect air cushion vehicle;
      • An all-terrain vehicle (ATV);
      • A recreational off-highway vehicle; and
      • Other means of transportation deriving motive power from a source other than muscle or wind.
    • A “snowmobile” – defined as a motor driven vehicle designed for travel primarily on snow or ice; and of a type that uses sled type runners or skis, and endless belt tread, or any combination of these or other similar means of contact with the surface upon which the vehicle is operated; and
    • A watercraft not required to be registered – all watercraft operating on Indiana waterways must be registered with the BMV and display valid watercraft decals unless otherwise exempt, including:
      • Non-motorized boats including, but not limited to, canoes, rowboats and paddleboats, but excluding sailboats. Non-motorized sailboats must display valid watercraft decals and pay and applicable fees and taxes;
      • Motorized watercraft from another country that is temporarily operated on Indiana waters;
      • A ship’s lifeboat;
      • Motorized watercraft that is legally registered in another state and:
        • Has not been within Indiana for more than 60 consecutive days; or
        • The owner or the motorboat has paid the required Indiana excise taxes and fees.
      • Watercraft moored on the Indiana part of Lake Michigan for not more than 180 consecutive days.
    • Vehicles which are exempt from being titled under the law in Indiana may be voluntarily titled by the owner; however, once a title has been issued then the vehicle must meet all state requirements for titling under Indiana law until the title is surrendered.

    Vehicles purchased outside of Indiana take additional forms and may take longer to process. If there is a lien on the vehicle and the title is held by a lienholder in another state, you must visit a branch and complete a “Request for Title – State From 1014.” The branch will mail the request to the lien holder and once they have received the title from the lienholder they will contact you.

    Indiana Definition of “Special Machinery:”

    Indiana Definition of “Motor-Driven Cycle:”

    Indiana Definition of “Off-Road Vehicle:”

    Indiana Definition of “Watercraft not requiring Registration:”

    Request for Title – State Form 1014

    Lemon Laws in Indiana

    The Indiana Lemon Law is also known as the “Indiana Motor Vehicle Protection Act,” and applies to vehicles purchased or leased in the state of Indiana, whether the purchaser is a resident of Indiana or not, or if the vehicle is titled there.

    Under the Indiana Lemon Law, passenger vehicles leased or purchased in the state of Indiana. Vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds, conversion vans, motor homes, farm machinery, road building equipment, motorcycles, mopeds, snowmobiles or any other vehicle designed primarily for off-road use are not eligible (although they may be eligible under the Federal “Lemon Law,” the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.)

    • If any of the covered vehicles have a nonconformity or a defect that arises within the first eighteen (18) months of ownership or within the warranty period; and
    • At least four (4) attempts have been to repair the car, OR the car has been unavailable to the consumer (primarily because it was in the shop being repaired) for thirty (30) days or more (which need not be consecutive).

    If your vehicle has met these conditions you should first contact the manufacturer of the vehicle by certified mail where you list the problems with the car, the date of purchase, the dates the car began having problems, and all other documentation which should include the bill of sale, any expenses that you have incurred because of the defect in the car (such as a rental car, towing expenses, or hotel bills if appropriate,) and notes of all telephone conversations you have had with the dealer and repair shop regarding the vehicle, including the names of the people with whom you spoke.

    You should read the owners’ manual in your car or your vehicle warranty for further instructions on what to do. For example:

    • Is written notice to the manufacturer required? If it is, you must contact them by certified mail, within 18 months of receiving the vehicle or before the odometer reaches 18,000 miles, with copies of all repair orders to the manufacturer at the address in the manual or specified on the warranty?
    • If the manufacturer has adopted an informal dispute procedure that has been certified by the Indiana Attorney General? If the have, you should follow the procedures listed before you can file a lawsuit under the Lemon Law?
    • If no notice is required and the manufacturer does not have an informal dispute process, you can file a lawsuit without notifying the manufacturer of your claim.

    The manufacturer of the vehicle has 30 days to accept the return of your vehicle and either replace the vehicle with a comparable one or refund your money. The choice is usually the consumers.

    If the manufacturer does NOT resolve your claim, then you must file a lawsuit within two (2) years of the date that you first reported the problem to the dealer. If you win then you are eligible for not only the costs of the vehicle, but all costs including attorney fees.

    Once a manufacturer has repurchased a vehicle it must be stamped or branded with “Manufacturer Buyback-Disclosure On File.” When the dealer sells a lemon, the buyer must receive:

    • Written notice, when the sale is made, that the vehicle was repurchased or replaced under the Lemon Law, and
    • A 12-month or 12,000-mile manufacturer’s warranty.

    You may also wish to retain an attorney to represent you in a lemon law case. It is recommended that you hire an attorney who is familiar with lemon laws and the laws of the state of Indiana. You should speak with friends and family to see if they have any suggestions about attorneys and, if not, you can search the Internet or contact the state or local Bar Association. Be sure and talk with the attorney about their case history, the kind of cases they specialize in, and the terms of their payment.

    If you are not familiar with any lawyers, you can go to the Indianapolis Bar Association and search for an attorney who has experience in lemon law cases.

    Indianapolis Bar Association

    Lawyer Referral Service

    Indiana Lemon Law

    Attorney General Consumer Protection in Indiana

    BMV: Pendleton License Branch
    129 S Pendleton Ave
    1 888-692-6841

    Lebanon BMV
    2222 N Lebanon St
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    License Branch-BMV
    1951 E Wabash St
    1 765-659-3812

    Bureau of Motor Vehicles Michigan Road License Branch
    8330 N Michigan Rd
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Bureau of Motor Vehicles Indy West License Branch
    10 S Mickley Ave
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    1400 Madison Ave
    1 317-234-0550
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Wabash License Branch
    1679 Cass St
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    BMV-Portage License Branch
    3327 Willowcreek Rd
    1 219-762-2216
    Open until 12:30 PM

    BMV: Sullivan license branch
    273 S Section St
    1 812-268-5591
    Open until 12:30 PM

    BMV License Agency
    500 N Grandstaff Dr
    1 888-692-6841

    Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    7931 Indianapolis Blvd
    1 219-844-1788
    Open until 12:30 PM

    License Branch-Auto
    516 S Halleck St
    1 219-987-5141

    License Branch Auto
    55 N Franklin St
    1 812-384-8258

    State of Indiana- License Branch Auto
    1038 E Ridge Rd
    1 219-838-9155
    Open until 12:30 PM

    License Branch-BMV
    612 Buckeye St
    1 812-346-3441

    Spencer BMV License Agency
    168 E Morgan St
    1 812-829-3718

    BMV McCordsville
    5949 W Broadway
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Veedersburg License Branch
    981 E State St
    1 765-294-2129

    2001 E Columbus Dr
    1 219-397-6400
    Open until 12:30 AM

    Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    405 Noble Creek Dr
    1 317-773-8190
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Department of Motor Vehicles
    7857 E 42nd St
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    LaGrange License Branch
    116 N Detroit St
    1 888-692-6841

    BMV Goshen License Branch
    740 W Lincoln Ave
    1 574-533-4763

    Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    1320 Eagle Ridge Dr
    1 219-322-9126
    Open until 12:30 PM

    License Branch-BMV
    1040 N Miller Ave
    1 765-384-4300
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Terre Haute BMV
    2920 Professional Ln
    1 812-238-1669
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Albion BMV
    113 W Jefferson St
    1 260-636-2033

    Crawfordsville BMV
    1629 Eastway Dr
    1 888-692-6841

    Lafayette Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    Market Square Shopping Center
    2200 Elmwood Ave C1
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    BMV License Branch
    701 Lincoln Hwy W
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    745 Schnier St
    1 812-379-9323
    Open until 12:30 PM

    License Branch-BMV
    623 S St Joseph St # A
    1 574-233-2149
    Closing soon: 12:00 PM

    License Branch Auto – BMV
    2888 Frontage Rd
    1 574-267-8881
    Open until 12:30 PM

    BMV License Branch
    4503 National Rd E
    1 765-962-5936
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Indianapolis Ameriplex BMV
    7811 Milhouse Rd
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Shelbyville BMV
    29 Public Square
    1 317-398-6533
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Batesville License Bureau
    Suite 3, 1132 Tekulve Rd
    1 812-934-3247

    BMV License Agency
    2211 S Park Ave #1
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    175 Demaree Dr
    1 812-295-2550
    Closing soon: 12:00 PM

    BMV License Branch Ellettsville
    4629 W Richland Plaza Dr
    1 812-876-1244

    7 W National Ave
    1 888-692-6841

    Monticello BMV
    820 W Fisher St
    1 574-583-5971

    Berne license branch
    1170 E Main St
    1 260-589-2606

    BMV License Branch
    w 47454, 1565 W Hospital Rd
    1 888-692-6841

    License Branch-BMV
    2936 Miller Dr
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    License Branch BMV
    854 E Jefferson St
    1 765-675-6103
    Open until 12:30 PM

    BMV License Branch
    116 N Jefferson St
    1 765-348-3048
    Closed today

    BMV License Branch
    405 W State St Suite 3
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 AM

    BMV License Agency
    1010 Mill Pond Ln
    1 888-692-6841
    Open until 12:30 PM

    BMV License Branches
    591 S Lake Rd S
    1 812-752-4045
    Open until 12:30 AM

    New Albany License Branch
    821 Northgate Blvd #100
    1 812-945-0024
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Vevay BMV License Agency
    504 Ferry St
    1 812-427-3303

    BMV Winchester
    309 West South St.
    1 888-692-6841
    Closing soon: 12:00 PM

    Valparaiso License Branch
    1361 Morthland Dr
    1 219-462-4814
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Bureau Motor Vehicle
    348 W North St
    1 260-347-2998

    Jeffersonville License Branch
    2944 E 10th St
    1 812-282-1862
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Mishawaka License Branch
    McKinley Town & Country Shopping Centre
    2544 Miracle Lane
    1 574-255-9620
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Plainfield License Branch
    995 Andico Rd
    1 317-839-2423
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Michigan City License Branch
    1724 US-20
    1 219-872-5313
    Open until 12:30 PM

    Sellersburg license branch
    304 Hunter Station Rd
    1 812-246-9010

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