Dowdy Lake sunset

Frequently Asked Questions


Question: Can I receive an estimate of plate costs over the phone?

Answer: No. Because of the high volume of calls received each day, and to avoid errors, estimates are not given over the phone.

Question: How can I receive an estimate of plate costs?

Answer: Visit the estimate page »


Question: What is my sales tax rate?

Answer: See sales tax information »

Question: What part of my renewal costs are tax deductible?

Answer: The ownership tax and any prior ownership tax. These figures are shown on your vehicle registration. The license fee portion of the renewal is not deductible.

Lost Title or Registration

Question: What do I do if I have lost my title?

Answer: A Colorado title may be replaced if lost or destroyed and original title was processed after January 1, 1985 by bringing your registration to our office and completing an application for duplicate title. The person who appears as owner, an agent or lienholder must sign the application. The fee for a duplicate title is $8.20 and the title is sent to the owner from the Colorado Department of Revenue in approximately seven to ten days. Note: if a lien exists, or has existed in the past eight years and is shown on the title, the title will be sent to the lienholder unless proof of lien release is submitted. If the record is current on the motor vehicle file a duplicate title may be printed the same day.

Question: What do I do if my license plate is lost, stolen or damaged?

Answer: To replace license plates, you must bring your registration and any remaining plate (for example, if only one plate in a set of two is lost, stolen, or damaged) to our office. The fee is $8.06 to replace regular plates and $59.92 to replace designer or specialty plates. In the case of a lost or stolen plate, notify a city, county or state law enforcement agency, and bring in a copy of the report to our office.

Question: What do I do if my month/year tabs are lost, stolen or damaged?

Answer: Bring in a plate number and photo ID to obtain replacements. There will be a replacement fee of $.11 for month tabs and a $.17 fee for year tabs plus an additional $2.20.

Question: What do I do if I have lost my registration?

Answer: A duplicate registration may be obtained from our office for a fee of $2.20. Please have your license plate number and photo identification available when you come in for a duplicate registration.

Name Change

Question: What do I do if I have a name change?

Answer: The title must be presented to our office to make a name change on a motor vehicle title. The owner(s) must sign off on the "seller" portion of the title in the manner the names appear on the title. Depending upon the title, notarization may be required. Then a new assignment is made on the "convey to" portion of the title showing the new name or names. There is a fee of $7.20 to record the name change. If a name change involved a court document (other than divorce) please bring a copy of that document.

Address Change

Question: How do I change my address with the Motor Vehicle Department?

Answer: A change of address must be reported within ten days to the Clerk and Recorder's Office in the county where the new address is located. There is no fee to change your address. This can be done over the phone, through the mail, or online. The address change must also be reported to a driver's license bureau within ten days. To make a name change or a change of ownership on a vehicle when a lien exists, contact the lien holder.

Filing A Lien

Question: How do I file a lien on a vehicle?

Answer: To file a lien on a motor vehicle, you must provide our office with a copy of a chattel mortgage or security agreement, the properly signed and notarized title, sales tax, if applicable, and filing fees of $5.00 per side per 14 inch page of the chattel mortgage or security agreement or $10.00 per side per page for oversized pages, and $9.50 for a new title or a refinance title. The chattel mortgage or security agreement must show the year, make, and serial number of the vehicle, the total of payments, and assignment of lien if applicable. Upon receipt of the above, we will record your lien and the new title will be mailed to the lien holder in approximately eight weeks.

Deceased Owner

Question: What do I do if the owner of the vehicle has died?

Answer: When the title is in the ownership of one person, and that person is deceased, a court order appointing a personal representative is required. The person appointed "personal representative" must then sign the title as seller. The court order must be presented, with the original death certificate and title, to our office to transfer the title to new ownership.

When the title is in sole ownership, and the deceased owner's estate was under $50,000, an "affidavit for collection of personal property pursuant to the small estates proceeding" is required in addition to the title and the original death certificate must be presented at that time. Photocopies may be certified in our office. The original death certificate will be returned to you. This "small estates affidavit" is available from the County Clerk's office.

To transfer a vehicle when it is titled in two names, but does not indicate "JTWROS" the following will be required:

  1. Certified letters testamentary or of administration, showing the same to be in full force and effect at time of transfer
  2. Title duly assigned by the personal representative
  1. Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property Pursuant to Small Estate Proceeding (Affidavit must always specifically describe the vehicle) This form must be notarized.
  2. Title properly assigned by the affiant
  3. Original death certificate, which will be returned to you. Photocopies can be certified in our office.

To transfer a vehicle when it is titled in two names and "JTWROS" is on the face of the title, the following is required:

  1. Title duly assigned by the survivor.
  2. Original death certificate must be presented at that time. Photocopies may be certified in our office. The original death certificate will be returned to you.

There are several different types of documents issued by the court which are used to effect title transfers for motor vehicles in cases where a death has occurred, so please call our office at (970) 498-7878 if you have any questions.

Question: Where may I obtain a death certificate?

Answer: See vital statistics »


Question: Is my vehicle required to have an emission test?

Answer: Effective July 1, 2010 gasoline operated vehicles will require proof of emission to register or renew the registration. Please see the State Emissions web site for details.

Diesel emission is required in Larimer County. Related information can be found on the Department of Revenue website.

Question: If I work in the Denver metro area, which emissions test am I required to get?

Answer: If you are driving into an enhanced emissions area more than 90 days per year, you are required to obtain an enhanced emissions test. These are only done in the metro area at stations run by Envirotest dba Air Care Colorado. See state emissions »

Question: If I am only in Colorado temporarily am I still required to get an emissions test?

Answer: If you are going to be in the State of Colorado for more than 30 days, you will need to comply with Colorado emissions standards.

Question: How do I know if I am in an emissions area?

Answer: See emission requirements »

Out of State Students and Military

Question: I am a student and wish to prove residency, what do I need to do?

Answer: See out of state students information »

Question: What if I am an out of state student, not claiming residency in this state, must I register my vehicle?

Answer: See out of state students information »

Question: What if I am an active duty military person stationed in Colorado, but do not wish to claim Colorado as my state of residence. Do I need to register my vehicle?

Answer: See military information »

Question: If I am an out of state student and obtain a Colorado Driver's license, am I required to register my vehicle here?

Answer: Yes, by obtaining a Colorado Driver's license, you have made Colorado your state of primary residence.

Question: Can I register to vote when I come in to register my vehicle?

Answer: Yes, you may register in any of the three branch offices, Fort Collins, Loveland or Estes Park. In Fort Collins you may visit our Citizen Information Center which is located directly across the hall from the Motor Vehicle department.

Question: Will Colorado give me credit for plate fees I have paid in another state?

Answer: No. You will need to check with the state where you had the vehicle registered previously for any refund information.

Background Image: Dowdy Lake Sunset by John Bartholow. All rights reserved.