Stolen and recovered vehicles

Stolen vehicles

If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police and your auto insurance company as soon as possible. The police will enter the information into national and state auto theft computer records. The theft will be noted on your vehicle title record to help prevent someone from selling the vehicle or applying for a title.


How can I report stolen plates?

Ask the police to complete a 'Report of Lost or Stolen Motor Vehicle Items' form (MV-78B) for your stolen plates. The form is different from the stolen vehicle report, and it's available only from police agencies, not from DMV. Make a copy of the MV-78B report for your records, and bring the original form to a DMV office to surrender your registration. For further information, see Report or Replace Lost or Stolen Plates.


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Do I need a duplicate (replacement) title?

If your vehicle is not recovered, you may have to transfer ownership to your insurance company using your title certificate. If you have lost your title certificate, you must apply for a duplicate title. See Replace a Title Certificate for more information.

A duplicate title issued when a vehicle is stolen is marked to show the vehicle is stolen and that the duplicate title is valid for insurance transfer only.

If your vehicle is recovered before you transfer the "insurance transfer only" title to your insurance company, make sure the police have cancelled the stolen vehicle alarm.  Then send the title to the Title Bureau along with a letter explaining that your vehicle was recovered, and DMV will issue a regular title. The address for the Title Bureau is

Title Bureau
PO Box 2750
Albany, NY 12220-0750


What if my title was not yet issued?

If the vehicle was stolen before you were able to apply for a registration and title in your name, you must first apply for a title in your name in order to transfer ownership to your insurance company. You must obtain a letter from the insurance company on their letterhead stating that proof of ownership is required for insurance transfer only. Submit the letter with your Application for Title [Only] (MV-82TON), along with Proof of Sales Tax (FS-6T) and Title Fee. DMV will issue a New York State Title in your name branded "Stolen Vehicle Insurance Transfer Only." This title is an ownership document that can be transferred to your insurance company. See Apply for a Title Certificate Only at our website.


Recovered vehicles

If your vehicle is recovered, make sure the police cancel the stolen vehicle alarm so the recovery will be listed on your title record. Do not use the vehicle or apply for plates/registration until you are sure the alarm has been cancelled.

If the vehicle is damaged or totaled, contact your auto insurance company. Do not apply for plates/registration as explained below until contacting your insurance company and resolving the matter with them.

If the plates are recovered with your vehicle and you filed form MV-78B, bring the plates and your copy of the MV-78B to a DMV office to surrender them and apply for new plates and to re-instate your registration.

If the plates are missing, bring your copy of form MV-78B to a DMV office and apply for new plates and reinstatement of your registration.

If the vehicle and plates are recovered before you file form MV-78B, and the stolen vehicle alarm has been cancelled, your registration is still active and you may continue using the registration.


See location, instructions and reservation information for your DMV