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It's the Law—Iowa's Snowmobile Laws
Certificates of Title for Snowmobiles

  • The owner of a snowmobile acquired on or after January 1, 1998, other than a snowmobile used exclusively as a farm implement, shall apply to the county recorder of the county in which the owner resides for a certificate of title for the snowmobile.
  • A certificate of title shall contain the information and shall be issued on a form the department prescribes.
  • An owner of a snowmobile shall apply to the county recorder for issuance of a certificate of title within thirty days after acquisition. The application shall be on forms the department prescribes and accompanied by the required fee. The application shall be signed and sworn to before a notary public or other person who administers oaths, or shall include a certification, signed in writing, containing knowledge, information, and belief under penalty of perjury. The application shall contain the date of sale and gross price of the snowmobile or the fair market value if no sale immediately preceded the transfer, and any additional information the department requires. If the application is made for a snowmobile last registered or titled in another state or foreign country, the application shall contain this information and any other the department requires.
  • A manufacturer or dealer shall not transfer ownership of a new snowmobile without supplying the transferee with the manufacturer’s or importer’s certificate of origin signed by the manufacturer’s or importer’s authorized agent. The certificate shall contain information the department requires. The department may adopt rules providing for the issuance of a certificate of origin for a snowmobile by the department upon good cause shown by the owner.
  • A dealer transferring ownership of a snowmobile under this chapter shall assign the title to the new owner, or in the case of a new snowmobile, assign the certificate of origin. Within thirty days the dealer shall forward all monies and applications to the county recorder.
  • The county recorder shall maintain a record of any certificate of title which the county recorder issues, and shall keep each certificate of title on record until the certificate of title has been inactive for five years. When issuing a title for a new snowmobile, the county recorder shall obtain and keep on file the certificate of origin.
  • Once titled, a person shall not sell or transfer ownership of a snowmobile without delivering to the purchaser or transferee a certificate of title with an assignment on it showing the title in the purchaser’s or transferee’s name. A person shall not purchase or otherwise acquire a snowmobile without obtaining a certificate of title for it in that person’s name.
  • Questions concerning bonding issues with machines with VIN numbers should be directed to the main office by calling 515-281-5918. You must have a bill of sale to bond. For machines without VIN numbers contact your local conservation officer.

Title Fees, Surcharges, and Duplicates

  • The county recorder shall charge a ten dollar fee to issue a certificate of title, a transfer of title, a duplicate, or a corrected certificate of title.
  • If a certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or becomes illegible, the first lienholder or if there is none, the owner named on the certificate, as shown by the county recorder’s records, shall within thirty days obtain a duplicate by applying to the county recorder.
  • The duplicate certificate of title shall be marked plainly “duplicate” across its face and mailed or delivered to the applicant..
  • Five dollars of the certificate of title fees collected under this section shall be remitted by the county recorder to the treasurer of state for deposit in the special conservation fund created under section 321G.7. The remaining five dollars shall be retained by the county and deposited into the general fund of the county.

Transfer or Repossession

  • If ownership of a snowmobile is transferred by operation of law, such as by inheritance, order in bankruptcy, insolvency, replevin, or execution sale, the transferee, within thirty days after acquiring the right to possession of the snowmobile, shall mail or deliver to the county recorder satisfactory proof of ownership as the county recorder requires, together with an application for a new certificate of title and the required fee.
  • If a lienholder repossesses a snowmobile by operation of law and holds it for resale, the lienholder shall secure a new certificate of title and shall pay the required fee.

Security Interest

  • A security interest created in Iowa in a snowmobile is not perfected until the security interest is noted on the certificate of title.
    • To perfect the security interest, an application for security interest must be presented along with the original title. The county recorder shall note the security interest on the face of the title and on the copy in the recorder’s office.
    • The application fee for a security interest is ten dollars. Five dollars of the fee shall be credited to the special conservation fund created under section 321G.7. The remaining five dollars shall be retained by the county and deposited into the general fund of the county.
  • The certificate of title shall be presented to the county recorder when the application for security interest, or for assignment of the security interest, is presented and a new or endorsed certificate of title shall be issued to the secured party with the name and address of the secured party on it.
  • The secured party shall present the certificate of title to the county recorder when a release statement is filed and a new or endorsed certificate shall be issued to the owner.
Iowa Department
of Natural Resources
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