Do Tractors Have Titles?

Some tractors have titles while others do not. In general, however, a tractor doesn’t usually come with a title. This means the only paper you’ll have to prove ownership is a receipt. But, this will vary depending on what state you live in and how the brand chooses to conduct business.

It may come as a surprise that you won’t have a title after making a tractor purchase. After all, these are expensive pieces of machinery that can cost in excess of $250,000. You’d think you should have something like a title on top of a receipt. But, this isn’t always going to be the case.

Does the Price of a Tractor Influence Receiving a Title?

No, the price of a tractor will not influence getting a title for it. This will all boil down to the laws in your state and what the tractor manufacturer offers.

Why Don’t Many Tractors Come with a Title?

The reason why it’s rare to get a title with a tractor is because the incidence rate of theft is much lower than say a car, truck or motorcycle. It’d be pretty difficult for someone to steal a tractor and get away with it without anyone noticing.

And, even if they do, they won’t get very far. That’s not to say that some dummies won’t try to steal it, however.

What Happens If a Tractor Does Get Stolen?

In the rare and off chance a tractor gets stolen, it’s important to file a report with the police. Also, contact your insurance company if you have the equipment insured. You will have to prove the tractor belongs to you, so provide the police all the information you have. This will include the receipt, photos, a certificate of ownership, proof of insurance and the serial number.

What Are Some of the Laws Around Tractor Title Requirements?

Every state is different in regards to requiring a title for a tractor. So, it’s important to look up your state’s department of motor vehicles (or similar service) to see what’s acceptable for having a title and what is not. 

Most states don’t require registration for small tractors. But, large industrial-sized ones do. This is true in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont; any heavy-duty tractor must have a title.

However, some states don’t require a title for any size tractor so long as it won’t operate on interstate highways. This is the case for places like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.

Is a Certificate of Ownership the Same Thing as a Title for a Tractor?

Certificates of ownership operate in a similar manner as a title. This is what many manufacturers will actually provide. While some states may require you to register your certificate of ownership, they will not require you to register it with the department of motor vehicles. And yet, in other places you hold onto your certificate as proof of purchase.

If There Isn’t a Title or Certificate of Ownership, How Do I Prove the Tractor’s Ownership?

Whenever you buy a new piece of farming equipment, specifically a tractor, it’s important to keep a detailed record. This will be handy in case it gets stolen or if someone claims that you stole it. Create a file and keep everything in order by date starting with your initial receipt and other papers you received.

Any and all other documentation you put in this file will have the most recent activity in front. It’s essential that you take photographs of the tractor on the first day it’s in your possession. Keep copies of these with your initial purchasing documentation. Write down the serial number and take a photo of it when you first get your tractor.

Keep a Ledger

It may also be a good idea to keep an expense ledger stapled to the inside cover of the file. Write down your initial date of purchase, the total amount and from where. Every subsequent line under it will either indicate a payment you made (if you have a loan) or expenses for repairs, replacements and other maintenance.

In the case that you buy your tractor from an independent seller, you can have them write the sale receipt on a post card and then they can mail it to you. This way you’ll have a federal stamp from the post office certifying the date. To further solidify the deal, you could take the post card or other documentation to a notary public.

It might also be a good idea to register certain parts of the tractor with your local police department. This will help further secure your ability to document proof of ownership.

How Do You Protect a Tractor from Theft?

Because ownership is harder to prove, there are some nefarious people who believe they can get away with stealing a tractor. And, in some rare instances, they are successful. But, if you follow some simple tips, you’ll be able to protect your tractor from theft without having to worry about a title.

  • Store the tractor in a locked and secure area. Use surveillance cameras if you think it’s necessary. Never leave your tractor unattended if you suspect theft afoot in your area.
  • Pay attention to strange characters walking around the perimeter with the capacity to recall what they look like. This could be someone staking out your schedule to plan their getaway.
  • When you store your tractor, keep the fuel low. This will make the tractor more difficult to steal. At the very least, the thief won’t get very far.
  • Only let a small, select group of people operate your tractor. Make sure you can trust them and that they don’t have a history of theft.

Can You Create a Title for a Tractor If It Doesn’t Have One?

Depending on your state and its laws, you may have to have a title drawn up for your tractor. But, if your state doesn’t require such a thing, you can’t create one if it doesn’t have a title.