Titles are important when it comes to claiming legal ownership of particular items.
When some top-end riding mowers cost in excess of $10k, it is no surprise that potential buyers often ask do lawn mowers have titles?
Outside of your house and car, it might be the most substantial amount of money you spend in your life!
We look at the issue in this blog post and consider the ins and outs of buying a lawn mower.
So let’s get started.
Do Lawn Mowers Have Titles?
Lawn mowers do not have titles as they are not built to be used on the highway. Titles are given to vehicles such as cars and motorcycles for this reason. As lawn mowers are used mainly on private property, they do not have titles. In the absence of a title make sure you get a bill of sale to verify you are the owner of your mower.
Why Are Titles Important?
We touched on it in our intro, but when you buy a car or a motorcycle you will get a certificate of title that proves you are the legal owner of the vehicle.
Also known as a pink slip, a certificate of title is issued by the Secretary of State in the state the vehicle was purchased by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The process varies from state to state, but a certificate of title specifies certain details about the vehicle purchased including the name and address of the registered owner.
Now considering some new riding mowers might set you back more than a second-hand car, you will want to do everything to ensure it is correctly registered to you.
And that is why the questions of lawn mowers, or more specifically riding lawn mowers and titles comes up with some regularity.
But the answer is…
Lawn Mowers DO NOT Have Titles
If a vehicle can be driven on a highway at highway speeds, it has to have a title.
So yes cars and motorcycles have titles, as do quad bikes.
Boats and watercraft also have titles as they are operated on lakes owned by state governments, and you need to abide by the laws of the state on the water they own.
Tractors and riding mowers spend their lives on private property.
You can drive a riding mower on the side of the road, but not the road itself.
That is why riding lawn mowers do not have titles.
The only exception to this would be if you souped your mower up so it could be driven at highway speeds, then you would need to get a title from the state.
How Can You Establish You Are the Owner of Your Mower?
In the absence of a title, you might be concerned about how you establish the right that you own the mower you brought.
In reality the process is similar to buying any other high-end item (ie a new refrigerator, computer, sofa, etc).
#1 Make Sure You Get a Bill of Sale
The most important document, if you are buying your riding mower from a dealer or a store, is the bill of sale.
Make sure you get it, and when you have it make sure you keep it somewhere safe and know where it is.
Preferably take a copy of it as well.
A bill of sale will include the most important details about your mower, namely its make, model and serial number and the fact that, having paid for it, you are the legal owner.
If you are buying a second-hand mower, make sure you get the bill of sale from the previous owner and confirmation that you have purchased the mower from him.
If the previous owner doesn’t have a bill of sale, then to be extra safe…
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#2 Get a Notary to Witness the Sale
A notary is a state-appointed individual who can serve as a third-party witness to the sale.
A notary’s role includes verifying the identity of those involved in the sale and providing official authentication of the sale and transfer of ownership.
Again the jurisdiction of a notary varies from state to state, but it will provide an extra level of security when it comes to a sale like this.
#3 Make a Note of the Model and Serial Number
This information should be included on a bill of sale, but it is always worth double-checking the document to make sure the correct details have been noted down.
Ask the store or person you are buying the mower from to show you where the model number and serial numbers are.
- On a push mower, the model and serial numbers are usually at the back of the mower deck between the handles or on the side of the mower.
- On a riding mower, the model and serial numbers are usually under the seat pan or on the back of the mower.
This article is really useful for more detail on what serial and model numbers look like for varying makes of lawn mowers.
Keeping Your Riding Mower Safe
If you have splashed out a considerable amount of money on a mower and established yourself as the legal owner you will naturally want to make sure it is safe from theft.
There are a few things you will want to do, many of which are common sense, but it is worth reiterating them:
- Store it in a safe space.
This could be a shed or a private part of your property. If you are storing it outside remember to cover it during bad weather to reduce the risk of rust, etc.
- Take additional safety measures.
Consider a chain or padlock to further secure your mower and look at installing a specialist alarm or a GPS tracker, which will allow you to locate the mower if it is stolen.
- Consider insurance.
Establish whether your mower is covered under your house and contents insurance. Larger riding mowers may not be and might need separate insurance. Insurance will not only provide some compensation if it is stolen, it can also be important if someone else is using the mower and has an accident.
Doing all of the above, and keeping all details from your purchase in a safe and secure space, should give you peace of mind for your new purchase.
Then it is just up to you to get mowing!
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The infographic above sums things up.
As you can see lawn mowers do not have titles, simply because they are not built to be driven on the highway.
They are generally used on private land.
It doesn’t really affect you asserting your legal right as the owner of the vehicle though.
The most important thing is to make sure you get a bill of sale as that contains all the vital details of the mower and essentially verifies you as the owner.
Double-check the details and make sure you know where to find the model number and the serial number of your mower.
Once you have done that just keep your mower safe, and keep your lawn tidy!