California Bill of Sale

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A California bill of sale should include the car’s make, model, year, and VIN along with the names, addresses, and signatures of both buyer and seller. You should also list the purchase price agreed upon by both parties. 
Filling out a bill of sale is an important part of any private vehicle sale. Although a bill of sale isn’t a legal requirement in every state, it’s always a good idea to complete one as a record of the transaction. 
Whether you want to download a DMV form or create your own document, car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has all the information you need about filling out a California bill of sale. 

What is a bill of sale? 

A bill of sale for a car is essentially a receipt for the private sale of the vehicle. In general, it contains information about the car being sold, including the vehicle identification number (VIN), the odometer reading at the time of sale, and the purchase price agreed upon by buyer and seller. A bill of sale also includes identifying information about the buyer and seller, along with their signatures. 
A bill of sale does not legally transfer ownership of the car—only a title transfer can do that. The certificate of title is the legal document that certifies a car’s ownership. Instead, a bill of sale outlines the terms of your agreement with the other party in a private vehicle sale. 

Is a bill of sale required in California? 

The state of California does not require a bill of sale for private car sales. However, it’s usually a good idea to fill out a bill of sale when you buy or sell a vehicle, since the document acts as proof of the transaction, the date of transfer, and the purchase price. 

What is required in a California bill of sale? 

If you are buying or selling a car in California, you can either download a sample bill of sale from the California DMV website or create your own. 
If you do choose to draft your own bill of sale, make sure to include the following information: 
  • Make, model, year, and VIN
  • License plate number
  • Date of transfer
  • Purchase price
  • Name, address, and signature of seller(s)
  • Name, address, and signature of buyer(s)
If you’re giving the car to a family member, you can list the value of the car instead of a purchase price and indicate that you are transferring ownership to them as a gift. 
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What should I do after I get a bill of sale? 

After you get a bill of sale for a car, you must complete a title transfer to legally certify the change of ownership. Remember, your bill of sale is a receipt—it does not officially transfer ownership of the car to the new owner!  
Follow your state’s rules for transferring a car’s title to complete the transaction. If you are selling the car, you may need to report the sale to the DMV and turn in or transfer the old license plates. If you bought the car, you’ll need to register it with the DMV and receive new plates. 
Make sure to keep a copy of the bill of sale for your records. This protects you from possible legal consequences down the road, as the bill of sale acts as proof of the terms of your agreement with the buyer or seller, including the purchase price for the vehicle. 

How to find affordable car insurance

Once you’ve filled out the bill of sale and completed the transaction at the DMV, you’ll need to purchase car insurance. Download the Jerry app to find the lowest available rate. As a licensed broker, Jerry can search and compare rates from 50+ top companies to generate competitive quotes tailored to your needs. Jerry users save an average of $879 a year on car insurance! 
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