How to Transfer a Car Title
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When buying or selling a vehicle, most states require the people involved in the transaction to transfer the car title between them. While this is simple to do, car buyers need to make sure to provide the proper documentation and pay the required fees.
Car buyers also need to determine how much time they have to complete a title transfer in their state, as failure to do so within the required timeframe can lead to extra fees.
Read on to find out how to properly transfer a car title.
What documents and information do I need to transfer a car title?
In order to successfully transfer a title, you need to provide certain information. While this varies by state, the following list details some of the more common information you need to complete a title transfer:
- Application for title and/or registration
- Notice of Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle (required in some states)
- Odometer reading of the vehicle at the time of the sale (entered on the title upon sale)
- Purchase price paid for the vehicle
- Driver’s license or other state-accepted ID
- The old title (signed by both parties)
- Valid vehicle registration in the state
- Proof of car insurance
- Verification of Vehicle Identification Number form (required in some states)
- Any inspection, smog check, or emission check paperwork as required by the state
- Bill of sale (required in some states or counties)
How much does it cost to transfer a car title?
The cost for transferring a car title varies by state, with many states also imposing registration fees and taxes on top of the cost of the title transfer.
Also, keep in mind that many states impose a time limit on transferring a title when purchasing a car. Failure to transfer the title within this time limit can result in late penalties. Timeframes usually range from 15 to 90 days.
The following chart with information from DMV.org details the costs for a title transfer in different states and the agencies responsible for handling title transfers:
|Title Transfer Fees and Responsible Agency by State|
|State||Cost to Transfer Title||Responsible Agency|
|Alabama||$16.50||Alabama Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)|
|Alaska||$15||Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)|
|Arizona||$13.50 plus taxes||Arizona MVD|
|Arkansas||$10||Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV)|
|California||$15 plus taxes||California DMV|
|Colorado||Fees vary by county||Colorado DMV|
|Connecticut||Varies by weight and value||Connecticut DMV|
|Delaware||Varies by weight and value||Delaware DMV|
|D.C.||$26 plus taxes and fees||D.C. DMV|
|Florida||$77.75 plus fees||Florida DHSMV|
|Georgia||$38 plus taxes||Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR)|
|Hawaii||Fees vary by county||Hawaii County Registration Office|
|Idaho||$14 plus fees||Idaho DMV|
|Illinois||$95 plus taxes and fees||Illinois Secretary of State|
|Indiana||$15 plus registration fees||Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)|
|Iowa||Fees vary by county||Iowa County Treasurer|
|Kansas||$10||Kansas Division of Vehicles|
|Kentucky||Fees vary by county||Kentucky County Clerk|
|Louisiana||$68.50 plus fees||Louisiana OMV|
|Maine||$33 plus taxes and fees||Maine BMV|
|Maryland||$100 plus taxes||Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)|
|Massachusetts||$75 plus taxes and fees||Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)|
|Michigan||$15 plus tax||Michigan Department of State|
|Minnesota||$46.25 plus taxes||Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS)|
|Mississippi||$9 plus fees and taxes||Mississippi DOR|
|Missouri||$11 plus taxes||Missouri DOR|
|New Hampshire||$25||New Hampshire DMV|
|New Jersey||$60||New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC)|
|New Mexico||$5 plus taxes||New Mexico MVD|
|New York||$50 plus fees and taxes||New York DMV|
|North Carolina||$52 plus taxes||North Carolina DMV|
|North Dakota||$5 plus taxes and fees||North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT)|
|Ohio||$15 plus taxes and fees||Ohio BMV|
|Oklahoma||$10 plus taxes and fees||Oklahoma MVD|
|Pennsylvania||$53 plus taxes and fees||Pennsylvania DOT|
|Rhode Island||$51.50||Rhode Island DMV|
|South Carolina||$15 plus taxes||South Carolina DMV|
|South Dakota||$10 plus taxes and fees||South Dakota DMV|
|Tennessee||$1 plus taxes||Tennessee County Clerk|
|Texas||$28 or $33 plus fees||Texas DMV|
|Utah||$6 plus taxes||Utah DMV|
|Vermont||$35 plus taxes||Vermont DMV|
|Virginia||$10 plus taxes||Virginia DMV|
|Washington||$12 plus fees||Washington State Department of Licensing|
|West Virginia||$15 plus taxes||West Virginia DMV|
|Wisconsin||$69.50 plus taxes and fees||Wisconsin DMV|
|Wyoming||Fees vary by county||Wyoming County Clerk|
The title transfer process
The title transfer process is relatively quick and easy. As long as the seller and buyer fill out the old title correctly following a vehicle sale, there should be no problems.
Sign and fill out the title. Both the buyer and seller need to sign the title for the car. Information to fill out on the title includes the purchase price, VIN, make and model of the car, the odometer reading, and the names of both the buyer and seller.
Request a new title. In order to receive a new title for the car, the buyer needs to visit the local office for the agency that handles car title transfers in their state. This allows state agencies to verify who exactly purchased the vehicle. While at the office, the new owner needs to also pay any title transfer fees and taxes.
Wait to receive the new title. Most often, car owners can expect to receive their new title in the mail within 10 days. For a fee, most state agencies can expedite this process so that a car buyer receives the title sooner.
States require a clear line of vehicle ownership in the form of a car title. This allows the proper assigning of fault if an accident happens.
Key Takeaway: First, both parties need to sign the title and add all the necessary information. Then the buyer needs to request a new title from their local agency, and pay any fees or taxes, before receiving the title by mail.
Whether you’re selling your car or buying a used vehicle, make sure you have the proper documents and you understand the costs of transferring titles before you begin the process.
In either case, you’ll probably need to adjust your car insurance before the transfer too. Skip the usual hassle, let Jerry use its AI to help you find estimates from over 40 providers in just 45 seconds.
How many days do you have to transfer a title?
It depends on your state, but the number of days you have to transfer a title usually ranges from 15-90 days. Check with your state’s DMV to be sure.
Do I need insurance to transfer a title?
Most states won’t require you to show proof of insurance to transfer a title, though some states, like Minnesota, do. Also keep in mind that you do need proof of insurance if you’re caught with a traffic violation, so it’s in your best interest to get car insurance.
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