Selling a Car in Virginia

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Selling a car in Virginia is straightforward. You need to sign over the title, include an odometer reading, remove the license plates, and notify the DMV and your insurance company. No bill of sale is required. 
There are several important guidelines to help you legally sell a car in Virginia. It may seem a little tedious, but you must follow the rules carefully. Otherwise, you could be liable for the new owner’s behavior. Yikes!
Let’s dive in. Here’s what you need to know about selling a car in Virginia, compiled for you by car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry.

What you need to sell a car in Virginia

Paperwork is the name of the game. Let’s start with the required documents. Here are the items that the Virginia DMV will ask you to submit: 
  • Title, properly assigned
  • Odometer disclosure
  • Motor vehicle inspection certificate
Eventually, you will also need to remove your old license plates before you hand over the keys. 

Getting a pre-sale inspection

It’s a requirement in Virginia to have a current motor vehicle inspection certificate before selling a used car. The state requires an annual safety inspection, which earns you a safety inspection sticker that must be displayed. If you drive without the sticker, you could be ticketed.
Does your vehicle already have a valid sticker? If yes, then you don’t need to perform an additional inspection.
While not required by law, safety inspections are still a good idea. A clean bill of health will attract buyers and can help you set a fair price for your vehicle.
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Documenting the sale

Unlike most other states, Virginia does not require a bill of sale. However, we recommend creating one anyway. A bill of sale is a legal record proving that a transaction took place. It can help protect both the buyer and seller by documenting the details of the sale.
If you want to create your own bill of sale, include the following information:
  • Buyer - name, address
  • Seller - name, address, signature
  • Item description - VIN, make, model, year, mileage
  • Purchase price and date of sale

Signing the title over

Follow these instructions carefully to ensure that you properly sign over the title.
In Section A on the front of the title, sign your name and provide the name and address of the buyer. You must also note the odometer reading here. Complete the “Sales Price” section, too. If you are donating the vehicle, you can write “charitable gift” as the sales price.
Now give the title to the buyer or recipient. They must complete the title with their own name, address, and signature.
Lost the title? You can’t sell a vehicle in Virginia without a valid title. But don’t panic! Submit Form VSA 67, the Application for Replacement of Substitute Title. If the owner is deceased, you will need the above form in addition to a copy of their will, a certified death certificate, and Form VSA 24. Fees vary depending on the situation.

Reporting the sale

You’re nearly done! Reporting the sale is an important final step in the process of selling a car in Virginia.
You must notify your insurance company whenever you sell, trade, or donate a vehicle. You can usually transfer coverage to the new vehicle. Make sure you obtain new plates and get liability insurance before you register it with the DMV—and avoid a gap in coverage.
Then, you must notify the DMV that you have donated, traded, or sold a vehicle. You can go online, call, or visit a customer service center in person.
Insurance companies notify the DMV whenever they change or cancel coverage for a vehicle. If you do not notify the DMV, it could appear that the vehicle is still registered in your name but uninsured. Your license could be accidentally suspended.

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Resources such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book can help you figure out what your car is worth so you can determine a fair price based on its make, model, year, and condition.

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