Title Transfer Tennessee

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A title transfer in Tennessee requires a visit to the county clerk’s office, a bit of paperwork, and a fee of $11. You might also need an emissions test, depending on where you live.
Whether you are new to Tennessee or a current resident purchasing a vehicle, you will need to complete a title transfer. While the process isn’t difficult, it’s important to make sure you’re following each step correctly to remain compliant with state law.
To ensure you arrive at the county clerk’s office prepared, car insurance and broker app Jerry has got your back. We’ve done the research for you and are breaking down what you need to know about a title transfer in Tennessee.  

What is a title transfer? 

A title of a car is what determines who owns it. Transferring a car title means that you are transferring the car’s ownership
To successfully transfer a title, you must complete two steps:
  • The seller releases ownership of the car by signing the title
  • The buyer takes the signed title to the county clerk’s office, where they will issue a new title and registration 

Reasons for a title transfer

The most common reasons for completing a title transfer are moving to a new state or buying or selling a car. 
Other reasons for a title transfer include:
  • Donating or gifting a vehicle
  • Inheriting a vehicle
  • Paying off a vehicle loan

Who does the title transfer?

The responsibility of transferring a title depends on whether the sale is being done privately or through a dealership. 
For a private sale, the buyer and seller are responsible to complete this process. If you are purchasing a car from a dealership, they take care of all the paperwork and mail the new title from the DMV. 
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Car title transfer in Tennessee

New residents

If you are a new resident and you needed to pass an emissions test, scheduling information can be found on the Department of Environment and Conservation’s website. Once you pass emissions, make sure you receive a certificate—you’ll need to bring it to the county clerk’s office. 
Here are the documents you’ll need to have to complete a title transfer in Tennessee:
  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of residency
  • Passed emissions certificate (if applicable)
  • Current out-of-state registration
  • Name and address of lienholder (if applicable)

Current residents

Those who are currently residing in Tennesee and need to obtain a title will also need to bring the required documentation to the county clerk’s office. This includes:
  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of residency
For new vehicle titles, you will also need to show:
  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin
  • New vehicle’s invoice
  • Copy of current registration if transferring your license plate
For used vehicle titles, you will need to show ID and proof of residency, plus: 
  • A valid certificate of title
  • Odometer disclosure statement (if applicable)
  • Copy of current registration if transferring your license plate
  • Affidavit of Non-Dealer Transfers (for gift, low selling, or lineal relative vehicle transfers)
As noted, the title fee is $11. There is also a $1 title transfer fee—and if a standard license plate is needed, the plate fee totals $21.50. 
Key Takeaway Arriving at the county clerk’s office prepared will streamline the title transfer process. 

Registering a car in Tennessee

Once the title transfer is completed, you will be ready to register your vehicle. Registration is done annually and proves that you are legally authorized to drive on the streets.  
The annual base cost of registering a vehicle in Tennessee is $23.75. Additional fees may apply with consideration to the type of vehicle you are registering, license plate type, county in which you reside, and your driving record. 

Finding insurance for your vehicle

Title transfer and registration are absolute musts when it comes to driving legally—but so is car insurance. 
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