How to Add a Name to a Car Title

To add a name to a car title, you’ll need to submit a signed title to your DMV with your name and the added name listed in the buyer’s section.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Edited by Pat Roache
Adding a name to a car’s certificate of title requires a relatively simple trip to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, but the exact requirements and fees vary from state to state.
  • Adding a name to a car title is similar to completing a title transfer wherein the “seller” is the current owner and the “buyers” are the current owner and the person being added.
  • Some states allow you to add a new owner to your vehicle registration, while other states require joint owners to file vehicle registration separately.
  • You’ll need to alert your
    auto insurance
    provider of a new driver on your policy after adding a name to your car title.

Step 1: Find your current title

The name on a car title establishes proof of ownership for the vehicle. Adding an additional name to your car title grants joint ownership of the vehicle. To add a name to a vehicle title, you’ll first need to be able to bring the original title to your local DMV office. 
What to do: If you are the registered owner of the vehicle, locate your current title. If you can’t find it, you’ll need to contact your state DMV to request a replacement title. 

Step 2: Notify the lienholder, if applicable

If you are still paying off a
car loan
, your lender will be listed on your car title as a lienholder, meaning they own more of the car than you do. 
To add a person a title of a lienholder-owned vehicle: Let the lienholder know you want to add an additional person to the title. 
The lienholder will need to apply for the change by providing a letter with the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), stating their intent to add an additional person to the title.

Step 3: Sign the title with the new owner

Adding a name to a car title that you already own is similar to a
title transfer
. The main difference is that instead of completing a full transfer of ownership to someone else, you are essentially transferring a share of the ownership.
What to do: 
  • Sign your name to the back of the title on the seller line. 
  • Add your name and the name of whoever is being added to the title to the buyer’s section
  • If the title says Person 1 AND Person 2: Both you and your transferee must sign the title transfer and on any future matters related to the title.
  • If the title says Person 1 OR Person 2: Only the current vehicle owners need to sign the title and either the original owner or new owner can be responsible for future matters related to the title.
In most states, you’ll need to bring your signed certificate of title to your local DMV with the following commonly required documents:
  • Completed Application for Certificate of Title
  • Odometer reading listed on the title or a bill of sale or an odometer disclosure statement
  • Payment for local title fees
Key Takeaway Adding an additional name to a car title is similar to the process of transferring a title when selling a car. When you add a person to a car title, you are "selling" the car to yourself and that additional person, be they a spouse or partner.

Step 4: Inform your insurer of the change

You’ll need to update your insurance company with the person being added to the car’s title. This can include the following steps:
  • Adding the new driver to your car’s insurance policy
  • Providing the insurer with a copy of the new title for their records.
Keep in mind: You may see your car insurance rates change after adding a new driver to your policy, depending on their driver profile. 

Changing the name on a car title

To update your car title after you’ve changed your name:
  • Follow the same steps listed above for adding a name to a title for a car you own.
  • Complete the buyer section with your name change.
  • Bring the signed certificate of title and any required title transfer forms to your local DMV.
A transfer fee may be required before your state will issue the replacement title.

Update your registration

Some states allow a vehicle owner to add an additional driver to the
vehicle registration
, while others require separate registrations for each driver. 
What to expect: Check with the DMV in your state to figure out how you and your joint car owner will need to handle joint registration and registration fees.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
Find insurance savings


Let the lien holder know you’d like to add an additional person to the car’s title. They will have to apply to change the title and add another person if approved.
Some states require each driver on a car title to be registered separately, while others allow the additional driver to be registered under the primary driver’s registration. Check with your state DMV for your local requirements.
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings