How to Add a Name to a Car Title
The name on a car title establishes ownership of that vehicle. Adding an additional name to your car title grants equal rights towards the vehicle to that person.
Adding a person to your vehicle title is a simple process. However, keep in mind that the following are general guidelines, as rules and fees differ from state to state.
Be sure to check with your state’s DMV about the specific regulations for adding a name to a car title.
Remember, whenever you do add a person to a car title, they need car insurance. Like the car’s owner, an additional driver needs financial protection against any vehicle damage or bodily harm that may arise from a collision.
Jerry, the web’s top insurance broker and comparison shopping app, generates competitive quotes in seconds and can provide the right insurance for any person being added to a car title.
For everything you need to know about adding a person to a car title, read on.
- Find your current title
- If you own the car
- If a lien holder owns the car
- Transfer of title form
- Update registration
- Inform your insurer of the change
Find your current title
The first step in adding a name to a car title is to find the current title. Keep in mind, the process is a bit different if a lien holder owns the vehicle, which will be discussed below.
If you are the registered owner, locate your current title. If you can’t find it, or if your dog ate it (no judgment), contact your state DMV and they’ll issue you a replacement.
If you own the car
Here’s what to do. Sign the title on the seller line. You are not technically selling your car — the act of adding a person to a car title is identical to what you would do if you were selling the car to yourself and that additional person, be they a spouse or partner.
Essentially, you are “selling” the car to yourself and whomever is being added to the title.
Add names to the buyer section
On the buyer’s section, add your name and whomever is being added to the title. If the title says person 1 AND person 2, both you and your transferee must sign. If the title says person 1 OR person 2, then only the vehicle owner must sign.
Make sure you choose the right conjunction, as some states differentiate between “and” or “or” between the names of multiple people on a car title.
In some states, “and” requires both parties to sign off on any matter related to the title. In states with “or” between the names, this means either person can be responsible for matters related to the title.
Adding an additional name to a car title is similar to the process of transferring a title when selling a car. Except when you add a person to a car title, you are “selling” the car yourself and that additional person, be they a spouse or partner.
If a lien holder owns the car
If you drive a car owned by a lien holder, that simply means they own more of the car than you do. If you want to add a person to a title of a lien holder-owned vehicle, the process is different, but similar.
Let the lien holder know you want to add an additional person to the title. The lien holder must apply for this change, and will provide a letter, along with the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), stating their intent to add an additional person to the title.
Transfer of title form
Obtain a transfer of title form from the DMV. Complete the form, with your information and the person being added to the title, and submit it to the DMV.
A transfer fee is required, but the amount differs slightly by state.
Some states allow a vehicle owner to add an additional driver to their registration, while others require separate registrations for each driver. Check with the DMV in your state to be sure.
Inform your insurer of the change
Let your insurance company know about the person being added to the car’s title. Provide the insurer with a copy of the new title for their records.
Your new title should arrive in a few weeks!
Frequently asked questions
If I don’t own the car, how do I add another person to the title?
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, but this is routine.
Does a new driver added to a car’s title need to be registered separately?
It depends. Some states require each driver on 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.
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