Buying a Car In Kentucky From Out Of State

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If you bought a vehicle from a dealership or private party out of state and want to register it in Kentucky, you will need to present the original title, proof of insurance, and pass a certified inspection.
Purchasing a car can be stressful enough—between payment and a new insurance policy, the paperwork can stack up quickly. Now, if that car comes from a different state than the one you reside in, the complications can grow even further.
, the
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, is here to guide you through the process and alleviate some of the stress. We’ll go over all you need to know about transferring the title, and even help you lower your
insurance payments in Kentucky
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How to buy a car out of state as an Kentucky resident

If you live in Kentucky but bought a car from out of state, we’re sure you’ve got questions. That’s why we’re going to help you navigate registering the vehicle, where to pay taxes, and the correct process to transfer the title to Kentucky.
Like anything else, titling your new out-of-state car in Kentucky is going to cost you a few extra bucks. The title application fee will run you $9, while there is a plate fee of $25. Additionally, a lien release fee of $22 is issued if the lien is filed within 30 days of the title lien statement, and an extra $2 is tacked on if it is filed after the 30 day window.
The first form you should fill out is the
Application for Kentucky Certificate of Title or Registration
, which must be signed and notarized. In addition, you will need to present the following to the Kentucky DMV within 15 days of your car purchase in order to title and register it:
  • Original title or Certificate of Origin
  • Odometer disclosure
  • Photo ID
  • Social Security number, Driver’s License number, or Federal Identification number
  • Certified vehicle inspection
If you’d like to mail in your application, you can do so by sending it to your local
County Clerk's office
The next form you will need to fill out is the
Affidavit of Total Consideration Given For a Motor Vehicle
to determine the usage tax. All cars registered in Kentucky will pay a tax of 6% of either the current National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) retail value, or the car’s sales price. 

How to buy a car in Kentucky if you live out of state

Now on the flip side, what if you live out of state but buy a car in Kentucky? The process remains fairly similar, but can vary based on where you will have it registered. In most cases, you will need to: 
  • Obtain a valid bill of sale for the vehicle purchase (check to see if your state requires it to be notarized)
  • Bring the bill of sale, ID, proof of insurance, proof of residency, and any other required documents to your local DMV 
  • Complete your state’s vehicle registration 
Depending on your state of residency, you may need to also pay a local sales tax or the difference between the sales tax in Kentucky and the state you register the car. 

What if I don’t have a physical title?

Kentucky requires a hard copy of your car’s title or Certificate of Origin if it was bought from another state. Some states have made electronic titles the standard, so if you purchased a car in one of these states, you will need to request a physical copy of the original title from the DMV in order to register it in Kentucky.

Tips for buying a vehicle out of state

Despite the additional hurdles to jump, purchasing a car from another state has its benefits—like more reasonable pricing and availability. Here are some tips in mind if you decide crossing state lines to purchase your next ride is the move for you:
  • Check the vehicle history report. This is incredibly important if you’re considering buying a used car from a private owner. Resources like
    make it easy to see the rundown of previous accidents or past issues.
  • Have your car inspected at home. An inspection at the state of purchase will only be a waste of money as the car needs to pass a certified inspection in your state of residency. You can learn more about Kentucky car inspection requirements here.
  • Research your state’s vehicle sales tax laws. You will pay taxes based on your home state, not the state you purchased the car.
  • Insure the car before leaving the dealership. If you are going to drive the car back home, don’t hit the road without insurance! Even if your other paperwork is still being processed, you’ll need insurance that meets the
    minimum Kentucky requirements
MORE: Kentucky Electric Vehicle Incentives

How to save on car insurance in Kentucky

Buying a car from out-of-state unfortunately calls for a lot of paperwork. If you enjoy drowning in forms, you can shop for your new
car insurance
policy the old-fashioned way—but if you’d prefer the digital simplicity of your smartphone, you’ll want to check out
A top-rated licensed broker, Jerry was designed to find you the best rates for your needs and budget. Simply enter your information into the app, and Jerry will compare policies from the most popular providers so you never overspend again. Always watching your back, Jerry will even shop around as you approach renewal, and can help cancel your existing policy.
No paperwork, no phone calls with agents—just savings. Jerry customers save an average of over $800 per year on insurance payments!
was helpful every step of the way. They saved me over $100 a month for insurance in Kentucky.” —Jim F.
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