Can you transfer a car title without insurance?
February 2, 2023
We can all agree that whether you’re buying or selling a car, you want that experience to be as hassle-free as possible, especially when it comes to a title transfer.
A title transfer is one of the final steps of selling a car, but there are plenty of questions that can come up in the process. How do I transfer a title if I haven’t paid for the car completely? Where does my title go? And, do I need car insurance to transfer a title?
Although not always required to have to transfer a title—depending on your state—car insurance is always something you should have in the event of selling or purchasing a new ride.
Do you need proof of insurance to transfer title?
Most states don’t require you to have proof of insurance to transfer a car title. But every state is different, so it’s a good idea to check with your local laws and regulations.
While your state may have relaxed rules around insurance requirements, your lender or leasing company may not. If you are leasing or financing, you may be required to provide proof of insurance at the time of a title transfer to the lender or dealership.
When do you need car insurance? When you get the title in your name and register the vehicle, in most states you will be required to provide proof of insurance because you’re now responsible for that vehicle.
How to transfer a car title
Transferring a car title doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. Depending on if you’re buying or selling a car, the process can look a little different. Here are some of the specifics for each scenario—buyer versus seller—of how to transfer a car title.
If you are the seller
As the seller it’s important to know how to effectively transfer ownership of your vehicle to someone else. Here is some helpful guidance from our HiRoad team:
Tip 1: Selling to a private buyer
If you are transferring a title in a private sale, if possible meet with the buyer at a DMV or office that handles titles to complete the transfer. Until that vehicle is registered in the buyer’s name, that vehicle is still considered yours and you are responsible for it. This is a good way to help ensure that the transfer goes smoothly.
If you still are paying for your vehicle on a loan, your lender holds the vehicle title and owns it. You’ll want to contact them about the process of transferring a title.
Tip 2: Bring necessary paperwork
Something that can make the title process go even smoother is to have all the paperwork ready to go.. As the seller, here are documents you’ll want to have handy:
The vehicle’s current odometer reading
- The vehicle identification number (VIN)
The bill of sale stating the purchase price
Your driver’s license
Proof that the vehicle is in the new owner’s name
Proof of insurance (possibly)
These are some of the documents that will help the title transfer go as smoothly as possible to get your vehicle sold and its keys into the hands of its new owner.
If you are the buyer
It takes two to get that new ride you’ve been waiting for to be finally yours. As the buyer you have certain responsibilities to make sure the title transfer process goes smoothly. Here are some helpful suggestions to make that happen:
Verify the VIN
Make sure the person who’s selling you the car is on the title
Know what the deadline is to transfer a title in your state
Have your photo ID with you
Bring the completed and signed title
Make sure you have the lien release (if necessary)
Be prepared to pay the title and registration fees
Above all, have your car insurance information. In many cases, you’ll be required to show proof of car insurance when you register a new vehicle in your name.
Closing thoughts on title transfers
Transferring a title successfully calls for celebration. The process can feel a little complicated, maybe even overwhelming. But one thing that can set you up for success is asking questions to your local DMV and car insurance to understand what is and isn’t required in your state to make a title transfer happen.
At HiRoad, we want our customers in Arizona and Rhode Island to also have that same title transfer success. So whether it’s one question or ten, we’re happy to be there— call, chat or email us.The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with HiRoad®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. HiRoad is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. HiRoad makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. HiRoad does not provide tax or legal advice.
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