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How To Do a New Jersey Title Transfer

Live in New Jersey or thinking of moving there? If you’re considering buying a car, selling a car, or moving to the state, you’ll need to do a New Jersey title transfer. Doing so can make sure your documents are up-to-date and officially change ownership of the vehicle. Whatever your situation may be, we go over how to transfer a car title in New Jersey. 

How to Transfer a Car Title in New Jersey | Metromile

What do you need for a New Jersey title transfer?

When a vehicle changes hands or if you move to a new state, you need an updated title. To do a New Jersey title transfer, you’ll need:

  • The original title, signed by the buyer and seller
  • A bill of sale (that includes mileage, date of sale, and price)
  • If buying a vehicle, you must submit a Vehicle Registration Application (Form BA-49) and go to your local New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJ MVC) office. 

Does New Jersey require a vehicle inspection for emissions?

In general, the state of New Jersey requires that vehicles get an inspection for emissions every two years. New vehicles get a bit more time and need an inspection after five years. Some notable exceptions are electric vehicles, motorcycles, gas-powered cars from 1995 and before that are 8,500 pounds or less, and more. Find a list of exceptions here. You can find out where to get an inspection and more info at NJInspections.com. New Jersey is a CARB state that has adopted stricter emission requirements. 

How to transfer a car title in New Jersey 

If a vehicle goes from one owner to another, there is a change in ownership, and the vehicle title needs to be transferred. Depending on where you’re in that equation, the process can be different. Here’s how to transfer a car title in New Jersey in various situations. 

Purchasing a vehicle from a dealer

If you purchase a vehicle from a dealer, the good news is they’ll likely take care of the title and registration for you. 

Purchasing a vehicle from a private seller

If you purchased a used vehicle from a private seller, you’ll need:

When you have all the documents ready, go to a local NJ MVC office to complete the New Jersey MVC transfer title process. You must do this within 10 days of the car purchase to avoid a $25 late fee. 

Selling a vehicle 

If you sell a vehicle in New Jersey, you need to complete and sign the car title and give it to the buyer. Include a bill of sale that has the date the vehicle was sold, sale price, mileage reading, plus the buyer’s information including full name and address. 

Remove your license plates before giving the vehicle to the buyer. The plates must be surrendered to the NJ MVC or transferred to another vehicle. The buyer then needs to complete the New Jersey title transfer on their own to make it official. 

If you’re missing a New Jersey title 

If you are selling your vehicle and realize you can’t find your vehicle title, you’ll need to apply for a replacement title. To do so, you need to make an appointment at your local NJ MVC office and fill out the Universal Title Application (form OS/SS-UTA). You’ll need to provide proof of insurance and registration and pay a $60 fee. 

Transferring a car title if you’re from out-of-state 

Moving to New Jersey from out-of-state? Then you need to update your vehicle title and registration. You typically have 60 days to do so from the time of your move and up to 120 days in a public health emergency like COVID. To do a New Jersey title transfer as a new resident from out-of-state, you’ll need:

Make an appointment at your local NJ MVC office to transfer your title and get your documents up to date as a new resident. 

New Jersey title transfer cost 

Completing the New Jersey MVC transfer title process requires gathering and submitting documents. The cost to transfer a vehicle title in New Jersey is $60 for a standard vehicle. If the vehicle has a lien, the cost is $85. If there are two liens on the vehicle, the cost to transfer the title is $110. 

Gifting a vehicle to family 

If you no longer need a car or are upgrading to a new vehicle, you may gift your old car to a family member. In this case, the process is similar to selling a vehicle. You and the family member must complete the title and bill of sale and fill out all relevant information. 

Instead of putting a price, you can put “zero” or “gift” so that it’s clear the transfer is a gift. The family member receiving the gift will need to complete the New Jersey MVC transfer title process and pay any applicable fees and taxes. 

Transferring vehicle title after the owner passes away 

If the vehicle owner passes away and you’re an heir to the vehicle, you’ll need the original title, death certificate, and Affidavit (Form BA-62) that is notarized. You can use the vehicle for up to 30 days after the owner’s death, but after that, the title transfer must occur. 

Going through an estate 

If the vehicle is part of an estate, you must apply for an Entity Identification Number, and bring that number as well as your driver’s license, original title, and ​​the Surrogate’s Short Certificate, plus proof of New Jersey insurance and pay the $60 title transfer fee to update the title. 

When there’s no will 

If there’s no will, the process on how to handle the vehicle may vary. If you’re a surviving spouse or partner and the estate is $50,000 or less, you’ll need the original title, Affidavit of Surviving Spouse/Domestic Partner/Civil Union Partner, death certificate, and MVC Affidavit (Form BA-62). 

If there are no surviving partners but there is an heir and the estate is worth $20,000 or less, you can bring the title and Affidavit of Next of Kin to transfer the title in your name. Fees and taxes may apply. 

The bottom line 

If you’re in one of the above situations now you know how to transfer a car title in New Jersey. Taking the appropriate steps and acting quickly can help you get your documents up-to-date and avoid any late fees. If you’re in need of car insurance and don’t drive a ton, check out pay-per-mile car insurance. You may save money by driving less and paying less. Get your free quote now.


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How To Transfer a Car Title in Pennsylvania

Now might be a good time to sell your vehicle, given the rise in gas prices and the hot used car market. Whether you’re selling your car, buying a new one, or getting one as a gift, a title transfer must occur whenever there’s a change in ownership. In this guide, we cover how to transfer a car title in Pennsylvania. 

What is needed to do a Pennsylvania title transfer? 

To do a Pennsylvania title transfer, buyers and sellers will need to meet and exchange documents. In general, you’ll need:

  • A vehicle title (or other “proof of ownership” documents such as Manufacturer Certificate of Origin, out-of-state title, or court order) 
  • Application for Certificate of Title (Form MV-1)
  • Mileage 
  • Pennsylvania driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance 

What you need can vary based on whether you’re the party that is buying or selling, which we’ll go over below.

What is the Pennsylvania title transfer fee? 

According to PennDot, it costs $58 to do a Pennsylvania title transfer. The fee is the same whether getting an original title, duplicate title, or at a registered dealer. If there’s a lien on the vehicle, the cost will be $86. 

Does Pennsylvania have emission inspection requirements? 

The state of Pennsylvania requires an emission inspection plus a safety inspection once a year for most vehicles. The type of test may vary by county and the type of vehicle you have. 

For example, according to the DriveClean Pennsylvania FAQ sheet, the requirements in Philadelphia are as follows: 

  • Vehicles from 1996 and newer will need an OBD I/M check as well as a gas cap test each year
  • Vehicles from 1975 to 1995 will have emissions testing each year and will include: 
    • Tailpipe Tests
    • Tailpipe Tests Utilizing a Dynamometer
    • Gas Cap Tests and 
    • Visual AntiTampering Checks.

You can find emission information based on your region below, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT):

Pennsylvania has adopted California’s stricter emission requirements and is a CARB state

How to transfer a car title in Pennsylvania 

The process for transferring a car title in Pennsylvania can depend on the situation. Below are common instances where a title transfer will need to happen and what you need to do. 

Buying a car from a dealer 

Got a new set of wheels in PA from a dealer? The good news is that in this instance, the dealer will take care of the title paperwork for you. They’re responsible for sending the title application to PennDot. 

Buying a car from a private seller 

You might buy a used car from a private seller. In that case, you’ll need:

  • The Pennsylvania Certificate of Title (a paper one is required) 
  • Vehicle Sales and Use Tax Return/Application for Registration (Form MV-4ST)
  • PA driver’s license
  • Proof of insurance 

These documents must be processed by a PennDOT agent or an authorized Bureau of Motor Vehicle staff member to complete this process.  If the emission inspection isn’t up-to-date, as the buyer, you must get an inspection within 10 days of purchasing the vehicle. 

Selling a car 

When selling a car in Pennsylvania, you’ll need a paper title. That means if your title is held electronically, you need to get a paper copy before completing the title transfer process. 

You must sign the title and also handprint your full name and have it notarized. Write down the mileage on the vehicle. Then, take your documents and visit an authorized PennDOT agent who will verify your identity and require proof of ID. 

When the Pennsylvania title transfer is complete, remove the license plates and either transfer them to a new vehicle or send them to:

PennDOT at Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Return Tag Unit

 P.O. Box 68597

Harrisburg, PA 17106-8597

If the vehicle title is missing 

In order to sell a vehicle, you need a Pennsylvania car title. If you lost it, you need to apply for a duplicate title using Form MV-38O and pay $58. Check “Lost/Destroyed” and submit the document plus check or money order to:

PA Department of Transportation 

Bureau of Motor Vehicles 

P.O. Box 68593 Harrisburg, PA 17106-8593 

Transferring an out-of-state title 

Are you new to Pennsylvania and have an out-of-state title? Once you establish residency in the state, you’ll have 20 days to get a Pennsylvania car title and registration. To do this, you must have:

  • A Pennsylvania driver’s license (so get that first!) 
  • Your out-of-state title 
  • Application for Certificate of Title
  • Pennsylvania car insurance
  • VIN
  • Applicable fees 

As with other situations, to get a Pennsylvania car title you need to see an authorized PennDOT agent. Find a location near you here. 

A gifted vehicle 

There are times you might decide to give your old car to your son or daughter or a sibling in need. In that case, the process is similar to selling your vehicle. 

Each party will need to complete the vehicle title and the seller’s signature needs to be notarized. Since it’s a gift, you can list the price as zero or put “gift.” The recipient must submit a title application and pay any applicable fees. Both parties must fill out an Affidavit of Gift (Form MV-13ST)

Vehicle owner passes away 

What happens to a car when the vehicle owner passes away? It depends on if there is a will or not and whether it needs to go to probate, which means through court, to divide up the estate. 

If there’s a will and no probate 

If you have a will and are the heir to the vehicle, you may be able to avoid probate and get the vehicle by providing:

  • The will 
  • The title 
  • Form MV-39
  • Form MV-4ST, which aren’t available online and need to be filled out by an authorized agent  
  • Death certificate 
  • Any applicable fees 

If there’s a joint owner such as a spouse, an executor to the estate, or no will, find out further directions on how to proceed here. 

The bottom line 

When you move to Pennsylvania or buy or sell a car there, you need to get an updated Pennsylvania car title. In many of these cases, it’s not a simple task of doing it online but must be done with the assistance of PennDOT agents to assist you. 

So make sure you leave extra time to prepare. Figuring out how to transfer a car title in Pennsylvania and getting the documents ready is stressful enough. If you recently moved or are considering a change, now is a good time to switch car insurance carriers. For drivers who don’t get behind the wheel that often, pay-per-mile car insurance may help you with additional savings. Pay for insurance based on the miles you drive, so you get a fair rate that makes sense. Get a free quote

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Transfer Car Ownership in Oregon

Oregon is a nature lover’s dream and many adventures are possible within a short distance via car. Whether you need to buy a new set of wheels or want to sell yours and opt for public transportation, there must be an official Oregon DMV title transfer. In this guide, learn how to transfer a car title in Oregon. 

How to Transfer a Car Title in Oregon | Metromile

What is required to do a title transfer in Oregon? 

When doing a title transfer in Oregon, you’ll need to prepare various documents for the Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services (DMV). You’ll need:

Having these documents handy can help you figure out how to transfer car ownership in Oregon and make it a smooth process.

Does Oregon require emission testing? 

The state of Oregon requires emission testing for some vehicles in the Portland and Medford areas. In Portland, all vehicles from 1975 and later powered by gas (including hybrids) must take an emission test. Oregon is a CARB state and has stricter emission requirements than non-CARB states. 

In Medford, vehicles that run on gas and hybrids that are up to 20 years old or less must take an emissions test. 

Some notable exceptions are electric vehicles, motorcycles, vehicles outside the Portland and Medford areas, plus newer vehicles from 2019 and later. 

How to do a title transfer in Oregon 

When a vehicle goes from one owner to another via buying or selling or gifting a vehicle, or even moving to Oregon, an Oregon DMV title transfer needs to happen. This ensures the transfer of ownership and that all documents are up-to-date. Below are some common scenarios when you’ll need to do a title transfer. 

Buying from a dealership 

When you buy a vehicle from a dealership, they’ll typically take care of the title and registration for you. If you do it yourself, you must submit:

  • An Application for Title and Registration
  • A Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • An odometer disclosure
  • Bill of sale
  • A lien release (if you have a lien on the vehicle, your lender or lienholder will likely need to submit documents on your behalf) 
  • Title fee, which can vary 

You can choose to make a DMV appointment or mail the documents to:

DMV Services 

1905 Lana Ave NE 

Salem, OR 97314

Buying from an individual 

If you purchase a vehicle from an individual, they need to sign the Oregon title and give it to you. The buyer and the seller must also complete the bill of sale. Within 30 days, submit an Application for Title and Registration to officially transfer ownership.

For vehicles that are from 2011 and less than 20 years old, an odometer disclosure will need to be provided. Vehicles from 2010 or before are exempt. If applicable, provide a lien release as well. You may also need to do an emission test based on the type of vehicle and pay the required title and registration fees, which may vary. You can make an Oregon DMV appointment or mail the documents to complete the process. The address is:

DMV Services 

1905 Lana Ave NE 

Salem, OR 97314

If you go the appointment route, fill out the bottom part of Form 6775 to see if a late fee will be tacked on. If you complete the process within 30 days, you’re good. After that, you may pay a $25 late fee for days 31 to 60 and up to $50 on days 61 and beyond. 

Selling a vehicle 

As a seller, you want to take the appropriate steps and learn how to transfer car ownership in Oregon. The buyer is responsible for most of the paperwork when it comes to doing an Oregon DMV title transfer, but as the seller, you need to provide a few documents including:

You must report the sale within 10 days either online or by filling out the Notice of Sale or Transfer of A Vehicle and mailing to:

DMV 

1905 Lana Ave NE 

Salem, OR 97314 

Missing a title? 

To sell a vehicle in Oregon, you need to transfer the title. If you’ve lost or misplaced the original vehicle title, complete the ​​Application for Replacement / Duplicate Title form and submit it to the Oregon DMV and pay any applicable fees, which may vary. 

Title transfer in Oregon as a new resident from out-of-state 

If you’re a new resident in Oregon and have an out-of-state title, you need to get a new title and registration in Oregon. You’ll need:

To finalize the process, you’ll need to get Oregon license plates. 

Title transfer in Oregon if the owner has passed away 

If the owner of the vehicle has passed away and there is a family member to inherit the vehicle, in Oregon you need to transfer the title to the new owner. This can vary depending on whether there was a will and if it needs to go through probate or not. 

Without probate 

If not going through probate, you’ll need:

With probate 

If there is a court process to deal with the estate, you’ll need:

  • The original vehicle title, if you have it 
  • An Application for Title and Registration
  • Copies of court documents such as Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration
  • Odometer disclosure, if applicable
  • Release of the bill of sale from an estate representative
  • Any previous bills of sale from the prior owner(s) (not the deceased)
  • Lien release, if applicable
  • Title fee

In both cases, you can make an Oregon DMV appointment or mail documents to: 

DMV Services 

1905 Lana Ave NE 

Salem, OR 97314

Gifting vehicle to family 

Sometimes cars can change hands within the family. But the Oregon transfer title process still needs to happen. If you gift a vehicle to a family member, you need the current title signed and hand it over to the family member to transfer ownership. 

Get a bill of sale as well and mark the sale price as zero. Notify the DMV of the sale and the family member will need to take steps to transfer the title, as outlined in the buying a vehicle from an individual section. 

Cost of Oregon DMV title transfer 

The cost of an Oregon DMV title transfer can vary based on the type of vehicle you have. There is a fee calculator you can use, but in general, you can expect the cost to be between $101 and $192. Here is the breakdown of fees, according to the Oregon DMV website:

Vehicle year is 1999 or older​$101
​Vehicle year 2000 or newer, has 0-19 Combined MPG​$101
​Vehicle year 2000 or newer, has 20-39 Combined MPG​$106
​Vehicle year 2000 or newer, has 40+ Combined MPG​$116
​Electric Vehicle​$192

The bottom line 

If you decide to buy or sell a car in Oregon, or move to the state, learn how to transfer car ownership in Oregon. You want to make things official and avoid any trouble or late fees. Based on your situation, follow the steps above to complete the Oregon transfer title process and check the Oregon DMV’s website for current information. If you need to update your insurance during this time and don’t drive that much, consider pay-per-mile insurance where you pay based on how much you drive. Get a quote with Metromile today


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Transfer Car Ownership in Illinois

Do you live in Chicago and think of selling your car and taking public transportation instead? Or live in the ‘burbs of Illinois and need a new car to get around? Whenever there’s a change in vehicle ownership, there needs to be an Illinois car title transfer. In this guide, find out how to transfer car ownership in Illinois. 

How to Transfer Car Title in Illinois | Metromile

What is required for an Illinois car title transfer? 

As part of doing a title transfer in Illinois, you’ll need the original vehicle title. The buyer and the seller of the vehicle must sign the title. Include a bill of sale, and an Odometer Disclosure Statement. Buyers will need to complete the Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190) and Tax Form RUT-50 must be completed as well as part of vehicle sales among private parties. 

Is emission testing required in Illinois? 

In Illinois, vehicles that run on gas and are from 1996 and later may require an emission test after the vehicles are four years old. This emissions test must be done before registration is updated. You can use this Vehicle Eligibility Check tool and find testing locations here. If you’re selling a vehicle, make sure everything is up-to-date. If you’re buying, you can ask about the emission test status. 

How to transfer car ownership in Illinois 

In order for a vehicle to switch owners, there needs to be a title transfer in Illinois. The steps to do this can vary by situation. Below are several situations where you’ll need to transfer a title in Illinois. 

Selling your car in Illinois 

When you sell your vehicle, you’re changing ownership and need to do a title transfer in Illinois. You must have your title to sign and complete and give to the buyer. Additionally, provide a bill of sale, with the final price and date and an odometer disclosure. To finalize the process, fill out and submit a Seller’s Report of Sale and mail it to:

Secretary of State 

Vehicle Services Department 

Record Inquiry Division 

501 S. Second St., Rm. 408 

Springfield, IL 62756

Remove your license plates before handing over the keys. 

If there’s a missing title 

Your vehicle title illustrates that you’re the rightful owner. If you don’t have the title, you need to get a new one before selling your car. Submit an Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190) and check “duplicate title” and pay $50. 

Buying a car from a dealership 

If you end up buying a vehicle in Illinois at a dealership, the dealer will likely handle the title and paperwork on your behalf. Paperwork for your title, taxes, etc. must be sent to the Secretary of State (SOS) within 20 days. 

Buying a vehicle from an individual 

If you buy a car from another individual, make sure you have the vehicle title and both you and the seller sign it. Make sure the VIN is included, plus the mileage on the odometer. 

Once you have the title completed, signed, and dated, you can use the Electronic Registration and Title (ERT) System to fill out an Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190). You may need to pay taxes on the vehicle and submit Form RUT-50. Take all associated materials and mail them to:

Secretary of State

Vehicle Services Department

ERT Section, Rm. 424

If Expedited Title, Rm. 629

501 S. Second St.

Springfield, IL. 62756

You have a 20-day period of time to submit the documents and transfer the title in your name. 

Title transfer in Illinois if you have an out-of-state title 

Are you a new Illinois resident? If so, you have 30 days to get an Illinois title and register your car in the state once residency has been established. To do an Illinois car title transfer with an out-of-state title, you’ll need:

  • An Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD-190) 
  • Illinois address 
  • Mileage from odometer 
  • A description of the vehicle, including the year, make and model
  • List of any lienholders, if applicable
  • Owner’s signature
  • Form RUT-25 and pay any applicable taxes 

If the vehicle is leased, you’ll also need:

  • Lease agreement
  • The original out-of-state registration
  • The current out-of-state title
  • The Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO)
  • Bill of sale 

You can submit these documents at a local Secretary of State office or mail them to:

Office of the Secretary of State 

Vehicle Services Department 

014 Howlett Building 

501 S. Second St. 

Springfield, IL 62756-6666 

Title transfer if gifting a car to a family member 

Want to give your old car to your son or daughter or sibling? It’s possible to gift your vehicle to a family member but the car title transfer process remains the same. 

You need to sign the title and give it to your family member. The family member then needs to submit an Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD 190) within 20 days to get the title in their name and must file Form RUT-50 and pay any applicable taxes. 

Transferring a title after the death of an owner 

If the owner of the vehicle passes away, the vehicle may be passed down to an heir. What happens can depend on whether the estate goes through the probate process or not. 

Probate

If going through probate, you’ll need:

  • The car title
  • Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD-190) with mileage
  • Certified copies of either the letters of administration or testamentary, which name the representative 
  • Form RUT-50 and any applicable taxes
  • Title fee of $155 

Without probate 

If you avoid the probate process and the estate is less than $100,000 it’s possible to go through the Small Estate Affidavit Procedure. For this, you’ll need:

  • The Small Estate Affidavit 
  • The car title 
  • Copy of the death certificate
  • Application for Vehicle Transaction(s) (VSD-190) with mileage
  • Form RUT-50 and any applicable taxes
  • Title fee of $155

If your situation falls outside these two scenarios, you can learn more about what to do here. 

Illinois car title transfer cost 

To get a new title in Illinois the current cost is $155 for a title. A replacement is $50. On top of that, registration fees are $151 for a passenger vehicle. 

The bottom line

Regardless of your situation, if a vehicle is going from one owner to another, you need to figure out how to transfer car ownership in Illinois. Follow the steps above for your situation to complete the title transfer in Illinois and make sure to file paperwork quickly and pay taxes to avoid any issues. Be sure to check the Illinois Secretary of State website for current information at the time of the transfer.

If you need to update your insurance, review if you have enough coverage or if you could find something more cost-effective. Don’t drive that often? Pay-per-mile insurance could be just what you need. Pay less when you drive less. Grab a quote using Metromile today. 


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

Your Guide to Washington State Vehicle Title Transfers

Thinking of taking advantage of the hot car market and selling your car? Or perhaps you need a new ride because your car is on its last legs? Regardless of buying or selling, a title transfer must happen to officially mark a change in ownership. Read on to learn more about how to transfer a car title in Washington state and what to do in various situations.

How to Transfer a Car Title in Washington State | Metromile

What is needed for a title transfer in WA?

What’s required for a title transfer in WA will depend on whether you’re buying or selling — there are nuances in the process based on the situation (more on that later). But in general, you’ll need:

Does Washington require emission testing? 

According to the Department of Ecology in Washington, the program was phased out on January 1, 2020, after a 38-year run.

Instead, with The Clean Car Law, Washington state has adopted California’s strict emission standards and vehicles from 2009 and later must be CARB-compliant. If not, it won’t be possible to register the vehicle in the state. 

If you’re buying a used vehicle from 2009 and later, it must meet the required emission standards. Buyers must know this important fact before buying a car from a private individual or dealership. 

Vehicles from 2008 or earlier and cars purchased by a nonresident who later became a WA resident are two of the notable exceptions. 

How to transfer a car title in Washington state

As noted above, there are some different processes when it comes to doing a Washington state vehicle title transfer based on the situation. Here are some common situations and how to transfer a car title in Washington state. 

Buying from a dealership 

If you buy a vehicle from a dealership in Washington, they’ll take care of the title transfer process for you. All you need is your current driver’s license. The dealership should complete the Washington state vehicle title transfer process within 45 days. 

Buying from an individual 

If you bought a car on the private market from an individual, you’ll need to transfer ownership within a 15-day period to avoid penalties (from $50 up to $125). You’ll need the current title from the previous owner and to fill out a Vehicle Title Application. If the car is from 2011 or later, fill out the odometer disclosure. 

Here’s the important part: the title application must be signed in the presence of a notary public or a qualified licensing agent from a local office. 

You and the seller must also complete a Bill of Sale. Bring the Bill of Sale, title, title application, and payment to a local office. The office can determine how much you may pay in fees. 

It can take between 8 to 10 weeks to receive your title. If you need to expedite the process, you can pay $85.50 for the title and fees and go to a Quick Title Office. To finalize the process, you’ll need to get new license plates. 

Selling a vehicle 

If selling a vehicle, you need to complete a title transfer in WA to make the change in ownership official. As part of that, make sure you have a valid title. 

Fill out the Bill of Sale and include the VIN, license plate number, sale price, and buyer info. Remove your license plates before handing over the car. Finally, submit a Vehicle Report of Sale form within 5 days and pay $13.25. 

Missing vehicle title 

If you have lost the vehicle title, you’ll need to get a replacement to transfer ownership. You can do that by filling out and submitting an Affidavit of Loss/Release of Interest that is signed and notarized. To get it within 8 to 10 weeks, you’ll pay $35.50. If you need it ASAP, pay $85.50 and go to a Quick Title Office to get one immediately. 

Title transfer in WA as a new resident with an out-of-state title 

If you move to Washington, you’ll need to update your license, title, and registration. Get a new Washington driver’s license within 30 days of your move. 

Gather your current title and fill out and submit a Vehicle Title Application to a local office. If you go into the office, you can sign it in front of an agent. If mailing, it must be notarized. 

Have a lien on your vehicle? Your lender must send over a copy of the title to the licensing office and when the vehicle is paid off you can get a Washington title. 

If your vehicle is from 2011 or later, you’ll need to fill out the Odometer Disclosure on the title. Vehicles from 2010 and before are exempt. If the car is from 2009 or later, it must meet certain emission standards. 

If you’ve owned your car from another state for less than 90 days, you’ll need to provide a Bill of Sale. The last steps are to pay fees determined by the licensing office and get new license plates. 

If the car owner has passed away 

If the owner of the vehicle passes away and you inherit the vehicle, you’ll need to fill out a Vehicle Title Application within 15 days. 

Without probate 

If the process avoids probate and the estate has a value less than $100,000, submit a death certificate and Affidavit of Inheritance/Litigation

With probate 

If it is part of probate or other legal or court actions, then you must fill out the same form plus a letter of administration or testamentary.

Giving the car to a family member 

As you change cars, you may hand down your old vehicle to a family member who could use it. You must complete a Bill of Sale and put the sale price as zero since it’s a gift. 

Sign and hand over the title and submit a Vehicle Report of Sale to finalize the process and pay $13.25 according to the Washington State Licensing Department. Gifting a car is one of the exemptions that don’t require removing license plates. 

The recipient of the vehicle will need to take steps to transfer ownership within 15 days and can follow the steps in buying a vehicle from an individual section. 

Washington state vehicle title transfer cost

Getting a new title in Washington will cost you $35.50 and will take approximately 8 to 10 weeks. If you can’t wait that long, the cost will be $85.50 to get a title ASAP. 

The bottom line 

The process for how to transfer a car title in Washington state can vary a bit based on your unique situation. Follow the steps above to make sure you take the appropriate steps to complete a Washington state vehicle title transfer and check the Department of Licensing website for current information. When updating your title, it might be a good time to shop around for new car insurance as well. If you’re a low-mileage driver, making the switch to pay-per-mile car insurance could be more affordable. Pay based on the miles you drive and save, because if you drive less, you should pay less. Grab a free quote with Metromile


Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

A California Gas Rebate Could Offer $400 for Drivers

Living in California can mean sunny days, the beach, the forest, arts, culture, and entertainment all at your fingertips and within a short drive. But it comes at a cost. Rents are notoriously high as are the taxes. In fact, it has the highest sales tax, highest gas tax, and highest top rate on personal income tax, according to CalTax.org. If you’re a Cali resident, you know the gas prices are staggering right now. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), as of March 28th, gas in the state cost $5.76 per gallon. The U.S. average for the same period is $4.23. If you’ve been wondering, “Why is gas so expensive in California?!” read on to learn more and about a potential California gas rebate. 

A California Gas Rebate May Help Drivers | Metromile

Why is gas so expensive in California? 

Gas is so expensive in California for a number of reasons. As noted above, one of the reasons is having the highest gas tax in the U.S. Currently, the California gas tax is 51.5 cents per gallon

This gas tax was set to rise in July and there were talks about pausing the hike for a six-month period. However, the bill proposing this idea was ignored twice — and then passed but replaced with a different measure, according to CalMatters.org

The new measure would tax gas suppliers and offer a rebate to drivers thanks to the tax revenue. 

Aside from the gas tax being so high, there are also environmental differences that play into it. The state of California has strict emission standards. Because of that, making the gas to meet the standards set is more costly. Additionally, it comes down to basic supply and demand. 

According to the EIA:

“California gasoline prices are generally higher and more variable than prices in other states because relatively few supply sources offer California’s unique blend of gasoline outside of the state. California’s reformulated gasoline program is more stringent than the federal government’s program. In addition to the higher cost of this cleaner fuel, state taxes on gasoline in California are higher than they are in most states.”

So between high gas taxes, environmental factors, supply and demand, California gas prices remain high. 

A potential California gas rebate is in the works

On March 23rd, California Governor Gavin Newsom released details about a proposal for a gas rebate that would put money back into the hands of drivers. This would help drivers offset the high cost of gas in the state. 

According to the press release on the matter, the proposal would offer a $400 California gas rebate as a direct payment to drivers. The rebate would have a limit of two vehicles, so technically a family could receive up to $800. 

The press release states:

“The tax refund will take the form of $400 debit cards for registered vehicle owners, and individuals will be eligible to receive up to two payments. An average California driver spends approximately $300 in gasoline excise tax over a year. The proposal provides up to two $400 rebates per vehicle, for owners to support families with more than one vehicle in use.” 

What makes the California gas rebate beneficial to everyone is that eligibility is based on vehicle registration, instead of income or tax records. There is no income cap on eligibility. This is just a proposal as of now and would need to be passed. 

Another proposal came from Senate President Pro Tempore (meaning for the time being) Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Their proposal wouldn’t be universal for Californians and would offer a $200 California gas rebate to people earning less than $125,000, according to news site KRON4. Married couples earning less than $250,000 could get up to $400 plus an additional $200 for each dependent. 

When will the California gas rebate go into effect? 

California gas prices are high now and seem to rise every day. So if you’re looking for relief ASAP, you might still have to wait a bit. 

These are still just proposals for now. On Newsom’s end, the release notes that he’ll be meeting with the legislature to iron out details of the proposal. The release states that once the proposal is approved by the legislature, payments could arrive in July. 

The bottom line 

If you’ve wondered why gas is so expensive in California, there are various reasons from taxes to supply and demand. Given these high-cost times and rising inflation, there may be a California gas rebate in the works to help lessen the sting of gas prices. In the meantime, you can save by driving less. If that’s possible for you, look into pay-per-mile insurance coverage. You’re used to paying for gas by the gallon, so it makes sense to pay for car insurance based on the miles you drive. Get a free quote with Metromile today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

What You Need to Know About Doing An Arizona Title Transfer

Are you considering buying or selling a car in Arizona? There’s one major document that can help in both cases: the car title. A vehicle title states who has ownership of the vehicle — and when a car is either bought or sold, there’s a transfer in ownership and there needs to be a title transfer. If you live in Arizona, here’s your guide on how to transfer a title in Arizona. 

How to Transfer a Car Title in Arizona | Metromile

What is required for an Arizona title transfer? 

As part of transferring ownership of a vehicle, a title transfer needs to happen to get everything up-to-date. To do a title transfer in AZ, you need the following, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (AZ MVD):

  • Title and Registration Applicationwhich includes VIN, make, year, model, odometer reading
  • Vehicle title signed and notarized (that last part is important!)
  • A lien release, if the car was financed, and only if applicable
  • Payment of all potential transfer and registration fees
  • Any other relevant documents that may be required (such as power of attorney)  

These are items you need to complete the Arizona title transfer process, but there may be some differences depending on which role you have in the situation (e.g. buyer or seller). 

Getting a title if you buy a vehicle from a dealership 

If you purchased a new vehicle in Arizona, the dealership may take the title and registration off your hands and do it for you if you pay a fee. 

You may also decide to take this on yourself and can do so by filling out the Title and Registration Application. At the top of the application, you can check “Title and Registration.” You have a 15-day window to do this before a penalty fee may be tacked on. 

Arizona is unique because the state now offers titles to be stored electronically. In other words, don’t expect a paper one. You can view the car title by creating an AZ MVD Now account. 

According to the AZ MVD, there is a:

  • $4 title fee
  • $8 registration fee
  • $1.50 air quality research fee
  • A vehicle license tax (VLT) that depends on the vehicle  

If you end up moving out of Arizona and need a paper title instead of an electronic one, it’s possible to get one for $4 through your AZ MVD Now account. 

Arizona title transfer if you buy a car on the private market 

Bought a vehicle in Arizona on the private market? The good news is that figuring out how to transfer titles in Arizona is simple thanks to their eTitle Transfer program. 

Through this program, it’s possible to do the transaction online, if certain conditions are met. For example, this is only available for private sales between individuals and only for passenger vehicles. There also must be no lien on the vehicle. Check out eligibility requirements here and learn more about the process. 

You can expect to pay the same title and registration fees (such as the $4 title fee, $8 registration fee, $1.50 air quality research fee, and any vehicle license tax) as you would with a dealership with a private market sale. Review this buyer’s checklist to make sure you’ve got everything covered. 

How to transfer title in Arizona if selling your car 

Selling your car in Arizona means parting ways with your title as part of transferring ownership. You’ll need to sign your paper title and get it notarized. Hand over the completed title plus a lien release, if applicable. 

If you’re eligible, you may be able to do the eTitle Transfer online, so you can avoid making a visit to your local MVD office. Provide an odometer reading if your vehicle is from 2011 or after (vehicles from 2010 and before are exempt). 

After completing the Arizona title transfer process, make sure you remove your license plates and keep them with you. You can contact the MVD office to put them on a new vehicle or to do away with them. You also have a 30-day period to request a registration credit refund as well. 

To finalize the sale, submit a Sold Notice that lets the AZ MVD know you’ve transferred ownership, so you’re no longer liable for the vehicle. 

If you don’t have a car title in Arizona 

If you want to do an Arizona title transfer and realize you don’t have your title, you need to get a duplicate one. To transfer the title, fill out the Title and Registration Application and mark “Duplicate.” After getting the duplicate, then you can sign and notarize the title and give it to the new owner. 

Transferring a title if the owner has passed away 

If the vehicle owner has passed away and you inherit the vehicle and don’t need to go through probate, you can fill out the Non-Probate Affidavit. You must fill in the owner’s name, date of death, and information regarding the vehicle. You must wait 30 days after the owner’s passing, and the value of the estate must not exceed $75,000. After filling out this document and providing any additional paperwork, you can pay any relevant fees for a title transfer in AZ. 

Title transfer in AZ among family members 

Want to give your old car to a family member? The process is similar. Simply sign and notarize the vehicle title and give it to your family member. You may also be able to complete the Arizona title transfer process online. 

If there was a lien on the car, provide a lien release as well. The family member must take steps to register the vehicle and pay any associated fees and have car insurance coverage

Out-of-state title transfer in AZ 

Whether you purchased a car with an out-of-state title or you recently moved to Arizona from somewhere else, you need to update your vehicle’s title and registration. To do so, you must:

You want to complete this process ASAP after moving to Arizona to make sure all your paperwork is in order. 

The bottom line 

If you need to figure out how to transfer a car title in Arizona, you can take the above steps based on your situation. Whether buying or selling or moving, take the necessary steps to do a title transfer in Arizona to make sure your records are up-to-date. If you need new insurance or want to check out different options, consider pay-per-mile coverage if you don’t drive that often. You could save money and pay based on how many miles you drive rather than a flat rate. Grab your free quote. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How to Save Money On Gas (Hint: It Involves Your Metromile App)

Owning a car is expensive. Between car maintenance, insurance costs, gas, and countless parking tickets (Just us? Oh, okay), it all adds up – quickly. But you know what also adds up quickly? Savings. Here at Metromile, we’re all about saving money on your most expensive, money-wasting bills *ahem traditional car insurance ahem*. Every day we strive to bring you savings on your car insurance, and today we’re giving you our best tips on saving money at the pump.

Spoiler alert: we’re also letting you in on the best ways to utilize your Metromile app to save on gas.

How to Save Money On Gas

  1. Turn off the engine. If you’re picking someone up, turn off the engine while you wait for them. The same thing goes if you’re stuck in traffic and haven’t moved in a few minutes, or you’re waiting at a drive-thru. You’d be surprised at how far you can stretch a tank of gas just by being cognizant of how long you’re idling the engine. Idling is both a major waste of gasoline and a top contributor to pollution in the atmosphere. By turning your engine off, it’s a win-win for both your wallet and the environment!
  2. Use the Metromile app to track your routes. If there’s a particular route you drive daily or weekly, check out your past trips in the Metromile app to see if there’s a faster or more efficient route to take. Even if it’s only by a little bit, every mile counts – and a mile saved is a mile earned!
  3. Figure out the best way to pay. Many gas stations advertise a cheaper price per gallon if you pay with cash. This is because it costs the station less to process a cash transaction and they want to encourage more people to pay with cash instead of cards. Depending on how much gas you’re getting, you may end up saving a few dollars per fill-up if you pay with ca$h money!
  4. Don’t drive aggressively. Aggressive driving (rapid acceleration, high cruising speed, and braking sharply rather than coasting) is by far the biggest culprit in gas-guzzling. Using a sedan, an SUV, and a truck, a test showed that motorists who adopted a “calm,” non-aggressive driving style could save 33% to 38% on gas. That’s a huge cost savings!
  5. Use your smartphone. Using apps like GasBuddy and Gas Guru, you are able to find the cheapest gas in your area. You can also use the Maps app on your smartphone to check the traffic before you leave the house to avoid wasting gas while idling in traffic. Also, you can use the Metromile app to track and optimize your trips!
  6. Drive less. If you’re a Metromile customer, chances are that you’re already a low-mileage driver. If you haven’t joined yet, consider reducing your miles driven for one month by taking public transportation and embracing driving alternatives like electric bikes and scooters when possible. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save on gas by simply filling up less often!

Hopefully, our tips will help save you some coin next time you’re filling up at the pump! To all our customers: if you haven’t downloaded the Metromile app, you’re missing out on some seriously awesome gas-saving opportunities! If you’re a low-mileage driver who hasn’t made the switch yet – what are you waiting for? Grab a quote from us anytime, because it’s always free. Be safe out there and see you on the roads.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram

How to Make the Most Out of Car Depreciation?

Whether you’re thinking of buying your dream car or just something to get around or thinking of selling your vehicle, there’s an important concept all car owners should be aware of — car depreciation.

How to Use Car Depreciation to Your Advantage | Metromile

What is car depreciation? 

When you buy something of value at a certain price, it may not be worth that amount of money in the future. Not everything you buy is an “investment” that goes up in value. That’s certainly true with vehicles. 
Car depreciation refers to the loss of value that a car experiences over time. Vehicle depreciation happens right away — basically as soon as your wheels leave the dealership and get on the road. The car goes down in value through everyday use and normal wear and tear.  

Factors that can affect car depreciation include:

  • The vehicle make and model
  • The year the vehicle was manufactured
  • Supply and demand (consider the hot used car market we’re in now
  • The current mileage on your vehicle
  • Whether the car has been in an accident or needed significant repairs 
  • Overall condition of the car
  • How many previous owners the vehicle has had
  • The trust, safety, and reputation of the brand of car 

How to make the most out of car depreciation 

Car depreciation is practically a certainty. In other words, the value of your vehicle will go down over time (despite what we’re seeing right now with inflated used car values). There are ways to make the most out of vehicle depreciation and use it in your favor. 

If your car is a few years old and in good condition, you may be able to get a higher offer if you trade in your vehicle now than if you wait a long time. Generally, the lower the mileage and the better the condition of the car, the higher value it has. 

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you can use car depreciation in your favor and buy something just a year or two old with not a lot of miles on it. While not brand spanking new, it’s close enough and will be more affordable than a new car. First, it’s key to understand how vehicle depreciation typically works to understand why this is the case. 

How much does a car depreciate per year?

A common question is “How much does a car depreciate per year?” The answer may be more than you realize. According to Carfax, a new car loses 20% of its value in the first year. So a $40,000 vehicle after one year would be worth $32,000. 

After that plummet in the first year, the car typically loses about 15% of its value each year for the following four years. 

So in theory, if you want to buy a new-ish car, purchasing a one-year-old car could be 80% of the original new car price.

These are general benchmarks for vehicle depreciation though. How much a car depreciates depends on the many factors listed above and can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Given the “unprecedented” times we’re in now — with inflated prices everywhere and supply chain issues — the inflating value of the vehicle actually benefits current car owners. That may hurt buyers though. 

To get the most bang for your buck, consider certified pre-owned vehicles (CPOs), which must be certified by a dealer or a manufacturer. These cars must pass certain inspections and may offer additional incentives and warranties, making them a more affordable option with perks for most consumers. 

How to keep car depreciation in check 

Though car depreciation may be a fact of life, there are things you can do to keep it in check. How much your car is worth now might not matter, but if you intend to resell it later on or use it as a trade-in, you want to limit the vehicle depreciation as much as you can. Here are some things you can do:

  • Make sure your car is covered and protected. In other words, if possible, keep the vehicle in a covered garage to avoid theft, break-ins, damage from weather, and debris. 
  • Keep the car as-is. Making personal customizations to the car or painting it may be appealing to you, but not to prospective buyers. 
  • Have a regular car maintenance routine. Keeping your car in good condition can help and part of that means regular car maintenance. So keep a schedule to change your oil, check tire pressure, and be mindful of any odd smells or sounds that may impact the vehicle or signal a problem. 
  • Drive less. The fewer miles you have on your car the better. This is one effective way to curb your vehicle depreciation. It can also save you with your car insurance with pay-per-mile coverage
  • Get the most out of a private sale. Yes, you can always go to a dealership and do a trade-in. But if you want the most money for your car, a private sale may be your best bet. 

How does vehicle depreciation affect car insurance claims? 

Vehicle depreciation isn’t just something to be aware of if you’re looking to sell or do a trade-in. It also affects potential car insurance claims in the event of an accident. For example, if you total your car, the car depreciation will impact insurance claims and what you receive to replace or repair the vehicle. 
A car insurance company may use car depreciation and offer you the following as part of your policy:

  1. Actual cash value, which refers to what your vehicle is worth currently with car depreciation included. 
  2. Replacement cost, which refers to what it will cost to get an equivalent replacement car. 

Car depreciation and your policy can impact what happens and how much you get in the event of a total loss. If you financed your car, car depreciation also plays a role. 

For example, if you took out a car loan that is $30,000 but your car is currently worth $20,000 after depreciation, that can affect your car insurance payout if there’s a total loss. 

Let’s say you have $1,000 deductible and total your car. In that event, when filing a claim, your payout would be the value of your car with the deductible subtracted from it. So in this example, $20,000 minus $1,000, which is $19,000. But if your car loan is at $30,000, even with the $19,000 payout, you’d need to come up with $11,000 for the car loan. 

The bottom line 

Vehicle depreciation happens, but there are ways to make the most out of it as a consumer and ways to mitigate it to help when you’re a seller. Taking these steps can keep your car in tip-top shape and the value as good as it can be. Driving less is a key way to maintain the value, and if you do drive less, it’s possible to score additional savings through pay-per-mile insurance. You no longer need to pay a flat rate for car insurance regardless of how much you drive. Instead, you can be rewarded for driving less by paying less. Get a quote with Metromile today. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.

How To Do a California DMV Title Transfer

If a vehicle is changing hands in California, certain steps are required to transfer ownership. So whether you’re buying a car, selling a car, or receiving a hand-me-down vehicle from a family member, you need to do a California DMV title transfer to legally get the paperwork in order. Here’s how to transfer a car title in California and what you should know. 

How to Transfer a Car Title in California | Metromile

What is a car title and when do I need to transfer it? 

A car title is a legal document that proves ownership of the vehicle. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, it includes: 

  • Full name and address of the legal owner of the vehicle
  • VIN
  • The date the vehicle was registered
  • Information about the lienholder, if the vehicle is financed
  • Branded title information, such as “salvaged” 
  • Value of the vehicle 

A California DMV title transfer needs to happen in the following situations:

  • Buying a vehicle
  • Selling a vehicle
  • Inheriting a vehicle
  • Donating or gifting a vehicle
  • Car loan is paid off 

What do you need for a California title transfer?

The California transfer title process requires some paperwork and prep work. According to the DMV, you’ll need:

  • Your driver’s license
  • Your license plate number
  • VIN
  • Full name and address of the owner or the lienholder
  • Car make, model, and year
  • The purchase date and price of the vehicle 
  • The current California title (pro tip: If the title is missing, fill out Application for Replacement or Transfer of Title (REG 227))
  • Signatures of the buyer, the seller, and lienholder (if applicable) — all signatures are required to do a California DMV title transfer 
  • Odometer reading (there are some exceptions though, such as the vehicle being 10 years old or more) 
  • Pay a transfer fee, which can vary 

After compiling the paperwork, you can submit the title transfer documents and pay the fee via mail to:

DMV

PO Box 942869

Sacramento, CA 94269

It’s also possible to drop off paperwork at your local DMV and you can now do a California title transfer online here (yay, internet). It may take about a month for the DMV to review the paperwork and transfer the title. 

Is a smog certification required when transferring title in California? 

When transferring a title in California, a smog certification may be required in certain circumstances. For example, if you’re selling your vehicle a smog certification is necessary. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, a smog inspection is not required for the following vehicles: 

  • Gasoline-powered vehicle is a 1975 year model or older (This includes motorcycles and trailers.)
  • Diesel-powered vehicle is a 1997 and older year model OR with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 14,000 pounds.
  • Powered by natural gas and weighs more than 14,000 pounds. 
  • An electric vehicle.
  • Gasoline-powered and less than eight model-years old. 

If a smog inspection is required, you can find a spot to get one here. 

How to do a California title transfer

If you need to transfer a car title in California, it needs to be reported to the DMV within 10 days. As noted above, this happens anytime car ownership changes hands. 

Gather documentation

To transfer a car title in California, you need the documents listed above. Make sure you have everything filled out and ready to make the process seamless. Additionally, the CA DMV states that the following forms may be required:

Get the California Certificate of Title 

To transfer a car title in California, you need the documents listed above. The most important part is having the California Certificate of Title. If you lost the title, you can fill out and submit the Application for Replacement or Transfer of Title (REG 227). Need the title ASAP? It may be possible to get rush title processing here, however, it’s currently not an option because of health and safety concerns. 

Pay transfer fees 

As part of transferring a car title in California, there may be transfer fees tacked on to complete the process. These fees may include:

  • Registration fee
  • Transfer fee
  • Replacement title fee
  • Use tax fee, which depends on where the buyer lives
  • Potential penalty fees 

Title transfer when buying a car in California

When you purchase a vehicle at a dealership, they generally handle the title paperwork for you. As part of that process, you’ll receive the car title via mail from the CA DMV. 

If you purchase a vehicle from a private seller, they need to hand over the signed car title to prove they’re releasing ownership to you. Then, you must take the car title with the seller’s signature to your local DMV and ask them to transfer ownership. 

Title transfer when selling a car in California 

If you’re selling your vehicle in California, you need to have your title ready and signed for the buyer. 

Additionally, you’ll need to provide an odometer reading on the title or use the Vehicle/Vessel Transfer and Reassignment (REG 262) form. After that, you have a 5-day period to submit the Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (NRL) online so you’re not responsible for the vehicle anymore. 

What to do if you don’t have a California title 

If you don’t have a California title, you can apply for a replacement. If you have a lienholder release form, it also needs to be notarized. Hand that over to the buyer as part of the selling process

Title transfer in California if the owner has passed away 

If you’re the rightful heir of a vehicle after the owner has passed away, it’s possible to transfer the title 40 days after the owner’s passing without going through probate or having the court involved. According to the DMV website, this is possible if the owner’s property value doesn’t exceed $166,250. 

You’ll need to sign the title with the deceased owner’s name and sign the back. Additionally, you’ll need to provide a death certificate, odometer disclosure (if applicable), fill out and submit an Affidavit for Transfer without Probate (REG 5), and pay a transfer fee. 

Dealing with an out-of-state title 

If you moved to California, you’ll need to take your out-of-state title and register in California within 20 days of becoming a resident. As part of that process, you’ll need to fill out an Application for Title or Registration

If you purchased a vehicle from another state, you’ll need to do an out-of-state title transfer in California. You’ll also need to fill out an application for the title and have the original out-of-state title as well, with the seller’s signature on it. Find out more info about the process and what’s allowed and what’s not.

Transfer title between family 

Want to give your old car to your teenage son or another family member? Similar to the processes listed above, you need the title and have your signature and the family member’s signature to complete the California transfer title process. 

You may also need to fill out a Statement of Facts (REG 256) form, do an odometer disclosure, and pay any necessary transfer fees. 

The bottom line 

Figuring out how to transfer a car title in California can be a process and one that varies if you’re buying or selling or receiving a gift. Take the necessary steps to transfer ownership and make the California title transfer official. Transferring ownership or getting a new car is a good time to reassess your car insurance needs. Low-mileage drivers can score savings by driving less and opting for pay-per-mile insurance. Grab your free quote and learn more about Metromile. 

Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.