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If you are the owner of a car, there may come a time when you want to give it to a member of your family. For example, maybe your son or daughter just got their license and you’d like to pass down the family car for them to use. Unfortunately, if you want them to be the legal owner of the car, you can’t just toss them the keys. There is some paperwork to fill out and other things to consider before they are the official owner. Here’s what you need to know:
What is a Car Title & Things Points to Remember for Title Transfer
The car’s title is the legal document that certifies who is the owner of the car. The title will display important information about the vehicle along with the name of the owner. All the information on the title needs to be 100% correct for the document to be legal. When you buy a car or give a car to another member of your family, the car title needs to transfer for it to be official. Here are the things you need to do to have the car title transferred to your family member.
Make Sure the Car is Yours
Before you transfer over the title, you should ensure that the car is, in fact, yours. This doesn’t mean you may have stolen the car. Rather, if you financed the car from a dealership and you still owe some payments on it, they are the actual owners of the vehicle. You cannot transfer over the title of a vehicle to someone in your family until the car is completely owned by you.
If you want to transfer over the title now, you’ll need to make the remainder of the payments on the vehicle. In some cases, you may be able to transfer over the remainder of the payments to your family member, but you will need to talk to your dealer about this. More often than not, you will need to make the payments yourself. To get around this you can have your family member pay you first, then you can make the payment to the dealership or bank yourself.
Fill Out the Paperwork
Once you are sure that you are the legal owner of the vehicle, and there are no more payments due on it, you can begin filling out the paperwork for a transfer. On your title, you will see a place where both the seller and buyer have to fill out some information. In this case, you should fill out the seller information, and the family member you are transferring should fill out the buyer information. Make sure you know how many miles are on the car at the time of transfer and write the word “gift” where it asks for a price.
Handle the Insurance Coverage
The next thing you’ll want to think about is the insurance for the car. When you transfer a car over to someone else, it’s important that the car still has insurance coverage. If you are giving the car to a son or daughter, this may be a matter of simply adding them to your policy. If you’re giving the car to another adult, you will both need to work with your insurance providers to transfer the car over to the new driver.
Some insurance providers allow you to do this online, but if not you can do it over the phone. Both parties should have information about the car – such as the car’s VIN, make/model, and mileage – on hand when talking with their insurance provider.
Head to the DMV
After you have completed signing the title, both you and your family member should head to your local DMV. You will need the completed title, proof of insurance, identification, the car’s registration card and some money to pay the associated fees. If you want to avoid heavy wait times, you should look to go during the week and not during either the first or last week of the month. After submitting all the necessary paperwork and documentation, the DMV will handle the rest. They will issue the new owner a temporary registration and mail out an official one within the coming days.
Other Things to Consider
If you do all the above, the car will successfully be in the hands of your family member. There are a few other minor things you may want to consider through this process, however. To start, your family member should think about getting an extended warranty. Since many transferred cars are on the older side, it’s a good idea to have some additional protection. Look for extended warranties that match the specific model of the car – for instance, find a Ford extended warranty quote if you are transferring over a Ford.
Finally, take the car to a mechanic before transferring anything. You don’t want to give your family member a car, only for it to break down a week later. A thorough inspection by a good mechanic is a great thing to do before giving the car to anyone else.