How to Transfer a Car Title in Indiana

Like all other states in the country, Indiana requires that vehicle owners have a title to the car in their name. When a car is bought, sold, or otherwise changes ownership (through gifting or inheritance, for instance), the title needs to be transferred to the new owner in order for it to be legally owned. There are several crucial things that you should know about how to transfer a car title in Indiana.

What buyers need to know

For buyers, the process isn’t complicated, but there are some specific steps that need to be completed.

  • Make sure that the seller completes the fields on the back of the title before giving it to you. It should include the price, your name as the buyer, the odometer reading, the seller’s signature and the date on which the car was sold.
  • Make sure that if there is a lien on the car, the seller provides you with a lien release.
  • Complete an Application for Certificate of Title.
  • If the seller does not provide the odometer reading on the title, you’ll need an Odometer Disclosure Statement.
  • You need proof of residence in Indiana (your driver’s license, for instance).
  • You’ll need to have your car inspected, and provide proof of it.
  • You’ll need to pay the titling fee, which is $15. If the title was lost and a new one is needed, it will cost $8. If you fail to title the car in your name within 31 days, it will cost you $21.50.
  • Take your documents, the title and the fee payments to your local BMV office.

Common mistakes

  • Not getting a lien release from the seller
  • Not making sure the seller completes all the required fields on the back of the title

What sellers need to know

Sellers need to complete a few basic steps to ensure that the title can be transferred to the new owner. These include:

  • Make sure to complete all the required fields on the back of the title, including the odometer reading.
  • Make sure to sign the back of the title.
  • Make sure to include the required information about the buyer.
  • Make sure to remove your license plates from the car. These stay with you and do not transfer to the new owner.

Common mistakes

  • Not removing your license plates before selling the vehicle
  • Not completing the back of the title
  • Not providing the buyer with a lien release if the title is not clear

Gifting and inheriting cars

If you’re gifting a car or receiving one as a gift, the process is exactly the same as outlined above. If you’re inheriting a car, things are a little different. The state actually requires that you contact the BMV directly for full instructions on the process.

For more information about how to transfer a car title in Indiana, visit the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles website.


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