What is the Title of a Car?

Every Car Has a Title
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The title of a car is a legal document providing proof of ownership of a vehicle. You will need the title of a car for different situations. A title contains important information about your car. All the information on a title needs to be 100% accurate.

Details Included on a Certificate of Title

  • Vehicle Identification Number: A unique 17 letter and number identification number also know as a VIN is given to all vehicles. It is most commonly located on a car title, car insurance declarations page, proof of car insurance, a vehicle registration card, bill of sale, car loan paperwork and on the vehicle itself. The vehicle is usually labeled on the driver's side door view-able when the door is open and in the dash when looking into the car when standing outside.
  • Year, Make, and Model of the Car
  • Body Style of the Vehicle
  • Title Number
  • Date the Title was Issued
  • Odometer: The odometer reading is important. It is another way of verifying the car came into possession. Being able to verify possession is important just in case a crime is committed before you owned the vehicle or after you sell it.
  • Vehicle Weight Class: Weight class corresponds to how much it costs to register a vehicle annually. The higher the weight class, the more expensive the cost of registration.
  • Full name and Address of Owner: This maybe more than one person.
  • Lender's Name and Address: It is possible to have multiple lenders listed on a vehicle. The lender will be listed as First Secured Party or Second Secured Party. Each lender will have their name and address listed along with a Signature of Agent Line and Date area to be used when the loan is paid off.
  • Title Assignment Section: There are two sections to the Title Assignment. One is to be completed by the seller and the other one is to be completed by the buyer.
    1. Sellers: Input the names of the purchaser(s), purchaser(s) address, date of sale, selling price, odometer reading, type of odometer dreading, signature of the seller, printed name of the seller, and the seller's address.
    2. Buyer: Signature of the purchaser(s), printed name of the purchase(s), and a space for the new lenders name and address
    1. Important Info About the Title Assignment: You only get one shot at filling out this information. Mistakes are not allowed. You will not be able to scratch off, erase, or use white out to fix mistakes. Most commonly the seller puts his or her name and address into the purchaser's slot, essentially selling the car to themselves. You will need to request a duplicate title and or provide a bill of sale along with a notorized document verifying the sale from the seller depending on which state you reside.
    • A Very Important Notice to Sellers: The notice states "Sellers must keep a receipt or photocopy of the reassigned title for their records for 18 months or accompany the purchaser to a Secretary of State Office". What does it mean and why is it important? Knowing the person buying your vehicle actually put the vehicle in their name is what it means. If you cannot personally witness the transaction, you need to have proof you sold the vehicle. Get the purchaser(s) to fill out their portion of the title assignment. Next, fill out the seller's portion of the title assignment. Finally, make a copy and don't lose it. This is for your own protection.

    For example, you sell your car to someone you connected with online.

    He pays you in cash, you sign the title, and he leaves. Everyone seems happy. However six months later, you get a phone call about your vehicle being impounded after a serious drinking and driver accident.The vehicle was driven into several parked cars and you are listed as the owner. How is it possible, you sold the vehicle six months ago? It is because the buyer never legally put the vehicle in his name. Maybe he didn't want to pay the taxes, or maybe he has a revoked driver's license, it really does not matter the reason. Usually, things can be worked out to where you are not held liable. Having a copy of the signed title on hand would clear it up a whole lot faster. Potentially, you could be at risk of being responsible for the driver's actions since you are the current owner of the vehicle.

    Do I Need My Title To Get Car Insurance

    Most insurance carriers will not require the title to be shown in order to get a car insurance policy. It does have helpful information on it to speed up the insurance process. Getting quick access to the VIN and lender information on a title can certainly come in handy when getting a quote or making a car insurance change.