How To Transfer a Car Title in Alabama
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You must go through a title transfer process to transfer vehicle ownership in Alabama. This can be done personally at your local county license plate issuing office or, in certain situations, online via the Alabama Title System (ALTS).
Completing the sale transaction for a vehicle depends on successfully transferring the title to the new owner. Such a transfer must be made before the sale is deemed fully executed.
This typically involves completing paperwork, paying a nominal fee, and bringing the vehicle to your county's license plate issuing office.
Let’s discuss all you need to know about successfully transferring your car title in Alabama.
Table of Contents
- How To Transfer Car Title in Alabama
- How To Register a Car in Alabama
- Alabama Bill of Sale
- Required Car Insurance in Alabama
- Gifting a Car in Alabama
- How To Transfer Car Title in Alabama After a Lease Buyout
- How To Transfer Car Title in Alabama If the Owner Is Deceased
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
How To Transfer Car Title in Alabama
Transferring a car title in Alabama is relatively straightforward, requiring only a few steps.
Whether you are selling, buying a car, gifting it to someone, or transferring the title for an inherited car, the process remains broadly consistent.
This involves the physical transfer of ownership, requiring the current owner to sign the title to the new owner, with all necessary fields completed.
The car seller will sign over the title to the buyer, while the gift-giver will be the one to sign over the title.
This involves the seller's completed bill of sale once the title has been signed and transferred to the new owner.
A bill of sale is sufficient for cars over 35 years old to register the vehicle in the new owner's name, with no title required.
Each county in Alabama has unique requirements for a bill of sale structure, and confirming these requirements with them is vital.
This requires the submission of the signed-over title and the completed bill of sale to the county licensing office and payment of applicable fees.
In addition to the $15 title application fee and $15 title duplication fee, the state also requires a $1.50 processing fee. Be aware that county licensing offices may charge additional fees, so it is essential to inquire beforehand.
How To Register a Car in Alabama
To legally drive your car in Alabama, you must transfer the title and register your vehicle. Your vehicle registration proves legal ownership and enables you to drive on Alabama roads.
To initiate the registration process of your vehicle, it is imperative to present your automobile at the license plate issuing office closest to you, accompanied by the following documents:
- Certificate of title.
- Proof of insurance.
- Ownership documents like a bill of sale.
Alabama drivers must renew their vehicle registration annually, and some counties offer online renewal services. Your renewal month will be assigned based on the first letter of your last name.
The base registration fee for Alabama vehicles is $23, but the actual cost will depend on your vehicle type and other factors.
Large trucks, for instance, may have more expensive registration fees, and certain vehicles require additional annual fees.
Alabama Bill of Sale
A legal instrument known as a bill of sale is an essential requirement for the transfer of ownership of a vehicle. The bill of sale serves as a confirmation of the sale, which the seller can retain.
If you transfer the title without a bill of sale when selling your car, you will not have any official record that you are no longer the vehicle owner. Here are some essential elements that must be included in a bill of sale:
- Your complete name and notarized signature.
- The complete name and notarized signature of the other party.
- The agreed-upon price of the vehicle sale.
- A vehicle description.
- A disclaimer that the car is being sold "as-is" without any warranty.
- The transaction date.
If you are worried about ensuring all the necessary information on a bill of sale, use a template. A listing platform service provider can assist you in generating a legal bill of sale that conforms to Alabama law and protects you when you sell your vehicle.
Required Car Insurance in Alabama
Alabama mandates that all drivers have insurance coverage. To effectuate a title transfer, you must verify insurance that satisfies each individual's minimum specifications of $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage.
You must also provide insurance verification of $50,000 per accident and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage for each individual.
You need another verification of $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident for underinsured/uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
However, you have the option to go beyond the minimum coverage requirements. Alabama law permits you to increase your insurance coverage and add additional features to your policy.
For instance, comprehensive and collision insurance can help cover vehicle repair expenses.
Towing insurance and other valuable features can provide peace of mind during an emergency.
Gifting a Car in Alabama
In Alabama, it is permissible to give a car as a gift. To transfer the vehicle's title, you must follow the same process if sold between private parties.
You will assume the role of the seller as the donor, and the recipient will become the buyer.
The transfer process may require you to present a notarized bill of sale or a vehicle gift affidavit (Form MV IRP-15). The Alabama vehicle bill of sale must include the following information:
- The buyer’s and seller's full names and residential or office addresses (P.O. Boxes are not accepted). The dealer's license name must be included if the vehicle seller is a dealer.
- Date of sale.
- A detailed description of the vehicle, including:
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Body type.
- Series number.
- The car odometer reading at the time of sale.
- A notarized signature of the seller or an authorized representative.
How To Transfer Car Title in Alabama After a Lease Buyout
If you purchase a vehicle from a leasing company in Alabama, the vehicle's title must be transferred into your name.
You can sell the vehicle or transfer the title to another person. Transferring the vehicle's title can be done by mail or at your local MVD agency.
To transfer the vehicle's title by mail in Alabama, you need to follow these steps:
- Complete a vehicle registration/Title application (Form MVT 20-1) or application for a title.
- Provide proof of identity (valid AL driver's license, non-driver ID card, permit). The ID must be current.
- Provide the vehicle's Alabama state title or other valid proof of ownership of the vehicle (The vehicle's title must disclose the buyer's and seller's information. The leasing company and the buyer must provide their addresses, dates of transfer, and signatures)
- Provide proof of sales tax payment.
- If the car is more than a decade old, provide an odometer and damage disclosure statement (Form MVT 5-5).
- Submit payment for the Alabama title fee of $20.
After gathering all the required documents and payment, mail them to the MVD agency in your area. Processing times may vary, and you should allow time for the transfer of the title to be completed.
How To Transfer Car Title in Alabama If the Owner Is Deceased
If a vehicle owner passes away in Alabama and the beneficiaries choose to keep the vehicle, the vehicle title must be transferred to them.
Alternatively, the vehicle can be gifted to a family member or sold to a private party. Joint owners and beneficiaries have the legal right to transfer the vehicle's title. Determining whether the car is part of a probated estate and if it will be used is essential.
If the car is part of a probated estate, the following steps are necessary:
- Contact the Probate Court and an attorney.
- Gather the necessary documents to transfer the vehicle's title.
- Schedule a visit to the title office.
Transferring the vehicle's title can only occur once the probate is complete. The estate administrator should promptly contact an attorney or Probate Court to proceed with the vehicle title transfer.
The required documents to transfer a vehicle's title in Alabama include the following:
- An order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle.
- A valid certificate of the vehicle's title.
- An odometer disclosure statement (Form MVT 5-5).
- The death certificate of the individual.
- The transfer fee.
Only the administrator of the deceased individual's estate or the beneficiary of the vehicle can initiate a vehicle title transfer.
Valid copies of the above documentation should be submitted to start the Alabama vehicle title transfer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who transfers the car title after a vehicle owner passes away?
The executor of the deceased individual's estate or the beneficiary of the vehicle is responsible for initiating the vehicle title transfer.
What documents are required to transfer a car title in Alabama?
Some required documents include a valid certificate of the vehicle's title, an order from the Probate Court to transfer the vehicle, an odometer disclosure statement (Form MVT 5-5), and the individual's death certificate.
How much does it cost to transfer a car title in Alabama?
The transfer fee in Alabama is $15.
Can the new owner of a vehicle complete the title transfer process online?
No, the new owner must complete the title transfer process in person at an Alabama title office.
How long does it take to complete the car title transfer process in Alabama?
After submitting the required documents, receiving the new title typically takes two to three weeks.
Can a vehicle title be transferred to a family member as a gift?
Yes, a vehicle title can be gifted to a family member in Alabama. However, the gift recipient must still complete the title transfer process and pay the necessary fees.