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  • State Regulations in Indiana

    Registering a car?

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    There are a lot of things to consider when buying a new car. As a way to help you with this exciting but sometimes overwhelming process, the state has put together a buying guide to assist you with the process.

    The guide covers a number of areas, including:

    • How to do research on a new car
    • Common terms
    • Trade-ins
    • Financing options
    • Service contracts

    There is also a handy worksheet available for you to fill out and take to the dealer to help with those tricky price negotiations.

    Two points are emphasized in the guide: the importance of being prepared, and also of taking your time. Buying a new car is an important―and expensive―proposition, so you want to do everything you can beforehand to help insure that you'll be happy with your decision for years to come.

    Registration and Titling

    Whether you're buying a new or used vehicle from a dealer or an individual, there are some pesky little matters that will need to be addressed. Namely, having your car registered and titled.

    Luckily for you, we have registration and title guides available to walk you through the process. You might also want to check out our license plate section. The state also provides registration and title sections for your benefit.

    Buying From a Dealer or an Individual

    When you purchase a car from a dealership, the dealer will take care of all the paperwork, including collecting sales tax, titling and registering your vehicle, and collecting registration fees. When you buy from an individual, you'll have to take care of this yourself.

    First, the seller should sign the title, then give it to you. When you go to the license branch to transfer the title into your name and register the car, take this title with you, as well as a bill of sale from the seller or a receipt for your purchase, showing how much you paid for it. Also bring proof of your insurance for the vehicle and verification of your Social Security number.

    If the seller cannot produce the title, the seller will need to get a replacement title at a license agency before completing the sale. Don't buy a car that doesn't have a title.

    The seller isn't required to show the vehicle registration to you at the time of the sale, but seeing that document might give you peace of mind that the tags are legitimate and that the vehicle has passed recent emissions tests.

    The license branch will collect a 6% sales tax from you, based on the purchase price of the vehicle. You will also pay a fee to transfer the title.

    You can register your vehicle when you title it, or do it later. However, you will have to have it legally registered in order to operate it on Indiana public highways. You'll pay a $21.05 registration fee, plus excise tax and, depending on your county, a surtax or wheel tax.

    Note: You must title the vehicle within 31 days of the purchase date.

    Selling a Vehicle to an Individual

    When you sell your used vehicle to an individual, instead of to a dealership, first create a bill of sale for your buyer. The bill of sale acts as a receipt and proof of the sale. Give the buyer a copy and keep a copy for yourself. Both of you should sign it.

    You must also sign the vehicle title over to the buyer so that he or she can title and register the vehicle in his or her own name. When you sell the vehicle, you do not have to return the license plate or your registration card to BMV.

    If you don't have the title, you'll need to get a duplicate title by going to a license agency, bringing proper identification (such as your driver's license), and paying the $8 replacement fee.

    You aren't required to show the vehicle registration at the time of the sale, but doing so might help facilitate the sale. For example, the buyer might be able to see that the tags are legitimate and that the vehicle has passed recent emissions tests.