Paperwork When Buying a Car in West Virginia
Paperwork Required to Buy a Car in West Virginia
When buying a car in West Virginia, you must get paperwork from the seller. If you buy from a vehicle dealer, the paperwork will be handled for you. If you buy from a private seller, the responsibility is yours.
Be sure the seller gives you the vehicle title and a notarized bill of sale. You’ll also need a vehicle inspection and car insurance.
Once you have all the required documents, you’ll be able to title and register the car with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT).
When you buy a car in West Virginia, be sure to obtain required documents from the seller. Make sure that the seller provides you with:
- The vehicle title, including:
- Your signature AND the seller’s signature.
- Odometer disclosure, if the car is less than 10 years old.
- A notarized Bill of Sale (Form DMV-7-TR) UNLESS the purchase price is 50% or more of the current NADA Clean Loan Book value.
You’ll also need:
- A valid vehicle inspection sticker.
- Cars without valid stickers must be inspected within 10 days of purchase.
- Car insurance.
- You’ll be required to verify insurance coverage when you register the car.
Buying from a Car Dealer
If you're buying from a car dealer, you'll find that the dealer can handle all procedures and paperwork for you, as well as collect all applicable registration and title fees.
To title a leased vehicle, or to transfer the ownership if you buy your leased vehicle, use the Application for Certificate of Title for Leased Motor Vehicle (Form DMV-1L).
Buying Without a Vehicle Title
The WVDOT warns against buying a vehicle if the seller can't produce the title. Without the previous title, you won't be able to get a new title in your name and register the car.
If the seller can't find the title, suggest that they obtain a duplicate title.
To title and register your car at your local WVDOT office, you will need:
- The completed vehicle certificate of title that:
- Is signed by you and the seller.
- Includes an odometer disclosure, if the car is less than 10 years old.
- A notarized Bill of Sale (Form DMV-7-TR), if the purchase price is less than 50% of the current NADA Clean Loan Book value.
- A completed Application for Certificate of Title for a Motor Vehicle (Form DMV-1-TR).
- An Owner's Statement of Insurance (Form WV-4A).
- Proof of passing vehicle inspection.
- Your WV driver’s license.
- Payment for fees and taxes:
- Title fee: $10.
- Registration fee: $30. Fees are higher for personalized plates and some vehicle types.
- Sales tax: 5% of the sale price OR $25 if the car was bought for less than $500.
Once your paperwork is submitted and your fees are paid, you will be issued new license plates. You CANNOT transfer your old license plates to the new car.
For more information, see our page Register a Car in West Virginia.
A vehicle history report is comprised of information about a car based on its vehicle identification number (VIN).
The report provides critical information about a car, such as an accurate odometer reading, damage history, and accident history.
Obtaining this report can help you avoid problem cars and misleading sellers.
To be covered by the West Virginia lemon law, you must be the owner of the vehicle and use it for personal transportation only.
The vehicle must have a defect that impairs the use or market value of the car to be covered under this law.
If your car has problems and you are covered, you must first contact the manufacturer so they can repair the damages.
For more information, see our Lemon Law in West Virginia page.