So, can you add someone to a car title? Yes!
The process of adding another owner to an existing vehicle title is pretty straightforward in most states.
You essentially “sell” partial ownership of the car from yourself to yourself and the other person. This transfers legal rights over the vehicle to joint ownership between both parties.
While requirements vary slightly by state, the general steps are:
- Obtain your current title
- Fill out a title transfer application
- Have new owners sign the application
- Pay title transfer fees
- Submit paperwork to your DMV
This establishes joint ownership of the vehicle title between you and whoever was added. Below, we explain the add-name-to-title process in detail, including rules for signatures, injunctions, lienholders, insurance, fees, and more, based on an analysis of top guides.
Relevant and Helpful Articles Related to This Topic:
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- How to Transfer a Car Title After Death of Owner
- How to Get a Copy of Your Car Title Fast
- Two Names On Car Title How To Remove One
Table of Contents
Why Add Another Name to Your Car Title?
Before starting the process to add a co-owner to your vehicle title, it helps to understand common motivations. There are a variety of reasons why joint ownership with someone else may be desirable:
1. Shared Vehicle Use
Married couples, partners, family members, and roommates often share a vehicle. Adding names establishes joint ownership and control over the car’s use and expenses. Both parties have equal rights.
2. Estate Planning Purposes
Some add spouses or children to simplify estate planning upon death. Joint titles allow vehicles to directly transfer to survivors and avoid probate.
3. Insurance & Liability
Two names on the title lead to both being insured drivers. This grants liability and legal coverage when operating the vehicle. In certain cases, it can lower policy costs.
4. Improve Financing Options
Occasionally joint owners with better credit scores are added to help qualify for auto loans or achieve preferable interest rates.
5. Gifting Intent
Parents sometimes include kids’ names on titles with the intent to eventually sign over full ownership as a gift. This can be risky as it grants permanent partial rights.
Key Things to Know Before Adding Someone
When adding someone to your car title, there are important considerations regarding joint ownership, conjunctions used, and lienholder approval if financed.
- Joint ownership means you both have equal rights and control over the vehicle—for example, repairs, selling, etc.
- The conjunction (and/or) impacts the rights of future decisions without the other owner’s consent.
- Lienholders must approve changes if an outstanding loan exists on the car.
Understanding these elements will ensure a smooth title transfer process at the DMV. Signing the correct areas of title applications properly conveys intended ownership rules.
What Documents You’ll Need
To add a name when applying for a new title, most states require you provide:
- Existing vehicle title
- Completed title transfer application form
- Odometer reading/disclosure
- Applicable title transfer fees
- Proof of insurance for new owner
Double check your state DMV website as some may need extra paperwork like a vehicle bill of sale, safety inspection certificate, or registration renewal. Requirements are similar to initially titling a car.
How to Fill Out the Title Application
Next, you must complete the title transfer application which adds the new owner’s name and signs over partial rights.
- Sign your name on the seller line indicating you are selling ownership to additional party.
- Print both yours and new owner’s names on the buyer’s line to become joint owners.
- Select a conjunction to join the names such as “and/or”. Rules vary by state.
- Signatures are required from current and new owners on the form during a DMV visit in most states.
Many states distinguish between “and” and “or” conjunctions when linking owners on titles:
- And – Both owners must agree to future title changes or selling the car
- Or – Either party can independently make ownership decisions later
Check local conjunction rules when transferring ownership rights to understand requirements going forward if one owner becomes unfit to consent to future vehicle transactions.
Can You Add Someone To a Car Title If They Are Not On The Loan?
Yes, it is possible to add someone to a vehicle title even if they are not listed as a borrower on the loan.
However, consent from the lienholder is still required in most states prior to updating ownership documents.
The lender technically retains rights to the car until the full loan balance is satisfied. They want to confirm any new individuals on the title can also cover the remaining debt if necessary.
Certain states classify lenders as “legal owners” while buyers are “registered owners” during the financing term. So permissions from the lienholder is commonly needed regardless.
Once paid off, the car can be freely joint titled with anyone without lender approval.
How to Submit Paperwork at the DMV
With paperwork complete, forms must be filed with your state’s DMV to obtain an updated title showing joint ownership. Standard materials to bring include:
- Signed existing title
- Completed application form
- Odometer statement
- Title transfer fees
Typical fees to add a name are $20 to $50 depending on your state. Certain situations like spouse additions may waive fees. Check state DMV for costs.
Once the DMV processes materials and verifies signatures, a new title will be mailed showing joint ownership between owners. Turnaround averages 15 business days.
Updating Car Registration & Insurance
Along with the title, naming a new owner on your existing registration or policy may also be required depending on state:
- Registration – Some states automatically update while others need separate filing
- Insurance – Inform agent and add new driver to policy as accident liability changes
Failing to update liability insurance with the additional driver’s info can risk potential gaps in coverage after accidents or other issues. Contact your provider regarding coverage.
Key Takeaways: Adding Someone to Vehicle Title
The most essential points when adding an additional owner to your car title include:
- Allows joint control over the vehicle
- Requires DMV title transfer application
- May need lienholder approval if financed
- Signature rules vary between “and/or”
- Must update insurance and registration
- Fees typically $20-$50 per title change
And that covers the overall process if you need to add someone’s name for shared ownership. Visit your state DMV website for specifics on conjunctions, forms, fees to finalize joint rights. Adding an additional owner can simplify future decisions if health conditions worsen or other ownership issues later arise.
Reach out with any other title transfer questions!