How to Transfer a Car Title in Indiana

by Robert Moore

The state of Indiana won’t charge you much for titling your vehicle – a mere $15, at the time of publication. But, If you’re looking to put your car on the road right away, you’ll have to cough up another $21.35 to register and plate it. Granted, the fee’s aren’t that bad, but there are a few things you need to bring with you. Show up unprepared and you’ll find yourself standing in line more than once. If you’ve just moved to Indiana, you have up to 60 days to title your vehicle -- 30 more than you get if you’re an established Hoosier.

Back to the Basics

Indiana has a short list of things you need to bring with you to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, but it is an important list, so be prepared. The following are the basic requirements for completing a title transfer:

You will be asked to fill out the application for certification of title when you get to the counter at the BMV. Inspect the current title before you go to the BMV. If it doesn’t include a place to write in your car’s current mileage, you must bring a state-specific odometer disclosure statement that is endorsed by yourself and the previous owner. The last basic requirement is that you prove you are a resident of Indiana. If you’re a current resident, you can simply provide your state-issued driver's license. If you’re new to the state, you must bring your birth certificate, Social Security card and two utility bills that include your name and new address. You’ll also apply for an Indiana driver's license at the same time if you haven’t already.

Sales Tax

As with every purchase, you’ll have to pony up some dough to the tune of 7 percent. If you purchased your vehicle from an Indiana dealer and chose to title the vehicle yourself, then you’ve already paid sales tax. The dealer should have supplied you with a completed Certificate of Gross Retail or Use Tax Paid form that you’ll need to bring with you. If you purchased your vehicle privately, then expect to pay the 7 percent sales tax when you apply for the title transfer. If you purchased your vehicle in another state, and paid sales tax in that state, you will receive credit for taxes paid at the time of titling. If that state has a lower sales tax percentage, you'll be asked to pay the difference when you transfer the title in Indiana.

Vehicle Inspection

The State of Indiana does require you have your car inspected prior to titling if you have a manufacturer’s certificate of origin or an out-of-state title. The inspection isn’t nearly as bad as some of the horror stories you may have heard about in other states. The inspection is nothing more than a VIN verification. Your car’s VIN will be run through the NCIC database to make sure it isn’t stolen or created by a chop shop operation. The serial or identification numbers on most of the major components like the engine and transmission will also be documented. You can have the inspection completed by any Indiana BMV licensing branch, a BMV certified partner dealership or any Indiana police officer. If you choose to have the inspection done before you go to the BMV, you’ll receive a completed inspection form that you must bring with you when you’re ready to transfer your car’s title. There is no charge for inspections at the BMV or a dealer, but police officers are allowed to charge you up to $5 dollars for a vehicle inspection, at the time of publication.

Lien Processing on Vehicles Titled in Other States

If your vehicle is currently titled in any other state, and has a lien filed against it, you’ll have to visit your local BMV branch and file a Request for Out of State Title To Perfect a Lien form. This form allows the BMV to request the current title from the lien holder. Once the BMV receives the current title, you’ll be notified to return to complete the title transfer process. When the title is processed, it will be mailed back to the lien holder.

Items you will need

About the Author

Robert Moore started writing professionally in 2002. His career started has head writer and Web designer for VFW post 1224 in Hamburg, Michigan. He has prepared business plans, proposals and grant requests. Moore is a state of Michigan-certified mechanic and is pursuing an Associate of Arts in automotive technology from Lansing Community College.