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How To Transfer a Car Title in Florida

A title certificate is a document that establishes ownership of a vehicle. The transfer of title is one of the most important steps in buying or selling a used car, in Florida or in any other state.

Quick links:

What is the Florida title transfer process?

How do I correctly fill out the title transfer form?

Finalize ownership transfer with Florida FLHSMV

Is a bill of sale required in Florida?

Florida license plates

Registration fees

A title transfer needs to be done correctly, and in private car sales, you need to pay special attention to the details. Our title transfer guide explains everything you need to know about transferring a vehicle title in Florida.

Florida Vehicle Title Transfer Process

A Florida car title transfer has two stages.

  1. The two parties (buyer and seller) meet in person. The buyer pays the seller. Both fill out and sign the physical certificate of title. The buyer is the legal owner of the car from this point forward.
  2. The buyer finalizes the title transfer process with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) office. At the same time, the buyer registers the vehicle and applies for a new license plate.

The first step (meeting between seller and buyer) is the most important. The second step is merely a formality.

  • When you sign over ownership of the car to the buyer as the seller, you will formalize the entire transaction. You'll remove the license plate and be done with the vehicle.
  • As the buyer in a private car sale, you become the legal owner of the car as soon as the seller transfers the title to your name. You’ll finalize with FLHSMV to get title and registration in your name. You’ll also get a new Florida license plate and auto insurance. If you don’t have car insurance, get a quick quote here.

Sign a Florida Title Correctly

When signing the Florida vehicle title, always keep the following in mind.

  • Mistakes make the document invalid.
  • Do not erase anything or use white-out.
  • Only use black or blue ink. Any other color will void the title.
  • Write neatly.
  • Only use legal birth names.

Front of The Title

The back of the title has sections for the seller (red), the buyer (teal), and the leadholder (green). Here is the process for filling out the front of a Florida title.

Finalize Ownership Transfer with Florida FLHSMV

You’ve done the deal and are the proud owner of a new-to-you vehicle. Your work is not yet done. There are still steps you need to take to finalize the title transfer with the state of Florida. You also need to acquire a new license plate and register the car with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles's office

You will need to submit the following to your local Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) office:

  • Proof of identity (valid Florida driver’s license or another acceptable Florida photo ID card)
  • Proof of ownership
  • Bill of sale or manufacturer's certificate of origin
  • Proof of required auto insurance coverage
  • Completed application for certificate of title with/without registration
  • Paid registration fees and applicable sales tax
  • A filled-out title certificate application
  • $75.25 title transfer fee

Submit title transfer documentation within 30 days of purchase to avoid penalty fees.

Even though the seller has already transferred the title to you, Florida requires you to do this step to transfer the title into your name in the FLHSMV system.

Online FLHSMV Title Transfer

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles offers online services. Your title can be requested online for an additional fee of $2.50. After requesting it and paying the fees, the title will be mailed to your address within 10 days.

Florida Bill of Sale

A bill of sale is required to buy or sell a car in Florida. A bill of sale provides legal protection for both the buyer and the seller. It proves that the seller is no longer associated with the vehicle, and it proves the buyer's ownership.

PrivateAuto provides an official Florida bill of sale as part of our in-app transaction process. At the right time in the transaction, both the buyer and the seller will be asked to e-sign the document right in the PrivateAuto app.

Here is some of the information the Florida bill of sale requires.

  • Buyer’s name, address, and signature
  • Seller’s name, address, and signature
  • Final sale price
  • Description of the vehicle
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Odometer reading

This information proves that the seller did sell the vehicle and that the buyer is the new owner.

Florida License Plates

Some states allow the license plates to remain with the car when sold. Unfortunately, Florida requires the seller to remove the plates from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to the FLHSMV for a new license plate and pay the $28 Florida license plate fee, which is included in the registration fee.

You will need to submit the following:

  • Proof of insurance—usually in the form of an online document or insurance card
  • Proof of identity
  • A completed form HSMV (Form 82040)
  • Payment of $225
  • A filled-out vehicle title with your name, and signature of both you and the seller

See our state-by-state guide to license plate requirements if you’re considering buying or selling a car in another state.

Registration Fees

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is responsible for vehicle registration and driver licensing in the state.

In Florida, you can choose to register your vehicle for one or two years. FLHSMV will charge you a registration fee based on the weight of the vehicle, whether or not it is from out of state, and the length of time you register your vehicle for. The initial motor vehicle registration fee is $225 plus extra fees such as:

The annual tax and other fees are determined by your vehicle's weight class.

The following are the annual fees for private use vehicles:

  • A $27.60 fee per year ($55.20 for two years) for vehicles weighing between 0-2499 pounds
  • A $35.60 fee per year ($71.50 for two years) for vehicles weighing between 2500-3499 pounds
  • A $45.60 fee per year ($91.20 for two years) for vehicles weighing 3500 pounds or more

Buy or Sell Used Cars in Florida With PrivateAuto

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Florida Title Transfer FAQ

How to replace lost car titles in Florida?

Replacing the car title is required if it's damaged, stolen, or if a lien on the vehicle needs to be removed.

To apply for a duplicate title, you need the following:

  • The application for vehicle transactions (Form VSD 190)
  • The duplicate vehicle title fee of $50

What fees are there when buying a used car in Florida?

The vehicle purchase price never includes the used car sales tax, registration, and title transfer fees.

Here are additional fees you'll pay beyond the purchase price when buying a used car in Florida:

  • Title fee: $75.75
  • Plate transfer fee: $7.85
  • Florida sales tax: 6% on the purchase price of the vehicle
  • Registration and new plates: $225

PrivateAuto charges no buyer's fees. The buyer is responsible for paying for the vehicle only and has no transaction-related costs on our platform.

How to transfer a car title when the owner is deceased?

In the state of Florida, when the registered owner is deceased, you must transfer the car title. A beneficiary, spouse, or joint-owner can transfer the title to someone else if the owner is deceased.

You need to make sure you have all the following documents in order to transfer a vehicle’s title in Florida:

  • Order from Probate Court to transfer the vehicle
  • Certificate of title
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Death certificate
  • Transfer fee

See our guide to transferring the title of a car after the owner has died for more info on the topic.

If the title certificate was signed but never transferred, can I still transfer the title to my name?

An “open title” is a situation in which a seller has signed over the title of a vehicle to a buyer, but the buyer has not completed the title transfer with the state.

If the vehicle buyer loses the title before finishing the transfer, the vehicle title will be open. The vehicle's seller will need to request a duplicate title and then sign the duplicate title over to the buyer, after which the buyer can finalize the transfer with the state.

Open titles are best avoided by the buyer finishing the title transfer as soon as possible—and keeping track of the Certificate of Title.

How to transfer an out-of-state title?

Out-of-state vehicle title transferring can only be done in-person at your local FLHSMV, and you will need to provide the following:

  • Application for title certificate with/without registration (Form HSMV 82040)
  • Proof of identity of all vehicle owners ( identification card)
  • Proof of a valid Florida insurance affidavit
  • Original out-of-state vehicle title
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN) verification
  • Payment for all applicable fees and sales tax

How much are Florida handicap license plate fees?

There are several types of Florida handicapped license plates available:

  • Disabled person parking permit, temporary (valid for six months)
  • Permanent placard or license plate for the disabled person (valid for four years)
  • Florida wheelchair license plate
  • License plate for disabled veterans
  • Organization permit (for organizations that transport disabled people)

A disabled veterans' license plate or decal is free of charge. A handicapped license plate is also free for people with permanent disabilities. A $28 fee is charged for the wheelchair license plate.

A temporary disabled parking permit costs $15 and is valid for six months.

How to check if a car has Florida back fees?

Before purchasing a used car in Florida, identify whether it has back fees—or you could be liable for them.

The first step is to obtain the vehicle identification number from the seller and perform VIN verification. With the VIN, you can contact your local FLHSMV and request a title search. The FLHSMV will be able to tell you if there are any unpaid fees associated with the car, such as registration fees or parking tickets.

Does Florida do online registration renewal?

At the MyDMV Portal, FLHSMV offers a quick and easy way to renew the registration of a vehicle or boat. The MyDMV Portal provides the following motor vehicle services:

  • One or two-year registration renewals for motor vehicles.
  • One or two-year registration renewals for vessels.
  • Obtain a duplicate registration if the customer's registration is lost.
  • Payment options: Credit card.

To renew a registration online, you must provide personal information. No registration will be issued if the FLHSMV is unable to verify valid Florida insurance on the vehicle.

How to order a license plate in Florida?

There are three ways to order a license plate in Florida.

  1. In person at local FLHSMV offices
  2. Online via the FLHSMV website
  3. Through the mail

Whether you apply online, in person, or by mail, you need to fill out an application form that includes your personal information, address, and vehicle registration info.

Once you have submitted the form, you will be asked to pay the Florida license plate fee. The fee varies depending on the type of license plate you choose, but for a standard license plate, it is $28.

If you order online or in person, you can pay with a credit card, debit card, or electronic check. If you mail in your application, you must enclose a check or money order made out to your local county tax collector's office.

Does Florida have electronic title transfers?

If the car you’re buying doesn’t have a paper title, the title transfer process will be different from a traditional car title transfer.

You can get the paper vehicle title and complete the FLHSMV title transfer simultaneously by:

  • Submitting a completed application for duplicate or lost in transit/reassignment for a motor vehicle, mobile home or vessel title certificate (Form HSMV 82101)
  • Paying the $75.25 title transfer fee (electronic title)

The payments are made to the tax collector's office in person or by mail if you’re outside the state.

Which specialty plates does Florida offer?

Here is a list of most popular specialty license plates in Florida:

  1. University of Florida
  2. Florida State University
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  4. Miami Dolphins
  5. Protect the Panther
  6. Save the Manatee
  7. Support Education
  8. Choose Life
  9. American Legion
  10. Breast Cancer Awareness

What are some important facts about the title transferring process in Florida?

When doing auto title transfers in Florida, there are several important facts that you should keep in mind.

  • Car title transfers must be completed when buying or selling your vehicle.
  • There are title fees and title transfer fees, which vary depending on the county and the specifics of the transfer.
  • A Florida DHSMV (Florida’s version of the DMV) title transfer must be completed within 30 days of the sale or transfer of ownership.
  • A certificate of title with/without registration is required for title transferring.
  • A Florida title transfer cannot be completed without the appropriate documentation, including a valid driver's license, proof of insurance, and the original title with a completed transfer section. By keeping these important facts in mind, you will successfully transfer the vehicle title and avoid paying any late fees.
  • Florida car title transfers are required when inheriting a vehicle from a family member.
  • Liens and titles are public record in Florida, that means that anyone can access information about a car's ownership history and any liens on the title.
  • You can't transfer ownership without registering a car, and vice versa. This means that you will need to register the vehicle in your name at the same time as completing the title transfer. If you don't do that, you will not be able to drive your car legally.
  • It's important to ensure that you have all necessary title information and documentation before attempting to transfer a vehicle title in Florida.
  • If the vehicle is being transferred between immediate family members, it may be possible to transfer the title without registering the vehicle. However, this is subject to specific conditions and requirements.
  • Completing a title transfer and registering a vehicle in a timely manner is important to avoid penalties or fines.

What are some important facts people should know about registering a car in Florida?

When registering your vehicle in Florida, there are several important facts that you should keep in mind.

  • If the vehicle is leased, the leasing company's name and address must be provided.
  • A motor vehicle, mobile home, and vessel title can be obtained through the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
  • If there is a lien on the vehicle, you will need to provide proof of lien satisfaction or a power of attorney from the lienholder allowing the vehicle to be registered in Florida.
  • If you need a fast title, the DHSMV offers a same-day service for an additional fee.
  • A heavy truck weighing over 5,000 pounds requires an additional fee for registration..
  • Duplicate titles can be obtained through the DHSMV if the original title is lost or destroyed.
  • Before registration, a tax certificate must be obtained from the county tax collector's office, which proves that all applicable taxes have been paid.
  • Florida law requires that cars be registered within 30 days of purchase or transfer of ownership.
  • The registration process includes obtaining a Florida license plate and registering the vehicle with the FLHSMV.
  • Florida has specific requirements for registering motor vehicles, mobile homes, vessels, and heavy trucks.
  • Electronic lien and title (ELT) services are available in Florida to streamline the lien satisfaction process.
  • It's important to ensure that you have all necessary title information and documentation before attempting to register a vehicle in Florida, including a tax certificate and proof of lien satisfaction if applicable.