How to Transfer a Car Title in Connecticut

A certificate of title is a legal document that establishes ownership of a vehicle. If you’re buying or selling a vehicle in Connecticut, the transfer of title is one of the most crucial steps of the entire process.
The title transfer process, especially in private car sales, must be safe and legal. Our title transfer guide will teach you everything you need to know about transferring a vehicle title. Let’s dive in
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Car Title Transfer Process

1. The buyer and seller meet face to face. The buyer makes payment to the seller. The physical certificate of title must be filled out and signed by both parties. As of now, the buyer is the official and legal owner of the vehicle.
2. The buyer completes the vehicle title transfer process at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. The buyer registers the vehicle and applies for new license plates at the same time.
The first step (meeting between the seller and the buyer) is the most important. The second step is merely a formality.

As the seller, you’ll formalize the entire transaction when you transfer the title of the car by signing the title over to the buyer. You’ll remove the plates and be done with the vehicle.
As the buyer in a private party 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 your local DMV office to get registration and title in your name. You’ll also get new license plates and car insurance.

Sign the Title Correctly

When signing the car title in Connecticut, 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 front of the title has a section for lien holders (red).

Here is the process for filling out the front of a Connecticut title.

1. The lien holder will release the lien by filling out the red field marked “1,” shown below.

Back of The Title

The back of the title has sections for the seller (red) and the buyer (teal). Here is the process for filling out the back of a Connecticut title.

1. The seller enters the exact odometer reading in the red field, marked “1”.
2. In the blue field marked “2,” the buyer prints their last, first, and middle name, the purchase date, street address, city, state, and zip code, and then prints and signs their name.
3. In the field “marked 3,” the seller prints their name, enters the date of sale and signs their name.

Congrats! You’ve filled out the title in Connecticut. Pretty simple, right?

Finalize Ownership Transfer with Connecticut DMV

You've completed the transaction and are now the proud owner of a brand-new automobile. Your task is not yet complete. There are still actions you must take with the state of Connecticut to complete the title transfer.

In the state of Connecticut, registration and vehicle titling are done at the same time. When purchasing a used car, you will need to provide your local Connecticut DMV office with additional paperwork, including:

Completed application for Connecticut registration and title (Form H-13B)
CT vehicle title signed by the previous owner (seller)
Proof of ownership
A lien release form (if applicable)
Proof of a valid Connecticut auto insurance policy
Title transfer fee: $25
Valid proof of identification (drivers license or ID card)

When you purchase a car from a private party, you will be required to complete the title transfer within 30 business days. If you don't meet that deadline, you will have to pay a fee of $50.

Provide Personal Documents

The buyer also needs to have a few personal documents on hand. Check that you have these before preparing for the transfer process:

Proof of Connecticut residency
Valid driver’s license
Proof of insurance

Your proof of insurance must meet Connecticut's minimum insurance requirements. This means having a valid liability policy that includes bodily injury liability for $25,000 per person, property damage liability for $50,000 per accident, and personal injury protection (PIP) for $25,000 per person. This is commonly referred to as "25/50/25" coverage.

These are the minimum requirements, but you can add more to your policy, like comprehensive and/or collision coverage, or increase your liability coverage.

Connecticut Emissions Testing

Connecticut takes clean air seriously; all vehicles registered in the state are subject to emissions testing. These tests ensure that your car meets state and federal emissions standards.

Requirements: all Connecticut cars are required to undergo emissions testing every two years. This includes both passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles, as well as hybrid cars.
Schedule: based on the last digit of your license plate number. You can find specific testing deadlines on the CT DMV website.
Locations: there are emissions testing locations throughout the state, and you can find your local DMV on the DMV website as well. Some locations are appointment-only, so be sure to check before you go.
Fees: the emissions inspection fee costs $20 for most vehicles, but some larger commercial vehicles may be subject to higher fees.
If your vehicle fails the emissions test, you will be required to have it repaired and retested before you can renew your registration.

If you are a new resident of Connecticut, you must pass an emissions test before registering your vehicle with the CT DMV.

Certain vehicles are exempt from emissions testing in Connecticut. Exempted vehicles include the following:

Fully electric vehicles
Cars that weigh more than 10,001 pounds
Cars that have a composite title
Cars made in 1992 model year or earlier

Consider a Bill of Sale

A bill of sale (Form H31) isn’t required for Connecticut private-party vehicle transactions, but it’s still a great idea. When you buy or sell a used vehicle in Connecticut, the bill of sale serves as proof that the transaction took place, and it memorializes the terms under which it did so.

By documenting the mileage, purchase price, and condition of the vehicle, the bill of sale provides legal protection for both the buyer and the seller, in case either wants to contest the transaction in the future.

If you’re buying a used car in Connecticut, the document shows that the seller has freely passed ownership of the car to you.

As the seller, the bill of sale proves that you’re no longer associated with the vehicle. If the buyer gets into trouble with the vehicle after the sale, you can show that you should not be held liable.

We provide an official Connecticut bill of sale as part of our in-app transaction process. Both buyer and seller will be prompted to e-sign the document at the appropriate stage of the transaction, right within the PrivateAuto app. The bill of sale will always be available for you to refer to, right in your PrivateAuto app.

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

Buyer and seller signatures, names and addresses
Final sale price
Description of the vehicle
Vehicle identification number (VIN)
Odometer reading

For more on this important document, see our complete guide to the bill of sale in car transactions.

Connecticut License Plates

Some states allow the license plates to remain with the car when sold. Unfortunately, Connecticut requires the seller to remove the plates from the car. As the buyer, you’ll apply to your local CT DMV office for new license plates and pay the $5 Connecticut license plate fee.

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

The Advantages of Buying a Car Through PrivateAuto

Complete the buying process easily and legally with the help of PrivateAuto. PrivateAuto Pay, our integrated banking gateway, is truly revolutionary. It allows you to send or receive unlimited funds instantly and for free.

Whether you want to sell your used vehicle or you’re trying to find used cars for sale, we make the transaction happen.
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Title Transfer in Connecticut FAQ

How to register a vehicle in Connecticut?

Registering the vehicle in Connecticut costs $120. To apply for a Connecticut license plate, you must have a valid CT vehicle registration card from the Connecticut DMV. To make things more efficient, you will be able to transfer ownership and register your vehicle at the same time.

You will need to submit the following documents to your local DMV office:

- A completed application for registration and certificate of title (Form H-13B)
- Current certificate of title and registration certificate
- Proof passed emissions testing or VIN inspection verification
- The bill of sale
- A valid Connecticut auto insurance policy
- Clean air act fee: $10
- A form of identification, such as a:
- Driver’s license
- Learner’s permit
- Real ID
- Non-driver ID
- Payment for Connecticut registration fee
- Payment for the Connecticut used car sales tax of 6.35% of the purchase price

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