When it comes to personal auto insurance our agency gets a lot of frequently asked questions. Here is the answer to one that is crucial to your coverage. We often hear: “Why does it matter whose name is on the title?” Any vehicle you insure needs to have your name on the title. It can be solely owned or co-titled with another person but this is a MUST for auto insurance.
Your vehicle title is the most important document related to your car as it proves that you are the legal owner. With auto insurance you are required by all carriers to have an insurable interest for a vehicle to be listed on your policy. To have an insurable interest means that you would suffer a loss in the event that something happens. For example, a parent who owns a vehicle driven by their child has an insurable interest. If that vehicle is totaled in an accident it would cause a financial hardship.
All auto insurance carriers require proof of ownership and proof of the insurable interest for claims. The owner is primarily the only party to be impacted if the vehicle is damaged while someone who is not on the title or registration has no legal obligation to that car.
It is very important that you obtain an official certificate of title any time you a buy vehicle, whether you are purchasing it new or used, as a private sale or dealership. This applies if you receive the car as a gift as well. You must obtain a replacement title if your original is damaged or lost.
The process of a title transfer is only the first step. It is not enough for the prior owner to sign his or her title over to you. The next and most important process is for you to get a brand new title with your name printed on it.