Each state in the United States issues its own certificate of title, so there can be some variation in the details, but vehicle titles general offer information about the vehicle, its registration, the registered owner and the legal owner. These two types of owners differ when the registered operator of the vehicle still has an outstanding loan on the vehicle.
Information about the vehicle includes the make, model and year of the vehicle as well as its unique vehicle identification number. More detailed information related to the vehicle’s taxable status can include the original purchase price, gross vehicle weight and engine size.
In addition to the name and address of the registered owner, the title may include the license plate number of the vehicle. When the registered owner pays off a vehicle loan, the lienholder must then transfer the title to the registered owner via a notarized release, and the registered owner becomes the sole owner on the title.
An individual can transfer a title to another owner only if there is no lien on the vehicle. The policies for transferring title also vary by state. In the case of a new car purchase, the dealership typically handles the necessary paperwork. For sales and other transfers between individuals, the owner typically provides paperwork confirming the transfer, such as a bill of sale, and other information, such as the vehicle identification number and an odometer reading.