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Help? Title Transfer and New Insurance [Utah]

Hello All!

I am moving from California to Utah. I do not need to drive here, but I will need to in Utah. A car I purchased with my ex is currently under her name, but I will be transferring ownership in Utah. I need to transfer the title and I need to get insurance. I would love to get some wonderful advice on two points!

1) What is the most efficient way to transfer the title?

I have already paid tax on the vehicle once, and I don?t want to do it again! If I understand correctly a simple title transfer or gift will result in new taxes? Someone suggested ?buying? it for $100. Can anyone advise me on what I can do and where I need to begin?

2) Because I have been using public transit I do not have insurance.

The vehicle is currently insured for my ex. I tried to arrange insurance in Utah but I was flagged as a ?high risk? because insurance could not be verified. It was suggested that transferring the title and submitting a document stating that I have not needed a car for a while due to using public transit might be sufficient. Can anyone elaborate more on this situation? I would like more than a single insurance agent?s view.

Thank you so much for any insight that can be shared!

- James

I haven’t look at California or Utah rules, but some states recognize a gift transfer without incurring new sales taxes. You need to find out if Calif or Utah do this and get it done first. If you are driving the car to Utah, get a 30 day Calif policy, to make sure you are covered until you get there.

I have done a slightly under real car value $100 transaction in the past, and it was not questioned by DMV, so that is a choice, also.

As a new policy holder, you will be charged a higher rate, in general, because you have no track record, but I have never heard of going into the high risk pool immediately because you haven’t owned a car recently. No advice here, other than do that the insurance agent suggests and/or shop around with other companies.

Talking to companies like Geico or Progressive, who have a major on line presence may be beneficial here.

Thank you very much for your input. Do you know of a good place to find out about non-sales tax transfers? I have looked at DMV sites and they have been less than detailed, to say the least. I will be driving a U-Haul to reach Utah and towing the vehicle. But the vehicle will be important once I am in Utah.

Would a title transfer here in California work? You don’t have to do anything with them state-to-state, do you? If I do that I might be able to meet Allstate’s requirements and get this taken care of before my move.

Was your ‘slightly under real car value $100 sale’ of a car that was quite low in value? The car I’m working with is more than $10,000, though I haven’t heard of anyone being troubled about transactions such as this. It would be nice if I could find out more about title transfers.

I’ll try some other insurance companies if this doesn’t work out. If it comes to that, I would like to take some steps to help avoid a duplication of the previous problem.

You can buy it from your ex for a dollar and have the title transferred. The only potential legal implication is if you were trying to defraud the state- not paying sales’ tax owed. If you actually paid $10,000 and presented a receipt for $100, you would be defrauding the state. The bigger question, CA to UT?

If the car is titled in California right now, and is only in your ex’s name, then I would expect that a title transfer transaction in Calif, providing you with a clean title and clear ownership would be the way to go. That way Utah sees a clean and clear title to transfer.

I have no idea is Calif goes for $100 (or $1000) bill of sale transactions, or not. Only someone who has done one in Calif or DMV would know. Somewhere Calif should address gift transactions and their criteria, so you can determine if this transaction qualifies for a sales tax exemption or not. If not on line, I would make a phone call to the local DMV office and get a reading from them.

I have never set a car sale transaction less than $100, because I thought paying $7 in sales tax was reasonable, but I never used this method on a car that was worth $10K, either. Later, both MO and KS provided gift affadavits, which essentially eliminated my need to do any $100 bill of sale transactions now.

I do think every state reserves the right to examine your transaction and if found to be unreasonably priced low, charge sales tax on the imputed or book value of the vehicle in question.

Keep in mind this is purely an opinion from a Midwesterner. I have literally no experience dealing with California or Utah DMV, and sometimes those experiences can be eye-openers.