Can I register a car without a title In Ontario?

7 minute read Published on May 26, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Close-up of vehicle form with pen

If you recently bought a new car or perhaps a used car, you might be wondering how to register your car. Depending on how you obtained the car, you might also be wondering if you can register a car without a title. We answer this question and explain the difference between title and registration below.

Registering a car without a vehicle title

It is not possible to register a car without a title. A title contains all sorts of pertinent information, including the owner’s name and home address, the make and model of the car, the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), the current mileage of the car, and a notice of any liens. Thus, while it is possible (though ill-advised) to buy a car from a seller who does not have the title, you will need the title in order to register your car with the relevant transportation authority in your province.

Not only that, but you will need the title to the car if you want to obtain a licence plate and purchase a car insurance policy for the car, all of which are required if you want to legally drive the car in Canada. Please note that it is typically the seller’s responsibility to obtain a title for the car and to have it transferred to the buyer upon purchase. In lieu of the title, the seller should provide a legally permitted alternative, such as a bill of sale for older vehicles.

Vehicle registration explained

Vehicle registration is mandatory in all Canadian provinces. The purpose of it is to prove that your car meets the requirements for operating a vehicle in Canada. For this reason, motor vehicle registration is one part of a multi-step process that makes it legal for you to drive your car on public roads in Canada. In most cases, vehicle registration is handled provincially, which means you will need to register your vehicle with the relevant agency in your province.

Car title explained

Meanwhile, a car title, which is also referred to as a vehicle title, is a legal document that outlines the right of ownership to a particular motor vehicle. In essence, it proves that a person is the legal owner of a vehicle. As such, a car title features all kinds of important information about the car in question, including the vehicle identification number (VIN), the date of sale, the make and model of the car, its weight class, and the mileage.

When buying or selling a car, the title must be legally transferred from the seller to the buyer. You should retain a copy of the vehicle title and keep it somewhere safe, as it is an essential document proving your ownership of the vehicle. You will need to show your car title in order to register your car, insure your car, or sell it later on. As mentioned above, you will not be able to do these things unless you have the car title.

Vehicle title vs. registration

As you can see, vehicle title and vehicle registration are distinct from one another. Your car title is an important document that you will need in order to register your car in your home province. When you buy a car, whether it’s new or used, and whether you obtain it from an independent seller or a dealership, the title of the car should be transferred to you. The title papers will then serve as legal proof that you own the car and will include important information about the vehicle in question, like the make, model, and VIN.

All of this information, along with the document itself, will be required when you register your car, which is mandatory if you wish to drive in Canada. Registering your vehicle is the first step in a longer process that involves obtaining your licence plate, insuring your car, and more. When you register your car, you will receive a licence plate or registration number that is specific to your vehicle. This number will appear on your licence plate so that other drivers and law enforcement officers can easily identify your car.

Thus, vehicle title and vehicle registration go hand in hand in Canada.

Do you need to have your vehicle title when driving?

Yes, you are required to have your vehicle title, which is also known as a vehicle permit, on you at all times while driving. For this reason, most motorists choose to keep their vehicle permits in their glove box. This way, if they are pulled over and need to show proof of ownership, they can easily do so. It is also smart to keep your proof of car insurance in your glove box, as you will likely need to provide this if you are pulled over. You may want to put them together in an envelope along with your insurance liability slip so you can easily find them in the event you should be requested to provide them.

Transferring car ownership from a previous owner to a new owner in Ontario

Since having the title to your car is of the utmost importance, it is vital that the title is transferred correctly during the selling process. As mentioned, the car title should be transferred from the previous owner or seller to the new owner at the time of purchase. This title transfer needs to happen whether you are purchasing a car from a dealership, a private seller, or even a family member.

The title transfer process involves several steps. Do not skip any of these steps if you want to ensure a smooth and legal transfer of your car title:

1. Obtain a Used Vehicle Information Package

The first step in the process is to obtain a Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) from the seller. Under the Highway Traffic Act, all sellers are legally required to provide the UVIP to a buyer in a private sale. What is a used vehicle information package? It contains several documents with important information, including the vehicle’s registration history in Ontario, information about any liens, details about the vehicle and a description of the vehicle, the condition of the vehicle, the average wholesale value of the car, relevant retail sales tax information, a bill of sale section to be completed by the buyer, and a Safety Standards Certificate.

The Safety Standards Certificate is a mandatory document when transferring the title of a used vehicle to a new owner. It confirms that the car met the minimum safety standards on the date that it was inspected and is valid for 36 days. Safety standard certificates can be obtained at any inspection station that is licensed by the Ministry of Transportation in your province.

2. Complete the transfer application form

Next, you will need to complete the transfer application form or Application for Transfer. This form can be obtained online from the Ministry of Transportation in your province and will need to be signed by the seller.

3. Show proof of car insurance

Before you can have the title of a car transferred to you, you must prove that you have a valid car insurance policy. You can prove this by providing the name of your insurance company and your policy number or by showing your pink slip (either physically or digitally). If you have multiple auto insurance policies, make sure that you provide the correct one.

If you have yet to purchase car insurance, reach out to a BrokerLink insurance broker. We can explain what documents you need for car insurance and help you get a preferred rate.

4. Pay the required fees

Once the transfer application form has been filled out, you will be required to pay any applicable retail sales tax, as well as the licensing fees for the licence plate, permit, and sticker.

5. Wait and receive your new vehicle permit and plates

Finally, all that’s left to do is wait. Your new vehicle permit and plates will be sent in the mail to the home address listed on the transfer application form. The new permit will list the buyer as the vehicle’s registered owner. Make sure to keep a copy of your vehicle permit in your car at all times.

Please note that the vehicle will remain under the seller’s name until the buyer completes the process listed above. Thus, it is imperative that the seller follows up with the buyer after the sale to ensure that they received the new vehicle permit and the car is now registered in their name. The seller will continue to be legally liable for the car until this point.

It is also smart for the seller to keep a copy of their licence plate and the plate portion of the ownership paper, as well as a record of the name of the buyer, the purchase price, and the sale date on the bill of sale section of the UVIP.

Registering or transferring a vehicle title from outside Ontario

If you purchase a car from a province outside of where you live or you plan on moving to a new province, you will need to register your licence plates and vehicle again. Ontario drivers are allowed to drive with out-of-province licence plates and vehicle permits for a period of 30 days. After this point, you will need to visit a ServiceOntario centre to change everything over.

In addition, depending on where the car is being imported from, the vehicle may need to undergo a safety inspection.

Contact BrokerLink

If you want to learn more about registering a car in your province or transferring the title from one vehicle to another, reach out to BrokerLink today. We can provide more information on this process, including how you can show proof of insurance, which is required.

Beyond explaining how to obtain proof of insurance, we can also offer information on how to purchase an insurance policy in the first place. The main purpose of car insurance is to financially protect you against the cost of common car accidents. These costs range from medical expenses and repair bills to towing fees.

A licensed insurance broker at BrokerLink can help you find any type of auto insurance you’re looking for, including but not limited to:

Plus, we will make sure that you find the best possible policy for your needs. As insurance brokers, it’s our job to research policies and find the most comprehensive coverage at the most affordable rates. This is the benefit of an insurance broker. We also offer free insurance quotes to all customers. There are no strings attached, and you can get your quote in as little as five minutes. Visit our website and use our online quote tool, or give us a call to request your free quote today.

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