Titles, taxes, and insurance, oh my
November 27, 2011 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Buying a car from my mom in NJ for a token (i.e. far less than blue book) amount. What's the best (cheapest) way to get it legally registered/insured in Chicago, IL. Any pitfalls I should look out for?
posted by Oktober to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
May vary by jurisdiction but I thought one generational transfer (parent to child) needn't involve any money at all?
posted by caution live frogs at 8:39 AM on November 27, 2011

I would do the following:

1) Transfer title to you in New Jersey
2) Get NJ plates/register it with the NJ DMV
3) Call up the insurance company and explain: "I just acquired this car from my mother in NJ, I want to move it to Chicago. What is the best way for me to do this?"
4) Once it's insured, move it to Chicago.
5) Get Illinois plates
6) Update your insurance to reflect its new residence in Chicago.
posted by dfriedman at 8:48 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Stemming from what dfriedman mentioned: when you register the vehicle in NJ, either have your mother come with you to vouch or have her write a note and sign that she gifted the vehicle to you. You won't then have to pay any taxes on the transaction. Easy, cheap and very common of vehicle transactions between family members.
posted by erstwhile at 9:21 AM on November 27, 2011

Yeah, I spent hours and hours trying to figure out how to turn a car that was registered to my father in NY into a car that was registered to me in Chicago as cheaply as possible -- and then discovered that if the car is being given as a gift within the family, the flat tax you pay to IL when you register the car is something absurdly piddling like $15. Assuming you're in Chicago with the car, have her sign the title over to you and mail it, then just go to one of the car registration offices and do everything simultaneously. (I don't remember when I signed up for insurance in all of this, but I think it was before I registered the car, since you need proof of insurance to register.) I think I had to mail my NY plates back to the NY DMV.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 9:36 AM on November 27, 2011

(I should note that my father and I have the same last name, so I just had to say "he's my father" and they believed me; I'm not sure if there's some burden of proof on you or if they just take you at your word no matter what. If you call the Secretary of State's office they're actually surprisingly helpful.)
posted by enlarged to show texture at 9:38 AM on November 27, 2011

Get a cheap temporary registration in New Jersey -- no need to fully register it there when you're about to drive it home to Illinois.
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 4:56 PM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

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