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Rhode Island Selling a Vehicle

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Rhode Island Title & Registration: The Basics

Whenever you sell a car in Rhode Island, as in other states, you must sign over the title and provide a bill of sale. This allows the buyer to get a title and registration in their name. It also ensures that the state has a record of the sale so that they know who is legally responsible for the vehicle.

Signing Over a Rhode Island Title

Rhode Island titles include a section that must be filled out when the vehicle is sold. The seller needs to record the following information in this section:

  • The date of sale
  • The price
  • The buyer’s name
  • The vehicle’s current odometer reading

Both the seller and buyer must also sign the title. Once the title has been signed over, it should be given to the buyer. They will need the original title to obtain a new title.

Lost Rhode Island Titles

If you have lost the title to your vehicle or if the original title is badly damaged, you will need to obtain a duplicate title. As you will need a title to sell the vehicle, you should get the duplicate title before even listing the vehicle for sale. It can take up to 90 days to receive a duplicate title in Rhode Island, so make sure you apply as soon as possible.

Bills of Sale in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is one of many states that requires a bill of sale. The bill of sale in Rhode Island must include the following information:

  • Model year
  • Make
  • Model
  • VIN
  • Sale price
  • Date of sale

Rhode Island Odometer Readings

All states, including Rhode Island, require that a vehicle’s odometer reading be recorded at the time of sale. This is to ensure that the odometer does not get “rolled back,” which would make it show a lower mileage than the vehicle actually has. This was more common in the days of mechanical odometers.

Why Rhode Island Requires Bills of Sale

Rhode Island requires bills of sale to ensure that buyers have a record of the sale and all the information they need to title and register the vehicle in their names. Also, the bill of sale provides the state with the information they need to accurately collect sales tax.

Transferring Rhode Island Plates

It is possible to transfer plates from one vehicle to another in Rhode Island, as long as the second vehicle is registered in the same name. You must submit an application for registration if you want to transfer plates.

Not Transferring Rhode Island Plates

If you do not transfer your plates to another vehicle, they stay with the vehicle when it’s sold.

Giving Away a Rhode Island Car

If you want to give away a vehicle to a relative in Rhode Island, you will have to write up a gift letter stating your name, the recipient’s name, and the vehicle’s information (make, model, year, VIN). If you give a vehicle to an immediate family member, they do not have to pay sales tax.

How Rhode Island Executors Can Transfer a Car

If you are the executor of an estate in Rhode Island, you will need the following documents to transfer a vehicle to an heir:

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Last Verified:
Sep 7, 2022