Selling a car in Florida is a fairly straightforward process. If you have ever sold a vehicle in another state, though, you will likely find a few nuances considerably different in the Sunshine State. When selling a car in Florida, there are a few additional steps you can take to protect yourself.
Prepare a Bill of Sale
Florida car titles have a space to write in the sales amount, date and other information when you sell your car. Though some other states treat this information as a bill of sale, your buyer will need a separate bill of sale when he registers the vehicle with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The local tax collector will use the bill of sale to verify the sales price and assess the proper tax. If you do not provide a signed bill of sale, the tax collector may refuse to accept the sales price or to register the vehicle altogether.
You can create your own bill of sale, either with a computer or by handwriting the information. The State of Florida also offers a convenient bill of sale form on its website.
Remove the Tag
Once you complete the sales transaction, remove the Florida plate from the vehicle. In some states, the license plate is assigned to the vehicle and goes with the car after the sale. In Florida, though, the license plate is personally assigned to you. If you leave the tag on the car, you could receive a citation if the new owner commits a traffic violation.
If you will not reuse the license plate within 30 days, you must surrender it to the state. You can do so at your local driver’s license office.
Escort the Buyer to Register
The state of Florida continues to consider you the owner of the vehicle until the new buyer completes the registration process. Florida law requires the new owner to register the car in his own name within 30 days after the sale, but not all buyers do so promptly. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recommends that you meet the buyer at the local tax collector’s office to complete the sales transaction, as the buyer can immediately register the vehicle to remove you from further liability.
Update Your Insurance When Appropriate
As long as you have a valid Florida license plate, Florida law requires that you maintain auto insurance. Notify your insurance company that you have sold the vehicle right away, but do not cancel coverage until you either reuse the license plate or turn in the tag. If you cancel insurance while the Florida license plate is still active, according to the DHSMV, the state may revoke your driving privileges.