Paperwork Required When Buying a Car in Alabama

Last Updated on March 22, 2018 by Jason Mason

When purchasing a vehicle in Alabama, as a new owner, you are required to register that car in your name and apply for a title. When you buy a car from dealers, they normally handle this paperwork on your behalf. If you choose a private seller, you will be responsible for paperwork handling. This article contains more information about documents required when purchasing a car in Alabama.

Document required by Alabama buyers

When you purchase a used vehicle from a private seller, you will need to apply for a title, transfer registration and pay taxes on your purchase. You will be required to take the following to the respective office:

  • Bill of Sale.
  • Applicable fees and taxes.
  • Original title signed and certified.

You will be required to pay $15 for title fee plus a processing fee of $1.50. Sale tax, license fee and ad valorem vary in each county. If you purchase your vehicle from registered dealers, they will assist you in filling the paperwork.

Tips for Buying a Car in Alabama

Finding and choosing the best car to satisfy your needs and pride can be a daunting task. These tips can help you lessen the burden:

  • Do your homework well to find out what kind of car fits your budget and that merges well with your lifestyle. You can get reliable information on consumer reports, online forums, comparison guides and other magazines.
  • Test-drive each car that you choose, to determine its comfort and functionality. Make sure you check the head space and leg room before making your decision.
  • Check on insurance rates for each vehicle before purchase. Insurance rates largely depend on the vehicle’s model, make, year and body style.
  • Once you decide the best car for you, get its vehicle history report. This report will help you determine the accident details, odometer readings and registration details of the vehicle that you selected.
  • Have a registered mechanic inspect the vehicle to check if there are any damages or problems on it.
  • Negotiate a price and make sure you reach a price that you are comfortable at. Quote a price that is lower than the asking price and work your way upwards to reach a compromise price.
  • If you reach an agreement, you will have up to 20 days to register your new car. You must complete title processing before registering your car.

Important Notice for Alabama Car Buyers

Due to Hurricane Katrina which hit most states in the USA including Alabama, thousands of used and new vehicles were affected by the flood and as a result were totaled out by vehicle insurance companies. Some of these vehicles are back in the market. They have been varnished in such a way that you cannot recognize them easily. So, you should be alert to avoid becoming a victim of such vehicles.

Bill of Sale

In Alabama, you will need a Bill of Sale in order to apply for a title and register your car. You can download one from several online sites.

Alabama Lemon Law

Alabama Lemon Law is the law that protects consumers from defective vehicles. This law is enforced by the state and it is intended to protect car buyers from vehicles that had been damaged by accidents and were beyond repair.