Several times a month our Oxford and Cincinnati insurance office receive calls from customers telling us to delete a car from their policy because they had just sold the vehicle. We always make sure to ask if this transaction was done between two individuals or if they sold it to a dealership. When we learn that it was sold to another individual we always offer a word of caution about deleting the insurance on the vehicle right away.
A normal vehicle sale transaction consists of the current owner signing over the title to the purchaser of the vehicle. Once the title is signed over to the purchaser the purchaser goes to the Clerk of Courts in that county and has the title officially transferred into their name. As everyone who has had to go to the Clerk of Courts for one reason or another knows, sometime it is difficult to carve out time in your day to make it to the county office and wait in line. This is the type of “To Do” item that many would put off or not have time to do for several days. This putting off going to the Clerk of Courts to transfer a vehicle’s title can cause a small problem for the person who had just sold and signed over the title. Technically until the title is officially switched over to the purchaser the liability for the vehicle can still fall back on the seller.
Our Oxford insurance office once had a claim on a vehicle that our client had signed over to another individual two years earlier. However, the purchaser never went and officially switched over the title and our insured was pulled into a claim on the vehicle two years later because his name was technically still on the title.
So next time you have a private sale of a vehicle be sure to follow up with the purchaser and make sure they have switched over the title prior to calling and deleting any insurance coverage on the car.