Alabama Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale Form


An Alabama motor vehicle bill of sale is a document that a buyer and seller use to record the details of a vehicle transaction. It proves that the new owner paid for the car, and the seller officially gave up their ownership. The state does not have an official state motor vehicle bill of sale form; however, fifteen (15) provinces use country-specific versions. Each county has special laws, such as signing before a notary public or witness.

  • Statutes: § 32-6
  • Signing Requirements: Buyer and seller must sign.

What is an Alabama Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale?

An Alabama motor vehicle bill of sale empowers a car owner to sell a used car to a buyer via a private sale. Dealerships can also use the downloadable bill of sale form; however, companies often use in-house documents, which they provide during the transaction.

The Department of Revenue (DOR) requires a bill of sale to register the vehicle. They will only accept the form if each person involved in the sale writes their name, address, phone number, and email in the form. In addition, they must provide the vehicle’s information, the payment type, the sales price, and any other agreed-upon terms.

How to Register a Motor Vehicle (4 Steps)

According to state law, motor vehicle owners must obtain registration within twenty (20) days of the sale. Buyers who purchased the vehicle in a state other than Alabama have thirty (30) days to register it (§ 40-12-262(a)).

Once registered, the associated tags and tax receipts must remain in the vehicle at all times. If the driver cannot provide this information to a law enforcement officer, they can receive a maximum fine of $50.

Follow the steps listed below to prepare for registration, submit the necessary documents, and renew yearly.

Step 1 – Complete Bill of Sale & Transfer Title

During the sale of the motor vehicle, the buyer and seller must fill out the bill of sale in tandem. Each person must include accurate information in the document so the DOR, or any other third party, recognizes it. Lastly, both parties must sign to make the sale official.

After completing the bill of sale, the seller must give the buyer the keys to the vehicle, along with the title, registration, and any other essential forms. The new owner must sign the title and keep it in a safe place for two reasons: 1) the DOR requires it when registering the car, and 2) to prove ownership if the buyer decides to re-sell.

If the sale occurred through a dealership, the merchant submits the registration and title to the local DOR office. In other words, the buyer does not need to send the documents themselves.

Step 2 – Obtain Alabama Car Insurance

Alabama law requires all drivers to have motor vehicle insurance in case of an injury, death, or property damage.

The minimum insurance requirements for bodily injury or death are:

  • Bodily Injury (one person, per accident): $25,000; and
  • Bodily Injury (2+ people, per accident): $50,000.

Additionally, the owner must have a policy for at least one of the following:

  • Property Damage (per incident): $25,000; or
  • Property Damage (combined single limit per accident): $75,000.

Step 3 – Go To DOR Office

First-time motor vehicle registration must occur at a DOR Office location nearest the applicant. The vehicle owner must make an appointment online to secure their spot.

After taking this step, the owner must gather the required documents and have them notarized or signed as needed. On the day of the appointment, they must bring an accepted form of payment to cover the registration costs. In addition to standard fees, the DOR charges for vehicle identification number inspections on untitled new or out-of-state vehicles.

Representatives registering the vehicle for the owner must have a signed motor vehicle power of attorney, plus all other required forms. Furthermore, car owners who inherited the car from a family member or estate must provide the title, a title certification, and an affidavit for title assignment.

Bring the Following:

  • Bill of Sale
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement
  • Original Title (or request for Duplicate Title)
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Driver’s License

Step 4 – Renew Yearly

Motor vehicle registration lasts for one (1) calendar year in Alabama. Residents must renew on time, even if the county has not sent them an annual renewal notice. Car owners can renew in-person, online, or by mail, regardless of where they live in the state. Registration laws differ by county, and therefore, residents should refer to their local jurisdiction for more information.

The state follows a renewal system that uses the first letter of the owner’s last name. A resident determines their renewal date by referencing the month after the first letter of their last name. Then, they must send their registration documents before the end of that specific month.

For example, if someone has the last name “Smith,” they would defer the chart to find the month with an “S” next to it. Since the letter “S” is next to September, they have until September 31st to renew their registration.

The following list includes the months and letters for Alabama residents to determine their renewal date:

  • January – A & D
  • February – B
  • March – C & E
  • April – F, G, N
  • May – H, O
  • June – I, M
  • July – L, P
  • August – J, K, R
  • September – Q, S, T
  • October – U, V, W, X, Y, Z
  • November – Leased, commercial, and fleet vehicles must renew between October 1st and November 30th.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The list below contains frequently asked questions and answers. For more information, contact a local vehicle licensing office.

1. How to Get an Alabama Motor Vehicle Report

Residents can request a motor vehicle record by subscribing to Individuals with accounts can log onto the online portal to retrieve vehicle data, such as its registration and title record, vehicle information check, and abandoned car reports.

To learn more about the history of a used vehicle, enter the car’s information into the National Motor Vehicle Information System (NMVTIS).

2. Can I Have a Gun in My Car in Alabama?

Individuals with concealed carry permits from Alabama (or another approved state) can have a loaded handgun in their vehicle. Without the license, the driver can store the firearm in the car if unloaded and locked away in an unreachable compartment. The owner must have documentation stating they have legally acquired the gun (using a firearm bill of sale) or received a state-official license.

3. Does Alabama Require Car Inspections?

No, Alabama law does not require yearly vehicle inspections. However, the owner must endure a safety inspection before purchasing a new or used vehicle. Similarly, drivers of a rebuilt car must have it checked by a professional.

4. Does Alabama Have a Lemon Law On Used Cars?

No, Alabama does not have a lemon law on used vehicles; however, it covers new cars. A lemon law protects the buyer if they make a purchase that does not meet performance and quality standards. In other words, it guarantees the purchaser does not receive a fraudulent or defective car.

Since Alabama does not have a lemon law on used vehicles, buyers must take extra caution to ensure the car is safe and up-to-date. To avoid making an irresponsible purchase, the interested person(s) should take it for a test drive, check the vehicle’s history, and have it inspected before the sale (if possible).

5. Can You Register a Car Without a Title in Alabama?

No, an individual cannot register a car without a title in Alabama. The state requires the new owner to have the certificate of title, proof of insurance, and a signed bill of sale. Without a title or bill of sale, another person can legally claim the vehicle as their own, even if the buyer has rightfully paid the owner. Therefore, it prevents legal claims or disputes as the forms show the owner has lawfully acquired the car.