December 16, 2014

How to Register a Used Car in Oklahoma

So you came to The KEY and got a great deal on a used car in Oklahoma City, and you’re ready to put the pedal down and start cruising. Not so fast – one of the most important, and often confusing, parts of getting a car is still ahead. You’ll need to register the car in your name at a tag agency.

There are several steps to properly registering a car in Oklahoma. You’ll have to complete all of these steps, and you’ll have to do them within 30 days of getting your used car – otherwise you could be subject to penalties and fees when you do register.

Step 1: Get Insured

Insurance should be the first step any time you get a car, but many people neglect to add their cars to their insurance policies right away. This is a big risk for drivers: along with having to pay a large fine, you could get several points added to your driver’s license or even lose your license entirely. In Oklahoma, the law even allows police officers to seize your license plate until you can show proof of insurance, effectively preventing you – or anyone else – from driving that car at all.

Fortunately it isn’t difficult to add a car to your insurance policy. Most of the time you can do it over the phone in just a few minutes. To add a new car to your policy, call your insurance provider and give them the following information:

  • The make, model, and year of the vehicle you want to add.
  • The VIN of the vehicle (usually found at the bottom corner of the windshield in front of the driver’s seat).
  • The odometer (mileage) reading from the vehicle.

You’ll also have to choose a coverage level for the car, ranging from liability coverage up to comprehensive collision and injury coverage. Which one you choose depends on your own preferences and driving habits; ask your insurance agent if you have questions about the different coverage levels.

Once this is finished you’ll need proof of insurance for the vehicle. Often the insurance agency will fax or email you a temporary insurance card for the car that you can use until you get the real one in the mail.

Step 2: Gather Your Papers

Before going to the tag agency, you’ll need to get your paperwork in order. To register a car in Oklahoma you’ll need to present the following papers at the tag agency:

  • A filled “Application for Oklahoma Certificate of Title for a Vehicle” form. Note that you SHOULD NOT sign this form yet – you need to sign it in front of the notary at the tag agency and get the form notarized.
  • Three forms of identification, at least one of which must be a photo ID. Good forms of ID include a valid driver’s license, a passport, a certified birth certificate, a Social Security card, a marriage certificate, or any military ID or Bureau of Indian Affairs tribal ID card.
  • The vehicle’s old title (which we at The KEY will transfer to you).
  • A bill of sale or declaration of purchase price, showing the total cost of the vehicle.
  • Proof of insurance.

Remember – don’t go to the tag agency empty-handed. The only way you’ll be able to register your used car is if you’re prepared and have all the materials they need.

Step 3: Don’t Forget Your Checkbook

One of the toughest parts about registering a car in Oklahoma is paying the taxes and fees. It can help to calculate the amount of money you’ll have to pay when you get to the tag agency beforehand – that way you can ensure you have enough in your checking account or in your wallet to cover the costs.

There are two major costs when registering your used Oklahoma car: the registration fees, and the excise tax.

Registration fee is based on how long you’ve owned the vehicle. Since you’re registering a new (to you) car, you’ll have to pay the full $91.00 registration fee. After you’ve had the car for four years, the fee goes down to $81.00 and decreases in four-year intervals from there. Registering for a new title also carries a fee – $17.00 in Oklahoma.

The second, often much bigger, cost is the vehicle excise tax. In Oklahoma you must pay the entire excise tax at once, when you register the car. Excise tax is based on the sale value of the car, so you’ll have to calculate it yourself. To calculate the excise tax, follow this formula:

Excise Tax Amount = $20.00 on first $1,500.00 of car value + 3.25% on the remainder

Here’s an example. For a car with a total sale price of $15,000, the excise tax would be:

$20.00 on the first $1,500 of the sale price, plus
3.25% on the remainder, which is ($13,500 x .0325) = $438.75

So the total excise tax on a $15,000 car is $458.75. Of course, your excise tax will be different depending on the total sale price of the car you’re buying. For many buyers the excise tax is a substantial amount, so make sure you have some extra cash saved up to pay the tax and the registration and title fees.

Step 4: Go to the Tag Agency

Once you have your insurance, your paperwork, and your fees and taxes in order, it’s time to head to the tag agency and finish your registration. Since you already have everything in order it should be relatively quick and painless for you to register your car. Additionally, the tag agency employees will definitely appreciate how prepared you are.

That’s it! You’re ready to get on the road and enjoy your quality used car from The KEY. Just be sure to drive safe and enjoy!


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