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If you have recently purchased a vehicle through a dealership or a private seller, you will need to apply for a car registration. All vehicles in your possession must be registered in your name to be driven legally in your state. You cannot typically apply for a new vehicle registration online or by mail. You must visit a DMV office in person to register a car. To make sure that you are fully prepared for the process, download our informative digital guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know to register your vehicle with ease. You will also learn how to replace or renew your car registration, and how to change your name or address.

2. By Mail

Some states allow residents to register cars by mail. However, these applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as temporarily residing out of state or having purchased the vehicle out of state. To obtain your new car registration by mail, you will need to send your completed application and all necessary documents (such as proof of ID, a bill of sale, an insurance card, etc.) to your local DMV office. You will also need to send in a check or money order for the full payment amount. Due to mailing and processing times, delays are common with the mail-in application method. It may take several weeks for you to receive your new car registration.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

In most instances, you will be required to get your car registration in person at a local DMV office. You must submit a filled-out application, proof of your identity, evidence of the car purchase and proof of auto insurance coverage for the vehicle. Additionally, you need to provide payment for all applicable fees, such as registration fees, titling fees and state taxes. Because many car owners are not sure which forms are required or which fees must be paid, application delays are common at the DMV. Additionally, any mistakes on DMV forms will add to your potential wait time for receiving your new registration.


Vehicle registration in Indiana is required for all vehicles because it allows the state to keep track of the vehicles that each resident owns. You will need to get Indiana DMV registration credentials whether you have a new car, a used car or a car that has previously been registered out of state. Though many of the required documents are similar for each type of vehicle, the processes are different. This is because dealerships often handle registration for new vehicles, while used car buyers or residents who have just moved from out of state will have to submit their own documentation.

In this article, you will learn all that you need to know about registering a car in Indiana: how much it costs, which inspections you need to get and more.

Indiana Car Registration Requirements

Though the processes vary between one transaction and the next, car registration requirements in Indiana are similar whether you are bringing in a car from a different state or if you are buying a car that is already located in Indiana. You should go through the registration process no more than 60 days after purchasing the car or bringing it into the state. If you do not, you will need to pay a late fee.

Here is what you need to register a car:

The other requirements will vary based on how you bought the car. Learn about them below.

Car Insurance Requirements for Registering a Car in Indiana

In order to register a car in Illinois, you must get insurance. This insurance must offer:

  • $25,000 worth of coverage for damage that occurs during the crash.
  • $25,000 worth of coverage for death or injury for each individual who is hurt or killed during the accident
  • $50,000 worth of coverage for death or injury that occurs during an accident

You are only required to have liability insurance. Insurance companies offer a variety of other plans that you can use to minimize your liability in the event of a crash, but these plans are not required. Once you have had your insurance policy for 60 days, the insurance company cannot cancel it without cause. If your company chooses to not renew your policy, they must inform you no less than 20 days before the policy is set to expire.

Vehicle Inspection Requirements in Indiana

You need to get a vehicle registration inspection in order to bring an out-of-state vehicle into Indiana. This includes vehicles that are manufactured out of state. The inspection needs to be performed by an officer of the law, licensed dealer or BMV employee.

In order to get a new car registration in Indiana counties of Lake and Porter, you need to get a smog inspection. Smog inspection offices are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Registering a Vehicle in Indiana

You will need to pay for car registration in Indiana no matter how you bought your car, as this registration allows the government to keep track of which resident owns which vehicle. The processes for getting new cars and used cars registered are different, because with new cars your registration will generally be handled by your dealer, while used car sales require you to get information from the seller that you then bring to the BMV.

Below you will learn how to register a car in Indiana, whether it is new or used.

How to Register a New Car in Indiana

When you buy a vehicle from an Indiana auto dealer, the registration process will be handled by the dealership. The dealership will already have most of the vehicle registration details they need in order to go through the process. You will need to give an agent at the dealership payment for the vehicle registration fees, but the dealer will handle the actual payment process.

If you have bought a new vehicle from an out-of-state dealer, you will need to consult the section below in order to determine how to register your vehicle.

Registering a Used Car in Indiana

When you buy a car from another Indiana resident, the title is transferred when it is signed over to you. There are two ways you can register a car in Indiana if it was previously owned by another Indiana resident, but both require the same documentation.

Here is what you need to register a car in Indiana if you have bought it from an Indiana seller:

  • Car title
  • Certificate of Compliance, which shows that you have the required amount of liability insurance
  • Driver’s License

You can get a car registration online in Indiana or in-person if you bought the vehicle no less than 60 days ago. If more time has lapsed since your purchase, you will need to go to the BMV to register your car in-person.

In order to register your vehicle online, you will need to log in to the BMV’s portal. If you do not already have an account, you will need to create one using your name, Social Security Number and Zip Code. You will be charged an extra fee for the convenience of using a credit card or debit card.

In order to register your car in person, you will simply need to bring the above documentation to a BMV location. An appointment is not required. Acceptable forms of payment may vary, so you will need to contact your office ahead of time to determine which forms of payment you may use.

How to Register a Car in Indiana as a New Resident

“How do I figure out where to register my car in Indiana?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions from new residents, but before you can get your registration, you need to title your vehicle. You will then need to bring the following to the BMV:

  • The vehicle’s title
  • Proof of your Social Security Number. This is usually a Social Security Card, but you may also use a 1099 or a W-2 form.
  • Proof of your address, which can be a bill, mortgage, voter registration card or other official document that shows both your name and address
  • Either the vehicle or a filled-out Physical Inspection of a Vehicle or Watercraft – State Form 39530

You cannot register a vehicle online in Indiana if you are a new resident, because the BMV needs to examine your documentation in person. Once you have been declared a resident of the state, you have 60 days to complete the registration process.

Vehicle Registration for Military Members in Indiana

Indiana car registration services are similar for service members and civilians. However, there are two important differences.

The first is that service members are not charged a late penalty if they fail to renew their vehicle on time.

The second is that there are no residency requirements when getting or renewing your registration. This means that if you are a new resident of the state who is currently serving in the military, you have the option to get your car registered in Indiana, but you are not required to do so.

Indiana car registration cost is the same for civilians and military personnel.

Indiana License Plates

Once you have submitted the car registration form in Indiana along with the required documents, you will be able to apply for a license plate. There are a variety of plates available, and a portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting specific causes and organizations. Once you have applied for your plate, you will need to wait to receive it in the mail. The vehicle registration renewal date will be listed on the plate’s sticker, along with the name of the county where the vehicle was registered.

Indiana Car Registration Fees

How much is car registration in Indiana? The price you have to pay for car registration may vary depending on whether you submit your registration on time and where you get your vehicle inspected. The fees are as follows:

  • Car registration costs $21.35 per year.
  • The late fee is $15.

If you choose to get your vehicle inspected outside of a BMV office, you may be charged a fee, but this fee can be no more than $5.

Last updated on Wednesday, November 28 2018.

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