How to register a car in New Jersey


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UPDATED: 2020-03-25T18:09:11.313Z
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Cars driving in New Jersey on a cloudy day on the NJ Turnpike to Atlantic City.

Each state has laws governing how and when a car must be registered in the state, and New Jersey is no exception. If you’ve just purchased a vehicle through a private sale in New Jersey, or if you’re planning on moving to New Jersey from another state, you’ll need to register your car.

This post will walk you through how to register a car in New Jersey, including why you need to register your car, what you’ll need to bring with you to register your car, and where you should go to complete the task.

Why do I need to register my car in New Jersey?

Every state requires registration of vehicles that owners intend to drive on the roads. Registration establishes a connection between a car on the road and the vehicle’s rightful owner.

States have a strong interest in maintaining a database of this information. In addition to ensuring that the correct taxes are paid, having a record of the vehicle’s legal owner makes it easier to identify a car that has been stolen. Additionally, registrations and renewals ensure that the cars on the road remain safe to drive. This protects both the operator of the car and others who are sharing the road.

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What do I need to bring with me to register my car in New Jersey?

When you go to register your car in New Jersey, you’ll need to bring a few documents with you. To make the best use of your time, get your documentation together before heading over.

If you will be moving to New Jersey, it’s important to know that you are required under New Jersey law to transfer your vehicle’s title and registration within 60 days of your move. If you miss this deadline, you may have to pay a fine.

If you haven’t packed for your move yet, make note of what documents you’ll need and put them together to take with you. They will be easier to find, and you won’t have to rush to unpack boxes (or worse, dig through a storage unit) if you are running up against the deadline to register.

Here’s what you’ll need to bring with you to a New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission office to register your vehicle:

  • The title of the vehicle
  • Your driver’s license or other approved ID (read about New Jersey’s “6 Points of ID” for more information on accepted forms of identification)
  • If someone other than the purchaser of the vehicle will be signing the documents, you will need to bring a power of attorney
  • If the vehicle is leased, you will need to have information on the lien holder and the financing statement
  • A New Jersey vehicle insurance card, or the company name and a policy number
  • A form of payment for the fees you will be assessed, including a titling fee (this varies depending on if it’s a standard title, or if the vehicle has one or two liens), a registration fee, and a sales tax fee. Payment could be in the form of credit card, check payable to NJMVC, money order, or cash.

The above-listed items will cover most vehicle registrations. However, there are some situations that may require additional documentation. If the vehicle doesn’t have a title because it was purchased at auction or was transferred from a state that does not issue titles, review the state’s website for additional information on what you’ll need to bring with you.

What will I get done at the New Jersey motor vehicle agency?

If you own your vehicle and have the title with you, you’ll be asked to complete a Universal Title Application and a Vehicle Registration Application. Once the forms are filled out, documents are inspected, and you’ve paid the required fees, you’ll receive your New Jersey title along with your license plates, a registration card, and a temporary inspection card.

If the vehicle is leased or financed, the New Jersey title will be mailed to the lienholder. In addition to your license plates, registration card, and temporary inspection card, you will receive a receipt for the title.

Do I need to have proof of insurance in New Jersey?

Yes! New Jersey requires that all drivers carry three types of mandatory insurance. When you register your vehicle, proof of insurance will need to reflect coverage for liability, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage.

In New Jersey, drivers have the option to choose from two types of car insurance coverage plans: basic or standard. The basic option is cheaper but provides drivers with less coverage. Your right to sue is also affected by the policy you choose.

New Jersey coverage options and minimum limits:

Basic policy:

  • Property damage liability, $5,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection (PIP), $15,000 per person, per accident
  • Severe injuries, up to $250,000

Standard policy:

  • Bodily injury, $15,000 per person
  • Bodily injury, $30,000 per accident
  • Property damage, $5,000 per accident
  • Personal injury protection (PIP), $15,000 per person, per accident
  • Severe injuries, up to $250,000

With either policy option, you can also purchase comprehensive or collision coverage as well as higher limits on any of the coverages.

For more information about New Jersey car insurance requirements and to see what companies consumers say are the best in the state, visit Clearsurance’s New Jersey car insurance page.

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