If you sell or buy a trailer in California, you need a California Trailer Bill of Sale to register the sale and transfer of ownership. A trailer bill of sale is a legal document that outlines the transaction details, including the price, trailer description, and any warranties or guarantees.
A Trailer Bill of Sale in California authenticates the sale. If you’re the buyer, you need it to register your trailer with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) program.
Registering a Trailer in California
After purchasing a trailer from a private party, you need to register your trailer with the DMV and transfer ownership to yourself within ten days. The seller must also register the transfer of ownership with the DMV within five days.
You can do so by mailing your completed form to the DMV or visiting a DMV field office.
What Documents are Required to Register a Trailer in California?
To register a trailer in California, you need to present the following documents at the DMV:
- Application for title or registration (Form REG 343)
- Verification of vehicle (Form REG 31)
- Trailer Bill of Sale
- Statement of Facts (Form REG 256)
- Permanent Trailer Identification (PTI) Application and Certification (REG 4017) Form, unless it’s a park trailer or trailer coach
- Driver’s license
What Are the Fees to Register a Trailer in California?
The fees you will pay depend on some factors, including:
- The vehicle type
- The purchase price
- The county/city you live in
- Whether your trailer has any special license plate
There are several fees involved in registering your trailer:
- Registration fee. Use the DMV fee calculator to determine what’s applicable in your case.
- Permanent Trailer Identification fee. This is applicable if your trailer is not a trailer coach or a park trailer. The registration fee is $20, and a $10 renewal every five years. Trailers under the PTI program pay a different set of fees.
- Vehicle License fee. Paid for tax purposes. You can use the vehicle license fee calculator to determine what’s payable.
- Title Transfer fee. $15 or $20 for out-of-state trailers.
- Smog Abatement Fee. This is applicable if your trailer does not require a smog inspection.
Do You Need Insurance on Your Travel Trailer in California?
Yes, travel trailers are like other vehicles and need insurance coverage. You can choose to purchase a travel trailer insurance policy. However, it’s not compulsory to do so. You can simply cover it under your existing auto insurance policy.
How Do You Get a Certificate of Title for Your Trailer in California?
This depends on whether you are the lienholder/legal owner or the registered owner. The DMV does not automatically issue a Certificate of Title to PTI trailers unless there is a lienholder or legal owner.
If you are the legal owner, the DMV will issue a paper title or create an Electronic Lien and Title (ELT) record. However, if you are the registered owner, you must request a California Certificate of Title by filling out and submitting form REG 4017.
California Trailer Bill of Sale Sample
Download a California trailer bill of sale template below in PDF or Word format: