Selling Your Registered Car in Germany: What You Need to Know
Do you sell in Germany? Know the laws & practices for insurance, registration, taxes.
Are you looking to sell your car but don't want to go through the hassle of deregistering it first? Good news - it is completely legal to sell your car while it is still registered in your name. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before you list your car for sale.
Insurance is Transferred to the Buyer
One of the most important things to consider when selling a registered car is that the insurance policy is transferred to the buyer. This means that if the buyer has an accident with your former car, you are not liable for any damages. It's worth noting that this doesn't affect your own no-claims class on your insurance policy. However, it's important to remember that you are still responsible for informing both your insurance company and the registration office about the sale of the car. Failing to do so can result in you continuing to pay insurance premiums and vehicle tax until the buyer deregisters the car.
To avoid this, you can include a deposit agreement in the purchase contract. This means that the buyer is contractually obligated to deregister the car by a certain date, and you can retain part of the deposit for each day that the deadline is not met. This is a fair solution for both parties.
Transferring the Vehicle Title
Another important aspect to consider when selling a registered car is transferring the vehicle title to the new owner. In Germany, the vehicle title is known as the Fahrzeugbrief or the Zulassungsbescheinigung Teil I. This document proves ownership of the car and must be transferred to the new owner during the sale process. It is the responsibility of the seller to ensure that the vehicle title is transferred to the buyer, and it is the buyer's responsibility to register the car in their name.
Roadworthy Certificate (Hauptuntersuchung or HU)
When selling a car in Germany, it is also important to consider the roadworthy certificate or Hauptuntersuchung (HU). This certificate is required for all cars over 4 years old and verifies that the car is safe to drive on the road. If the car has a valid HU certificate, it can be transferred to the new owner during the sale process. If the car does not have a valid HU certificate, the buyer will be required to obtain one before registering the car in their name.
Vehicle Taxes and Fees
There are also various vehicle taxes and fees to consider when selling a car in Germany. These include the motor vehicle tax (Kraftfahrzeugsteuer), the vehicle licensing fee (Kfz-Versicherung), and the registration fee (Zulassungsstelle). It is important to ensure that all of these taxes and fees have been paid before selling the car, as the new owner will be responsible for paying them once the car is registered in their name.
Understanding the Exclusion of Liability for Material Defects (Ausschluss von Sachmängelhaftung)
When you sell a used car privately in Germany, it is not uncommon to omit a warranty from the purchase contract. This is because liability for material defects is typically covered by the "Ausschluss von Sachmängelhaftung" or “exclusion of liability for material defects”. The statutory warranty period is usually one year from the date of purchase. It's important to note that this liability only applies to defects that were present at the time of delivery and does not cover normal signs of wear and tear. Additionally, for contracts concluded after January 1, 2022, the seller is required to inform the buyer of any unusual signs of wear and tear and may be liable for them if they do not do so. So, to protect both yourself and the buyer, it's a good idea to research and be aware of your responsibilities and obligations under the "Ausschluss von Sachmängelhaftung" when selling it.
Special Case: Car is Without TÜV, but Registered
There are certain circumstances in which a car might be registered but not have a valid TÜV (technical inspection). In these cases, it is still possible to sell the car, but it may be more difficult to find a buyer. Since there are no short-term license plates available for cars without a TÜV, the potential buyer will not be able to test drive the car. They will only be allowed to drive the car to a nearby TÜV station.
It's worth noting that deregistering a car without an MOT can result in fines. The longer the car goes without a TÜV, the more expensive the fines will be. Additionally, the buyer will be required to have the main inspection (HU) carried out before registering the car.
Selling a registered car doesn't have to be a hassle. Just be sure to inform your insurance company and the registration office about the sale, and consider including a deposit agreement in the purchase contract to ensure that the buyer deregisters the car in a timely manner. If you're looking to sell a registered car without an MOT, keep in mind that it may be more difficult to find a buyer and you could face fines.
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