Brit's touring in the US

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didicoy

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Sep 16, 2018
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Hi guys I'm a Brit Just purchased a Ford F250 (1996) and an Airstream Excella 31 (1985) and plan to tour the US for 3-4 months from now and perhaps longer next year. I have a B1/2 visa and have joined Escapees RV for US address. But could do with some help on a) insurance for both vehicles deducibles, what normal for these etc, b) getting Texas tags (registration) can I do it before I get there? (pickup's in Montana at present)  and c) anything else I should deal with. Arriving in US end of this month

Thanks
Kevin M
 

prfcdoc

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Livingston, TX,
Can't help with all, but you'll definitely have to get the truck registration done once it's in Texas. It will have to have a Texas inspection and then registered with the state. You can get temporary paperwork as far as I know. Even though I've lived here most of my life I never had to deal with doing these things from a distance. If you will contact Escapees they can help you with some of your questions. I'm a member and have found them to be remarkably helpful. Welcome to the forum and to the US.
Bob
 

jackiemac

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Hi and welcome. The only place we could get insurance was with Good Sam (National General) because we don't have US driving licence/history....

Can't help with registration but the DMV are usually good at responding to emails.  Make sure it is the official website though....

Good luck.
 

Tom

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[quote author=jackiemac]The only place we could get insurance was with Good Sam (National General) because we don't have US driving licence/history....[/quote]

Aye Jackie, when we first came to the US, we were able to get vehicle insurance from one of the major companies but, due to no US driving history, we paid double the premium. One year later, they halved the premium.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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A complication in the USA is that vehicle registration tags and title are done by the individual states, so it's a hassle if you buy in one state and need to get to another to do paperwork. A Montana dealer can probably get temporary tag to allow you to drive to Texas for the permanent tag & title, but a private seller doesn't have that capability. You have to go to the DMV in Montana and apply your self.  Check with the Montana Dept of Motor Vehicles (DMV) about the procedure for obtaining a temporary transport tag.

Any applicable sales or excise taxes are also handled at the state level. Montana has no sales tax, but Texas does and you may have to pay it when you get there if the truck is not already titled elsewhere. You might actually be better off getting it titled and registered in Montana and transferring it to Texas later.  You will need to research that to figure out.


Insurance deductibles are a personal choice about risk. There are no deductible for liability coverage, but the coverage for damage to your vehicles can be anywhere form zero on up.  If you feel confident you won't be making a claim, select a high deductible and save money on the premiums. If worries about the likely cost of an accident, select a low or no deductible. Many people compromise with a deductible of around $200, but $500 or $1000 can save you money. When getting insurance quotes, as for premium costs at various levels of deductible and make your choice.
 

jackiemac

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Tom said:
Aye Jackie, when we first came to the US, we were able to get vehicle insurance from one of the major companies but, due to no US driving history, we paid double the premium. One year later, they halved the premium.
Our premium has remained constant!!
 

Tom

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You might want to question/challenge that Jackie. OTOH you've only been part time in the US, whereas we were full time.
 

Isaac-1

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The problem answering your question is that the rules and rates for registration, insurance and taxation varies from state to state.    The big issue here is to try to avoid paying taxes twice, once in the state where you buy it, and once as "use tax" in the state where you register it.  Also expect Texas to be very slow about issuing  permanent Title paperwork, I live in Louisiana (Title is proof of ownership, registration is paying for your license plate), I live in Louisiana about 20 miles from Texas, my wife has bought her last 2 cars as used cars  in Texas, both times from dealerships and both times  the 60 (90?) day temporary paper plates were within a week of expiring, before the Texas paperwork arrived that would allow her to get permanent Louisiana plates.

I bought my current coach in Florida, and drove it home to Lousiaina, thankfully I was able to get a Louisiana temporary plate from my bank who financed the coach  to drive it home instead of  dealing with the Florida DMV, as the standard Florida procedure is to pay 8% tax to get a temporary plate, drive to the home state, pay tax again, then one has to file paperwork with Florida to refund the difference if the Florida, assuming they have a  receptacle tax agreement, which at the time they did have with more states, though I think North Carolina was an exception.    So buyers from NC buying in FL would be stuck paying tax twice.

As to the rest of it I have personally seen sales tax on vehicles range from 3%-9% depending on the state, my state charges 9% of the book value of a vehicle when it is brought into the state and registered here.  A number of  years ago I moved back to Louisiana after living in Alabama for 6 years, while in Alabama I bought a car, put 90,000 miles on it, and paid more in use taxes to Louisiana when I moved back than I had paid to Alabama when the car was brand new.  Note with my state the 9% is on book value, not actual sales price, so even if you get a great price buying out of  state you still pay on the higher book value.  Of course by contrast registration in Louisiana was $25 per year and it was over $250 in Alabama.    That reminds me I need to renew the registration on my motorhome next month ($50 for  2 years yay ) thanks to it being over 12 years old.  I renewed it for my 8 year old car last month at I think $65 per year.    I recently read on another site where some new expensive diesel pusher owners are paying $3,500+ per year for registration in California and New York.
 

jackiemac

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Tom said:
You might want to question/challenge that Jackie. OTOH you've only been part time in the US, whereas we were full time.
I will. Premium has gone up a little but will maybe try some other companies too.
 

didicoy

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Sep 16, 2018
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thanks all currently stuffing a 40ft container heading back to the UK so email may be a bit hit and miss for a couple of weeks but I will read all replies.

Might get somewhere with Good Sam but think I will have to phone them.

Purchased both sight unseen but did check sellers on Social media and have exchanged emails since
 

Murray

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Hi Didicoy,
Can you please expand on the escapees rv club? How can you use them as an address for registration? (And insurance?)
Desperate to find out how to register an RV in the US without living there as we want to tour for a few months per year, but live on a boat doing the same thing elsewhere!
thank you
Murray
 

Murray

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Sep 23, 2018
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Also, spoke to Good Sam this morning, (you do have to phone them - free on skype) they will take the storage address for insurance purposes, apparently. (didn't get a quote yet though)
 

Isaac-1

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Escapees RV club is a group that was founded several decades ago, they offer a variety of services aimed at full time RV travelers.  https://www.escapees.com/  Their headquarters is in Livingston Texas (about 200 miles from where I live), they also operate a few campgrounds, and have some sort of camping club system, along with mail forwarding services, hold member rallies, provide RV bootcamp education, ... even a retirement campground for full timers that can no longer travel.
 

Murray

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So can you just join escapees rv and sign up for their mailing service, then use that address to register the vehicle - sounds too simple??
 

didicoy

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Escapees will provide an address its the insurance that's causing the problem as soon as a I mention i'm not American its all seems to be too much trouble
 

jackiemac

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didicoy said:
Escapees will provide an address its the insurance that's causing the problem as soon as a I mention i'm not American its all seems to be too much trouble
We had the same issue, called several and only three would insure us, Good Sam was the one we chose.
 

Murray

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Good Sam can only find Foremost insurance for insuring visitors limited by the B2visa 6 month limit.
 

Tom

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Maybe I'm oversimplifying this, but ...

When we first came to the US we were on B1/B2 visas and lived temporarily in a hotel. We bought a new car from a dealership, and an insurance agent (found through Yellow Pages) met me in a restaurant at 10pm to write the insurance. I don't recall mentioning that we were not US citizens, nor that we were visiting on a visa, although we discussed the fact that we had 'just arrived' and compared the differences between UK and US insurance. The only negative was the fact that we didn't have 12 months of history driving in the US, so we had to buy a different policy from him at a higher premium; When the 12 months was up, our premium dropped 50%. This 12 months minimum driving record was independent of how long we'd lived in the US.

Several years later we bought our first RV (new from a dealer) and I merely called the insurance agent to arrange coverage. Somewhere in my later discussions with the agent I asked about the cost of 6 months vs 12 months insurance; He explained that they assumed an RV would be used only 6 months a year (excluding fulltimers), and that there wouldn't be any difference in the premium for 6 vs 12 months. This might be something you need to ask prospective insurers. If there's no difference in the premium, why not insure for 12 months? This would give you coverage for damage or fire loss for however long the RV is in storage.
 

jackiemac

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Murray said:
Good Sam can only find Foremost insurance for insuring visitors limited by the B2visa 6 month limit.
We are with National General via Good Sam so not sure what this means.  Maybe it has changed.
 
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