Title, tags & Insurance questions

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georgeann

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Jan 29, 2006
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The Pennsylvania RV dealer I am working with is close to the Maryland border. When I asked about smog checks, he mentioned that if it is titled in Maryland it doesn't need additional smog checks after the first one. But I think he inferred that PA is different.

I currently use a Virginia address as my permanent address for my auto title, tags, license etc. But mostly I've been traveling the past few years.

Are there benefits to titling an RV in one state over another?

Also previous to Virginia my car had Washington state title and tags. When I parked it for six months while I went to Europe it was OK to drop the insurance and not return the tags. When I came back I just called Geico to reactivate the policy.

So if you park a RV for many months like Florida in the winter, can you drop the insurance if you are not going to drive it?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Each of your questions must be answered on a state-by-state basis, as state laws vary considerably.

And yes, it can make a big difference where the RV is titled and, for insurance purposes,  where it is "principally garaged". That's an insurance term for the area in which the vehicle normally lives, which may be different from where the owner actually lives. By default, though, it is the same as the owner's home address.

Vehicle registration fees and associated taxes (if any) and insurance costs are highly dependent on the state of registration and the "principal garage".  Florida, for example, is dirt cheap on annual registration, moderately expensive on insurance, and has no vehicle inspection requirements.  You can suspend insurance when a vehicle is not in use but you have to surrender the plates to a DMV office to  hold during that time or you are considered to be driving without insurance.

Whether you can escape vehicle taxes by registering elsewhere will depend on your home state's laws. Many states take a dim view of out of state registrations that are primarily intended to avoid taxes.
 

georgeann

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Gary wrote: Florida, for example, is dirt cheap on annual registration, moderately expensive on insurance, and has no vehicle inspection requirements.

I just called Geico. My auto is titled, tagged & insured in Virginia. Since I'm considering spending time in Florida in the RV, I asked for a liability policy for a RV there. They quoted 556.20 for six months. Then the agent said it is because rates are higher in Florida, that the same car I insure for 247.50/six months would be 611 in Florida.

I'm reconsidering Florida for a few reasons. I grew up there until I was 21. I can't handle summer humidity. If I left it there in the summers, huricanes might damage it.

I've consider areas near Las Vegas or Phoenix as long term retirement options. Mostly I need to be near a swimming pool for daily exercise. Mexico might even be a good choice.

 

Bob McNabb

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RV Roamer said:
Each of your questions must be answered on a state-by-state basis, as state laws vary considerably.

And yes, it can make a big difference where the RV is titled and, for insurance purposes,? where it is "principally garaged". That's an insurance term for the area in which the vehicle normally lives, which may be different from where the owner actually lives. By default, though, it is the same as the owner's home address.

You can suspend insurance when a vehicle is not in use but you have to surrender the plates to a DMV office to? hold during that time or you are considered to be driving without insurance.

As an insurance broker, I've sometimes had a potential customer who is interested in my responding to hypothetical questions and then fashioning their insurance to "fit" that hypothetical situation. It really is necessary that insurers get the "whole nine yards" upfront, as any claims that follow will certainly result in the insurer's feeling that they they didn't get the truth....and the agent or broker didn't submit corrent information.

Florida has higher insurance costs because the hurricane exposure is obvious. The larger metropolitan areas are also famous for careless drivers, so liability rates are higher.

If somebody wishes to claim one state for registration, another for insurance and maybe still another to vote, then something is going to go haywire....sometime. As RV Roamer writes, the "home address" is usually the guide to where one votes, picks up mail and spends the majority of their time. Surely, one can take a few months roaming around anywhere in the USA and still call that address "home". Home can also be a spot where insurance rates are high and where taxes are outrageous and license fees horrible.

A sidenote on suspending insurance while one is "away"....I refuse to even consider this for any client as I've seen many claims where the vehicle/RV was damaged and even when stored inside buldings while the owner was away. Here in CA, you have to trun in your tags because the tags are issued with evidence of insurance (financial responsibility laws).
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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georgeann
For what its worth, I'm Florida based and paying $840/year for motorhome insurance (broad coverage, including fulltime use and full replacement value) and about $860/year for our small SUV. Both would be somewhat higher in south Florida (Miami-Ft Lauderdale area), where uninsured motorist coverage, collision and liability rates are all higher.
 

Jim Dick

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georgeann said:
The Pennsylvania RV dealer I am working with is close to the Maryland border. When I asked about smog checks, he mentioned that if it is titled in Maryland it doesn't need additional smog checks after the first one. But I think he inferred that PA is different.

I currently use a Virginia address as my permanent address for my auto title, tags, license etc. But mostly I've been traveling the past few years.

There are benefits to registering in one state over another but you need to check all the requirements. We had thought about registering in MD several years ago and were told we needed a MD driver's license. If we were stopped with another state's license we would get a ticket.

SD seems to be the easiest state for registering and I think their sales tax is around 3%. Many register in TX using the Escapees address which also seems easy and some register in OR but that state really looks for non residents registering.
 

davem1958

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Mar 16, 2006
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34
A follow-up question:  what are some good options for a full-timer who has no permanent address?  I do not own a house, and I do not pay anyone rent.  Currently my mail is delivered to a local UPS store.  I'm in Georiga, and I know the ad valorem tax is going to be steep.  My employment contract is thru June 2006, and after that I can pretty much go anywhere to find my next contract.

Any advice appreciated!

Dave
 

Jim Dick

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Dave,

You could join Escapees and become a TX resident. They handle everything and many people never visit their address which would be Rainbow Drive in Livingston. I don't know the cost of registering in TX but several members here do. South Dakota is another option.
 

John From Detroit

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Apr 12, 2005
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Davison Michigan
Bob McNabb said:
A sidenote on suspending insurance while one is "away"....I refuse to even consider this for any client as I've seen many claims where the vehicle/RV was damaged and even when stored inside buldings while the owner was away. Here in CA, you have to trun in your tags because the tags are issued with evidence of insurance (financial responsibility laws).

Side note on your side note:

I have a friend who happens to own some Heilcopters (Metro Copers Inc) and one day he called up his insurance agent:

Pat: "A telephone pole just hit my copter"

Agent: "What"

Pat: "A telephone pole just hit my copter"

Now, as you know, it's not normal for a telephone pole (Whch is usually a fixed object) to hit a 'copter (Which normally is the moving object) usually it happens the other way around.

However in Pat's case that is exactly what happend.  His  bird was grounded, (tied down) INSIDE the hanger, it was going no place at all.... They were working on the roof of the hanger and in order to support the men and equipment they had added temporary supports in the form of telephone poles wedged  between the roof and the floor of the hanger.

A large wind came  by and due to aerodynamic principles "Lifted" the roof, just enough that one of the supporting poles fell over... Right on top of Pat's 'copter.


Just an example of "The vehicle being damaged and even when stored inside buldings while the owner was away"
 

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