Car registration is an important legal requirement in all states. It is essential to register your car at least once every year to have the legal right to own and use it. You cannot get the vehicle registration plate or the tag for your car if it isn’t registered.
But, what are the legal and procedural requirements to register your car? Are there any conditions you need to fulfil before you can register your vehicle?
Let’s look at some of the common questions regarding car registration.
Table of Contents
- 1 Can You Register Your Car Without Insurance?
- 2 What Happens If You Don’t Have Insurance In Your Car?
- 3 Can I Get Car Insurance Without Registration?
- 4 Do You Have To Have Insurance To Tag A Car?
- 5 Do You Need Insurance To Renew Registration?
- 6 Can You Register A Car Without A License?
- 7 How Do I Get My Car Registered?
Can You Register Your Car Without Insurance?
Do you need insurance to register a car? For most states, insurance is a requirement for registration with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In case of an accident, the state needs to be shown that you will be able to pay for your damages before they can register the car in your name. Some states allow you to register your car first but to show the proof of insurance within 30 days of registering. Failure to do so can result in termination of your registration, license and a fine.
Out of all the 50 states, only two allow you to register your car without insurance. They are the State of Virginia and the State of New Hampshire. But that does not mean you can drive your car without any liability. Virginia requires it’s drivers to pay a $500 motor vehicle fee if they choose to not get vehicle insurance. Similarly, in New Hampshire, drivers need to provide proof of income or securities that can be used in case of an accident. Normally, car owners in both these states tend to get insurance as it provides sufficient proof of coverage in case of any damages incurred.
What Happens If You Don’t Have Insurance In Your Car?
Not having insurance is considered a serious offence and is punishable by heavy fines and/or jail time and confiscation of your vehicle and license. Hence, as a responsible driver, you must keep your local DMV updated about any insurance policy changes as well as any renewals in the insurance.
Can I Get Car Insurance Without Registration?
Absolutely. Many car buyers tend to get insurance before they go and collect the vehicle from the dealership. However, the same is not true the other way around ie you normally cannot get your car registered without insurance.
Do You Have To Have Insurance To Tag A Car?
A tag is a sticker that is issued by the state DMV upon the registration of a vehicle. The sticker is renewed each year when the registration is renewed. The tag contains a set of digits that represent the year for which the tag is valid, and some tags also have the name of the state and the car’s license number on it as well. It is normally placed on a clearly visible place on your car, like the corner of your license plate.
Driving without a tag is a criminal offence in many states. Since you obtain a car tag after registering your vehicle, and you normally need insurance to register, that means you do need to have insurance to tag your car. There is no other way to get a tag for your car.
Do You Need Insurance To Renew Registration?
You will be required to present a valid and updated insurance card or proof of insurance when you go for renewing your vehicle registration annually. Some insurance companies provide electronic verification of insurance that can be used to apply for registration online. Your state DMV’s notice of vehicle registration will normally outline all the documents you need for reaffirming your car’s registration and in what manner can they be presented for this purpose.
Can You Register A Car Without A License?
Where there is no law barring a person from buying a car without a license, registering a car without a license is a bit tricky. This is because obtaining insurance without a license is tough. If you don’t have a license or have a suspended license, you will not be able to get the insurance in your name. That does not mean that you won’t be able to get insurance at all. You can include a close family member or a trustworthy friend as the primary driver for the car. The insurance company will then provide coverage based on the listed primary driver’s record. Keep in mind that you will not be legally authorised to drive the car.
Once you have obtained insurance in the primary driver’s name, you may file for registering the car in their name as well. The title deed of the car must have the name of the primary driver on it for it to be registered.
How Do I Get My Car Registered?
There are a few steps involved in registering your car. We already know getting auto insurance is one of them, whether you’re registering your car for the first time or renewing your registration.
How To Register Your Car For The First Time?
Things to consider when going for registration for the first time include:
- A valid driver’s license in the name of the primary driver of the car.
- Paid sales tax receipt if your state requires it. Some states exempt car owners from sales tax requirement at the time of registration so check with your local DMV.
- Car title or lease agreement or sale receipt in the name of the primary driver holding a valid driver’s license.
- A legitimate and sound car inspection clearance certificate.
- If you have an older car, and depending on the state you are in, you will need to get a smog test certificate for getting it registered.
- A properly filled vehicle registration certificate form.
- Car registration payment
How To Renew The Registration Of Your Car?
If your car was registered but you now want to renew your registration, you’ll need to have a slightly different set of documents. Documents for renewing the registration of your include
- The driver’s license number
- The vehicle’s license plate number
- The VIN of your car
- Auto insurance
- Your vehicle registration book, also known as the logbook.
To enjoy the full benefits of your car as well as to drive it without fear of mishaps, getting it insured and registered is a key requirement. Though it may seem technical, the effort of getting your vehicle legally on the road is worth it.