Can You Register a Vehicle in a Different State?

Can you register a vehicle in a different state? While the answer can vary based on state-by-state rules, most states want you to register and get a license in their state so they can collect the taxes and fees. Some states, however, let you register your vehicle there no matter where you’re based.

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Joseph Anthony
June 30, 2020
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From living in two states to wanting to save on car insurance, there are many reasons why you might want to register your vehicle in a different state than what’s on your driver’s license. But can you register a vehicle in a different state? Simply put, it depends.

In South Dakota, for example, you don’t have to have an SD driver’s license to register your vehicles in The Mount Rushmore State. Other states that let you register your vehicles with an out-of-state license include:

  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania

Can I Own a Car in Another State?

Let’s say you’re going to school in one state but live permanently in another. Maybe you’re military personnel stationed in one state with a home address in another. Can you own a car in the state where you attend school or serve? The answer, in most cases, is yes. It might even be a good idea. Most state laws require you to register your car and obtain insurance in the state where it is driven most. This means you can own a car in another state.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. It might be wise to check with the licensing and registration agency in your state to confirm the laws and requirements.

Let’s look and see what a few states required for car ownership and vehicle registration from out of state.

California 

According to California information about titles and registration, you are required to obtain CA registration and insurance if the vehicle is primarily used in California. This means that if you operate your vehicle more in California than where you live or are domiciled, you might have to register your motor vehicle in the Golden State.

Delaware

Delaware has unique rules about car registration. If a car owner is a resident of another state, they aren’t required to register their car in Delaware even if they primarily drive and garage their car in Delaware. You can register your car in Delaware if you aren’t a legal resident of the state as long as you own at least one other car that is registered in your state of residence.

Florida 

Florida sees a lot of part-time residents from out of state. If you remain a resident of another state, you may operate your vehicle in Florida without registering or obtaining auto insurance in the sunshine state. However, if you start a job in Florida, you might be required to register your vehicle there. 

Georgia

New residents must register their vehicles within 30 days. Residents of other states who are staying in Georgia for more than 30 days must register their vehicle in the Peach State.

Illinois

You may operate your out of state vehicle in Illinois as long as it is properly registered in your state of residence. There is no requirement about registering your vehicle in Illinois as long as you are domiciled or a resident of another state and your vehicle is registered there. However, if you are a business operating in Illinois, you must register your motor vehicle in the Land of Lincoln even if your business is based elsewhere.

Massachusetts

You are not required to register your vehicle in Massachusetts if you are domiciled in or a resident of another state. This means you can own a car in another state and live in Massachusetts as long as you are domiciled in the other state.

Michigan

You can own and operate a vehicle from another state in Michigan for 90 days before you are required to register the vehicle there. 

New Hampshire

Unlike in most other states, you are not required to have car insurance to register a vehicle in New Hampshire. If you own and register a vehicle in another state, you can drive and garage it in New Hampshire as long as you have registered as a non-resident.

New York

You don’t have to register your vehicle in New York as long as you maintain residency in another state. This means you can own a vehicle in another state and live in New York as long as you maintain residency in the other state.

North Dakota

You can register a car with an out of state license in North Dakota. This means you don’t have to be an official resident to register or own a car there. 

South Dakota

You don’t need a South Dakota driver’s license to register a vehicle there. There are many benefits to being a resident of The Mount Rushmore State, so you might want to consider being domiciled here and registering your cars here. However, you can operate your car here as a non-resident as long as it is properly registered elsewhere.

Texas

If you are a non-resident with a privately owned vehicle, you are required to register your car in Texas if you have more than 5 trips lasting longer than 5 days in a month. This means you might have to register your car in Texas even if you live in another state.

Can You Title a Car in a State You Don’t Live In?

A car title is a document that proves car ownership. In most cases, you can title a car in a state you don’t live in. As you might notice above, many states require you to title or register your car there within a certain amount of time after moving there.

If you’re eligible to own a car in another state, you can title a car in a state you don’t live in. If you title a car in a state you don’t live in, you might also be required to register and insure your vehicle in that state. This means you’ll need to get a license plate in that state and show proof of insurance coverage. 

Can You Live in One State and Have Car Insurance in Another?

Most states require proof of insurance in the state to register your vehicle in that state. This means that you must have insurance in the state in which your car is registered. If you’re a resident of another state whose car is registered in another state, you can live in one state and have car insurance in another.

However, it is wise to check with your insurance company as rules between states can vary. 

Registering Your Vehicle in South Dakota

It might be wise for you to consider registering your vehicle in South Dakota. Becoming a resident and being domiciled in South Dakota makes sense for many individuals and it can help you save on taxes, vehicle insurance and more.

If you need help or have questions about the rules related to registering a vehicle in South Dakota, reach out to the experts at Americas Mailbox. The friendly agents know all the details and are able to help you determine if you can register a vehicle in a different state and more.

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