There is no better way to see the nation and explore new territory than in the comfort of an RV. If you are one of the nine million households that own one, then you understand how convenient it is to load up and hit the road.
Just like anything else, however, the recreational vehicle (which comes in many forms) comes with responsibilities and duties that must be taken care of before you travel.
If you have recently purchased an RV, you are probably anxious to get out and explore the nation. However, before you go anywhere, you must register it with your local Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Revenue, Secretary of State, Motor Vehicle Division or whatever local entity it is that sets the vehicle regulations in the state you live in.
The majority of states categorize motorhomes, travel trailers, tent trailers and pick-up campers under the umbrella of recreational vehicles, which must be registered.
How to Register Your RV
Depending on the state you live in, you will be required to register your newly acquired RV within a designated time period. As an example, California residents have 10 days from the date of purchase to get registered, while Rhode Island gives you a window of 30 days. In Arizona, you are not allowed to drive the RV at all until you get it registered.
While every state varies in the requirements for RV registration, most require the following:
Complete a registration application, which can be obtained at the DMV or downloaded from the DMV website.
You must prove who you are with some form of state issued ID or certain other documents. States are very strict about proper identification, so be sure to check with them before you go in so you know what to take with you.
You must submit a bill of sale, proving that you made the purchase.
If it’s applicable, submit the MCO (Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin).
Some states require that you submit a title.
Proof of insurance coverage must be submitted.
You may need to have the RV inspected and/or have the emissions tested (if it’s a motorhome).
You must pay all of the fees for registration. The amount varies by state, but usually they are calculated using the age, height or weight of the vehicle.
The time it takes to process the registration and get your license plates depends on the state you live in.
Some states allow the issuance of a temporary RV registration. As an example, the state of Oregon allows RV owners to drive an unregistered recreational vehicle by getting a temporary permit. It is good for 10 days, and it is usually used to transport a newly purchased RV from where the new owner purchased it, to where he or she resides.
If you wish to purchase an RV that has a salvage title, an abandoned vehicle title or a branded title, make sure to speak to your state DMV before heading to the office. They may require special forms to fill out, or fees to pay to the agency.
Once your RV is registered and ready to go, you will have an absolute blast as you travel the nation. No schedules to follow but your own, and no pressure to find a hotel with vacancies. It will be a relaxed, laid back vacation that will put you back on life’s tracks. The only thing that will be missing is your stress.