RV Camping

Fulltime RVers also need to know about vehicle and drivers license requirements

Red Cliffs in ArizonaThis may be a difficult topic for you. Before you begin your RV camping adventure, you’re going to have to select a home base for such things as vehicle and RV licensing, driver’s license, voter registration, insurance, and income taxes. It will be state laws, not your personal choice, that dictates in which state you are deemed to be a legal resident.

There are a lot of issues involved and it will require some research and thinking on your part. Also, there is not a correct, one size fits all, answer for you. There are some tables you can refer to in the resources section of this website to help you make your decision.

Having said all the above, here is a specific recommendation: Once you have made your decision on a home base, set up all of your registrations in that state. Here are some of the issues you need to consider:

Do you intend to vote? In some states, there is a certain period that you have to maintain residency in order to vote. You may be required to have an actual physical address in some states while others may only require a street address. Can you register by mail to vote in your chosen state?

What are the costs of vehicle registration? This can vary wildly by state. You may have to physically return to the same state each year for a vehicle inspection. You may find yourself traveling to your home state in the middle of a winter blizzard to get a vehicle inspection if you don’t plan properly. Some states don’t require a vehicle inspection. Most states allow registration renewal by mail.

When you bring your vehicle and RV into a state for a first-time registration, do they have any special surcharges, fees, or taxes? The answer can sometimes be shocking. When we moved to Florida in 1993, their surcharge for out-of-state vehicles being newly registered was a major financial problem for people with newer vehicles.

Does the state you’re interested in have personal property taxes? This can have the unintentional effect of adding hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in ad valorem or property taxes to your financial burden.

What about state income tax rates? Sales taxes? Some states charge sales taxes on groceries. You may not pay income tax in one state, but find that like in Florida, the value of your investments is taxed.

Insurance is another complex issue. Will your liability insurance cover you if you have an accident in another state? Will your health insurance cover you in a different state? Many Medicare Advantage plans will not cover medical expenses that are incurred out of their approved network of medical providers.

Can you renew your driver’s license by mail? You need to think about these things in advance.

Next Chapter – What to get – Motorhome, Fifth-Wheel, or Travel Trailer?

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