Renewing a vehicle registration is a yearly endeavor and can be a mild pain. You can however ensure that your registration is set up for the following year before it ever expires. Each state will have a different protocol, but most will allow you to renew in several different ways:
- Renew By Phone
- Renew Online
- Renew In Person
- Renew By Mail
With all of these options you will need several pieces of information:
- License plate number
- Your vehicle identification number (VIN)
You can get all of this information on your current registration card or you can get them off of the car itself. The VIN is traditionally located either on the driver side dash board or on the driver side door, though if you need help tracking down the VIN of your vehicle you can get more information here.
If you have any unpaid parking tickets, speeding tickets, toll violations you will be unable to renew your registration in most states until all outstanding debts are paid. Same will be true if you are in any violation of state laws for possessing a license if the car is registered to you. You must be insured and in good standing with the state to renew your registration, it is one of the ways that the state forces drivers to pay their debts.
Other required documents you may need depending on your state include:
- Emissions Test
- Smog Check
- A License In Good Standing
If you apply to renew your registration online without having properly met requirements it is likely that your state will block your attempt to renew not to mention set up more hoops for you to jump through before allowing you to renew the registration which will likely need to be done in person.
Renewing online is going to be your most convenient option if your state allows it.
Expedited Delivery DMV Processing
You can typically choose between an expedited delivery process for your new stickers and paperwork which in most states takes less than a week and in some as little as 1 to 3 days! You can expect to may more for this type of convenience of course, but it will be less expensive than driving around with an expired tag and getting a ticket. If you choose to risk it (which we do not recommend) you may have to wait between 3 weeks and 8 weeks to have your paperwork delivered.
Regular Delivery DMV Processing
We all know that government institutions like to take their sweet time processing things. This is the case when it comes to your registration and stickers. The convenience of ordering online will still be a wonderful win for you won’t have to step foot into the DMV, however you can expect to wait anywhere from 3-4 weeks in most states for the state to get your sticker and paperwork to you.
Renewing In Person
Across all states, renewing your vehicle registration in person will always be an option to you, though you can expect any trip to the DMV to take some time. Consider making an appointment to save yourself time sitting and waiting for your number to be called in the overcrowded DMV waiting area. In some states you may be able to renew in person using a kiosk. This is the case in Colorado and California.
Renew By Mail
Most states also allow you to renew by mail as well. You can find information regarding this by visiting the website of your local government office or by giving your state’s DMV. Many states do send out paperwork to renew registration to the mailing addresses that they have on file when the time comes to renew.
Renew By Phone
This option may or may not be available depending on the state in which you live. Most states do not offer the ability to renew over the phone but you can check the government website of your state’s DMV for further information regarding this.
Check With Your State To See What Their Covid19 Protocols Are
Many states have eliminated late fees and pushed back expiration dates on license expirations as well as registrations. This is because the CDC is discouraging groups of larger than 10 individuals most DMVs are by appointment only. If you had ever stepped foot in a packed DMV up until this pandemic you likely understand why this is the case as the waiting rooms are generally packed to the brim with not so patiently waiting people.
Some states that have postponed expirations or at the very least done away with late fees during this trying time include: Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and South Carolina.
To find out the exact protocols in your state, give the DMV a call or check their website.
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We hope this article has answered all of your questions regarding vehicle registration renewal, and that you feel more prepared to handle this yearly reoccurrence both now and in the future. Consider protecting your vehicle with an extended warranty plan from Protect My Car. In addition to warranties, Protect My Car also offers insurance and maintenance plans and can negotiate the best prices on repairs with mechanics.