First, you need to determine whether this is a first time vehicle registration. Although that could mean you just purchased a brand new car, it could also mean that you bought a vehicle second hand or just recently moved from another state, which requires you to register your vehicle in your new state of residence. Depending on the state in which you live, you will likely face time restrictions on the number of days that can pass before you must register the vehicle by law.
In most states you’ll need to first purchase auto insurance before you can register a new vehicle. Your auto insurance must meet your state’s minimum liability coverage requirements, and you must be able to provide proof of coverage when you register the car. If you are not getting a first time registration and instead are merely renewing your coverage, you are still likely to have to provide proof of insurance coverage to maintain state registration.
How to Get Your Vehicle Registered
The easiest way to register your vehicle is to purchase it from a car dealer. Whether you purchase new or used, most car dealerships will handle the vehicle registration process for you and even roll the cost of your registration into the loan you use to finance your purchase.
However, if you are moving from another state or purchase the vehicle from a previous owner, you must provide your state’s registration issuance department with your proof of ownership of the vehicle. That may be a bill of sale or the vehicle’s title. You’ll also have to provide proof that you are licensed to drive the vehicle and provide proof of insurance. Some states also require a vehicle emissions inspection before granting a registration. Be prepared to pay a registration fee, which varies by state and according to the type of vehicle you drive.
Depending on the state you register your vehicle in, you may receive a registration sticker to go on your windshield or license plate. Some states, such as Connecticut, do not supply drivers with registration stickers, but instead provide a registration certificate that must be carried at all times in the same way a driver’s license or insurance card must.