How to register a car in Texas


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UPDATED: 2020-03-31T20:43:45.267Z
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Cars on a street at sunset in Dallas, Texas.

If you are down south in Texas, you will be required to register your car in the state. There are requirements and specific payments to register your car to ensure the safety of you and others throughout the community.

This blog will walk you through the process of how to register your car in Texas, including why you need to register your car and what you need to bring with you to register your car.

Why do I need to register a car in Texas?

It’s a state requirement to register your car in Texas. Your car’s registration connects your name with the vehicle so that the state of Texas knows the vehicle is yours. The registration is proof that you’ve paid the taxes and fees required to legally have a car in Texas. It ensures that all cars on the road are safe and legal.

It is important to know that if you don’t register your car in Texas, there are penalties that could include licence suspension, fines, and even jail time for violating the law.

Who is required to register a car in Texas?

Everybody is required to register their car in Texas. However, if you are stationed as a military personnel in Texas, you may not be required to register your car. Make sure to discuss the facts with the DMV and your military supervisor.

In the United States, all car owners are required to register their car. If you need to renew your registration, you may be able to do so online or by mail rather than going to the DMV.

What is the cost of registering my car in Texas?

There are multiple fees to register your vehicle in Texas. The following are the fees and the amount you will be required to pay (depending on the type of vehicle you have) in order to register your car or other type of vehicle in Texas.

Cars and lighter trucks

There is a flat rate of $50.75 to register either a car or lighter truck.

Pickup trucks

There is a flat rate of $54.00 for trucks that weigh between 6,001 pounds to 10,000 pounds.

Heavy vehicles

If you own a heavy vehicle, which could be a motor home or commercial truck, it falls into a completely different category. To find the rates, reach out to your local DMV.

Trailers

For a trailer that weighs up to 6,000 pounds, the cost is $45.

Mopeds and motorcycles

As a moped or motorcycle driver, you will be required to pay a standard fee of $30.

Additional fees

In addition to the registration fees according to the type of vehicle you have, there are additional fees in Texas, depending on your county. Some counties also have a local fee, special plates fee, inspection fee, and a processing and handling fee. The local fee ranges from $0 to $31.50, depending on your county.

When you register your car in Texas, you also have the option to donate an amount of your choosing to support Texas veterans, State Parks, or Donate Life.

What is required to register a car in Texas?

There are certain documents required to register your car in Texas. You can either begin the process of registering your vehicle online, by mail, or in person. You will receive a $1.00 discount of your registration if you choose to go the online route. The documents and information requried to register your car are outlined below.

What you will need to register your car in Texas:

  • Proof of Texas car insurance
  • Valid ID (passport, state license, driver’s license)
  • Vehicle information

How do I register my car online Texas?

If you peruse the online route, make sure to create an online account before you begin. Once you have an account, you will be able to easily register your car as long as you have a valid ID and insurance. As long as you have the following, you should be able to register online.

Remember that you also have the option to send the information by mail or by visiting the DMV in person.

How do I register my car in Texas by mail?

If you decide you would rather register your car by mail, you can do so, however, it’s important to remember that it will not be as fast as registering online as it takes time to get through the mail and to the DMV. You will need the following to send via mail to your county’s tax office:

  • A copy of your Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR)
  • Proof of valid Texas car insurance
  • Renewal notice (if you are renewing)
  • Any and all fees

How do I register my car in Texas in person at the DMV?

You also have the option to register your car in person at a DMV location. In order to successfully register your car at the DMV, you will need the following:

  • Proof of valid Texas car insurance
  • Registration renewal notice

If you did not receive a renewal notice, you need to bring the following information:

  • License plate number
  • Registration receipt from previous year
  • Vehicle ID number

Without these items, you won’t be able to register your car. Make sure to double check that you have everything before you begin the process.

How do I register my out-of-state vehicle?

If you have recently moved to Texas, you are required to change your out-of-state license plate to a Texas one. In order to do this, you will be required to have the following items:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Valid ID (Passport, state ID, driver’s license)
  • Previous registration

Car insurance requirements to register your car in Texas

In order to legally drive and register a car in Texas you must have bodily injury and property damage on your insurance policy. The minimum requirements are listed below.

Liability:

  • Bodily injury: $30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $25,000 per accident

Although this is the bare minimum required by the state, insurance agents often recommend purchasing more insurance coverage to receive more protection. Additionally, if you are financing or leasing your vehicle, you may be required by your lender to have additional coverage, including comprehensive and collision insurance. If you are unsure if you need these coverages for your leased or financed car, contact your insurance agent for greater detail.

You can shop around for Texas car insurance in order to find the cheapest price. Consider getting quotes from at least three different insurance carriers. Visit Clearsurance’s car insurance rankings page to find a list of the best car insurance companies in your zip code according to consumers.

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