As a Florida resident, you are required by law to register your vehicle with the State of Florida.
Vehicle registrations are based on the registered owner’s birthdate and expire at midnight on that day. When there are co-owners, the birthdate of the first named owner is used. Owners now have the convenient option of registering for 1 or 2 years at a time. Vehicle tags are transferrable by owners from a disposed vehicle to a replacement vehicle, and their unexpired fees are credited towards their new registration. Exceptions include company-owned vehicles and some leased vehicles, regardless of ownership, which must be renewed in the month assigned to the legal entity in whose name the vehicle is registered.
Truck-tractors, semi-trailers, trucks over 5000 lbs., automobiles for hire that seat nine or more passengers, and mobile home registrations are renewed in December. Vehicles and vehicle trailers are licensed according to weight, and mobile homes and travel trailers according to length. When the vehicle owner is renewing the registration, the owner will receive a numbered decal to affix to the license plate. If a trailer has a net weight of 1,999 pounds or less, it is not required to be titled. The following would be required to prove ownership in lieu of title:
1. When the vehicle is a new trailer, a copy of the Manufacturers Certificate of Origin and/or a bill of sale, showing a complete chain of ownership is required.
2. When the vehicle is a used trailer (homemade or manufactured) having a net weight of 1,999 pounds or less, a bill of sale, which includes a complete description of the trailer and previous owner’s Florida license plate number, is required.
Insurance Verification for Motor Vehicles
Effective October 1, 2007, all Florida motorists must have at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and at least $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance. This insurance must be either issued by a licensed Florida agent, or issued for delivery in Florida, and must be electronically filed with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These insurance requirements apply to all self-propelled motor vehicles with four or more wheels, and excludes two-wheeled vehicles such as motorcycles, and non-motorized vehicles such as trailers and mobile homes.
II. Information About Auto Insurance for New Residents of Florida
In order to comply with Florida Statutes and insurance requirements, it is necessary to obtain auto insurance that is delivered (or issued for delivery) in Florida. Your insurance agent must be licensed to do business in Florida, and your policy must comply with Florida Statutes and insurance requirements.
The Florida Statutes defines a Motor Vehicle Liability Policy as any owner’s or operator’s policy of liability insurance furnished as proof of financial responsibility, pursuant to 324.031 Florida Statutes, that is issued by any insurance company authorized to do business in this state. Section 627.733 also requires that security shall be provided by an insurance policy delivered or issued for delivery in this state by any authorized or eligible motor vehicle liability insurer.
III. When Must You Provide Proof of Insurance?
As defined in Florida Statutes, Chapter 320.02(5)(a), proof of insurance is required at the time of application for registration, including requests for renewal, extensions of the expiration date, or first issuance of a registration. A tag transfer from a currently registered vehicle to a replacement vehicle does not require insurance verification unless the registration is renewed or extended, or the replacement vehicle requires a different type/level of insurance coverage.
IV. What May I Use as Proof of Insurance?
- Florida Uniform Proof-of-Purchase cards issued by the insurance company
- Insurance policy
- Temporary binder (up to 30 days from issuance)
- Certificate of insurance
- Insurance affidavit. This may be either HSMV Form 83330, or an equivalent, such as the Insurance affidavit provided on the renewal notice.
- Fleet/garage policy for business
- Self-insurance certificate
For additional information, selected forms and the latest updates, visit the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.
Florida uses a metal plate with a series of alphanumeric characters, or a combination thereof, depending on the type of vehicle. The yearly renewal decal denoting the birth month and year the registration will expire is placed in the upper right hand corner. The county name, Sunshine State, or In God We Trust is embossed across the bottom of the plate. License Plates are kept for a ten-year period, then a new plate is issued. (Florida Statutes 320.06)
Change of Address on your Registration
In order to maintain accurate records, and to improve the likelihood that registered owners of motor vehicles may receive a registration renewal notice by mail prior to expiration, all changes of address must be reported within 30 days. This change will be made to your registration only, not your title document. You may use the following options:
- Online: Visit flhsmv.gov and click on Online Services. The fee is $6.20.
- Mail: Mail your request to: Pinellas County Tax Collector, P.O. Box 6288, Clearwater, FL 33758-6288 with a check for $5.50 made payable to Charles W. Thomas, Tax Collector.
- In-person: Visit one of our offices. Make sure to bring identification with you. The fee is $5.50.
Please provide your license plate numbers to ensure the appropriate records are corrected. Also, please note that the Tax Collector does not charge a fee for change of address on a registration renewal. Simply complete the change of address section of your renewal notice.
Renewing your Registration by Mail
Motor vehicle registrations and decals are renewable up to three months in advance. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles generates renewal notices, approximately 45 to 60 days before your expiration date. The Tax Collector then the mails the vehicle registration renewal reminder notices to all customers.
Registration renewals are the responsibility of the owner. Renewal notices facilitate the renewal process but are not required for re-registration. Late penalties and other fees will not be waived because of non-receipt of a renewal notice.
Registration renewals can be done online or mailed to:
Charles W. Thomas, Pinellas County Tax Collector
P.O. Box 31152
Tampa, FL 33631-3152
Section 320.072, Florida Statutes, requires a fee of $225 to be imposed upon the initial application for registration on certain motor vehicle registration transaction. Whether the vehicle is new or used doesn’t matter. Basically, the fee is due on any private-use automobile, any lightweight truck, or any motor home unless the vehicle being registered is a replacement for a vehicle that has been disposed in the same category of vehicles.
Annual license taxes, for the operation of a motor vehicle as defined in 320.01, Florida Statutes, shall be paid upon registration or re-registration. The following are 12-month rates. If applicable, a first-time initial registration fee of $225.00 plus a metal plate fee of $28.00 will also be collected.
Automobile (Private Use)
- Weight through 2,499 lbs. $28.10
- Weight 2,500 through 3,499 lbs. $36.10
- Weight 3,500 lbs. and up $46.10
- Weight through 1,999 lbs. $28.10
- Weight 2,000 through 3,000 lbs. $36.10
- Weight 3,001 through 5,000 lbs. $46.10