Category Archives: Government

Registering Your Car In Idaho

Moving to a new state involves a lot of changes. One of the first changes I had to make was on the registration of my car. My Utah registration expired the end of May and would have cost $200+ to renew for just one more year. Since we were moving I decided to wait and register in Idaho. Little did I know how complex that would end up being.

What To Bring

This is everything you’ll need to actually register your out of state car in Idaho (learned through painful experience and numerous trips to the DMV) :

  • The actual car needs to be in the parking lot or close enough for a cop to do the VIN inspection
  • The title
  • Proof of insurance (though they never asked to see it)
  • Proof of address (again, they didn’t ask to see it)
  • Check book (using a credit card means a $1 fee + 3%)
  • Current drivers license
  • SSN (if you don’t have an Idaho drivers license yet)

Why I Was Bugged By The Process

Re-titling the car

Yep, if you own the car outright, you need to re-title the car in Idaho to get Idaho plates. Why? Does the DMV not trust the other states ability to title a car? Really I think its just a way to skim $14 off out-of-staters moving in.

VIN Inspection

The VIN was on the Utah title. The VIN was on my insurance. I can get an auto insurance quote from Esurance and once giving them the VIN they know the make, model and year of my car. Obviously there are lots of places where someone can validate my VIN. However, the DMV needed to physically inspect the VIN (and charge me another $5 for it). Since my car had expired registration they dispatched a police officer to my house to do that.

So basically, I paid $19 for them to issue an Idaho title that seems totally unnecessary and to have someone visually confirm that my VIN wasn’t tampered with and was correct. This necessitated 2 extra trips to the DMV (because these are prerequisites to actually getting the vehicle registered). A total pain.

My Recommended Solution

  1. Stop re-titling. It’s obviously just a money grab and it got support because it only affected people moving in from out of state (who haven’t voted yet)
  2. Limit VIN inspections to new titles. I understand there is a theft prevention motive here, but when the car has been owned by the current owner this is just an unnecessary step that slows down DMV service (since the employee has to go out to the parking lot to conduct the inspection)
  3. Accept credit cards. People increasingly don’t carry cash or checks. If the transaction fee from the processor is burdensome, increase registration prices to include it and offer a discount to people with cash or check. Psychologically people will be happy to get a discount, whereas they’re frustrated to get charged additional fees or feel like they are inconvenienced to avoid a fee

If you know why the re-titling is necessary or why the VIN inspection is necessary I’m willing to update my opinions. Until then, I’m frustrated by the process.