The vehicle registration notification came in the mail today — but I expected this. The amount on the bill to register the van we bought in January was a bit of a shock to the system, however. Before purchasing our new family car, we owned the same 2 vehicles for almost ten years. The yearly registration fee for them was $99, and had been so for as long as we could remember.
But this time, the registration for our new van was $342.
The fee for our van’s license tabs wasn’t something we’d given much thought to when we were buying our new car. It was a once-a-year type fee, so we just figured we could easily deal with it when the bill arrived. Unfortunately, coming up with several hundred dollars extra was a bit of a difficult task.
Don’t Be Surprised By the Bill
We could have avoided this shocking bill, if we better understood how license registration fees were calculated, how much they cost, and then planned ahead by saving enough money to pay it.
So how does your state calculate vehicle license registration fees?
The method used to calculate the vehicle license fee is determined by the state you live in, but generally falls under a few major categories:
- Age or Value of Vehicle: This is the category my great state of Minnesota falls into. The newer and more expensive your vehicle, the more your license registration fee is.
- Weight of Vehicle: Some states increase the fee as the weight of the vehicle increases.
- Flat Fee: In some states, the registration fee is the same regardless of vehicle age or weight.
To avoid being surprised by how much your vehicle registration bill is, find out how your state calculates vehicle license fees by checking out this website that lists all 50 states, and the calculations used.
Plan Ahead Before Purchasing
Before purchasing your next vehicle, make sure you understand how your state calculates car registration fees, so you’re not blindsided like we were. Knowing how much the registration fee would be wouldn’t have affected our decision to purchase the vehicle, but it would have resulted in my wife and I putting a little cash away each month, for when the license registration expired.
Dropping hundreds of dollars just to be able to keep driving my car isn’t my idea of fun, but having the money to pay for it is not only a smarter decision, but would have saved us the stress of scrambling to pay the bill.
Has this situation ever happened to you? How did you handle it? What’s the largest vehicle registration fee you’ve ever paid?
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