Vehicle Registration Rates by State

Maria Sanchez
Written by
Maria Sanchez
Photo of an Insurify author
Written by
Maria Sanchez
Insurance Writer
Maria Sanchez is a personal finance writer specializing in auto, home, and renters insurance. With a special interest in educational content, Maria distills complex financial information to be more accessible to the greater public. She holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts and the London School of Economics.
Jackie Cohen
Edited by
Jackie Cohen
Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
Jackie Cohen
Editorial Manager
Jackie Cohen is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in property & casualty insurance educational content. She has years of experience analyzing insurance trends and helping consumers better understand their insurance coverage to make informed decisions about their finances.Jackie's work has been cited in USA Today, The Balance, and The Washington Times.

Updated June 15, 2022

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Insurify is America's highest-rated insurance comparison platform. We partner with the nation's top insurance companies and are licensed as an agent in all 50 states. However, the insurance experts writing our content operate independently of our partners, and you can learn more about how we make money by viewing our advertising disclosures. Also check out reviews from over 3,000 satisfied customers, our data methodology, and our editorial standards.

While owning a car adds convenience, it also comes with some costs. Whether it’s a new or pre-owned motor vehicle, be aware of any additional fees you have to pay beyond the car’s initial sticker price. One of these costs is the vehicle registration fee. Before you are able to start driving, you need to make sure you check all the boxes to register your car in your name.

Registration fees, license plate fees, and title fees can all add up, but one place you can save is your car insurance! Let Insurify help you get the best deal so you don’t break the bank when finding quotes that fit your needs and wallet. All you have to do is take a few minutes to fill out your profile. After that, compare car insurance quotes side-by-side and pick your perfect policy.

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Quick Facts

  • Across all 50 states in the U.S., it is illegal to drive a car without registering it at the DMV.

  • You need to pay to register your car, get a valid license plate, and claim your car’s title.

  • Each state has its own set of requirements and costs, so check in with your state’s DMV.

The Basic Fees You Need to Know: Registration, Plate, and Title

How much does registering a car cost?

Depending on the state your vehicle is registered in, the cost of registering with the DMV ranges froma few dollars in fees to over $100.

Be mindful that owning a car comes with costs that go beyond the sticker price you see at the lot. There are a number of vehicle fees not mentioned at the dealership that you need to pay in order to drive your car. Many of these transactions can be done at your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV), either in person or online.

There is no flat fee for registration. A number of different factors are taken into account when determining the costs of registering your vehicle that go beyond the car’s purchase price. The vehicle age, model year, gross vehicle weight, and vehicle type (from motorcycle to automobile to even electric vehicle) all matter when getting you registered.

Whether you are buying a car that was previously owned or getting a brand-new vehicle, every motorist needs to follow their state’s requirements to get their car ready for the road. The fees and laws vary on a state-to-state basis, so see the table below to find out what the average costs are in your state.

Here are the fees you need to know about when registering your car:

  • Motor vehicle registration fee: Before you start driving, you need to register your car. Required by law, states use this to keep track of vehicle owners. This data can be used to figure out how much you pay in taxes, track theft, and more. Once issued, you will receive a registration certificate that is required whenever you drive.

  • Vehicle registration only lasts a certain number of years, so keep an eye on when yours is up for registration renewal. Typically, most states require renewal on an annual basis, where you will also need to pay a renewal fee. This varies by state. For example, registration lasts for two years in Massachusetts.

  • **License plate fee:**Once you receive your vehicle registration, you will be issued a license plate, also known as a decal or tag. Some states do not charge an additional fee for this, counting it as part of the registration fee, but it depends on the state. Some states might even determine this based on the county you reside in.

  • Vehicle title fee: The “certificate of title for a vehicle” is a form that legally establishes a person (or a business) as the owner of a vehicle. Also known as an automobile title, car title, or pink slip, it is typically a one-time expense that the car owner pays for the first time. If you buy a car and claim it under your name, this document helps act as proof.

See More: Best Car Insurance Companies

Registration, License Plate, and Title Fees By State

Note that “transfer” under “License Plate Fee” means that vehicle owners just need to pay a transfer fee instead of the cost to receive new license plates. This means that license plates will be transferred from the other vehicle to your new one and new license plates do not need to be issued.

StateRegistration FeeLicense Plate FeeTitle Fee
Alabama$15–$23, in addition to $50 annual fee$23, $1.25 transfer$18
Alaska$100$5 transfer$15
Arizona$40$12 transfer$4 (new car)
Arkansas$17–$30$1 transfer$10
California$62, plus additional fees for infrastructure maintenance$23$23
ColoradoBased on car weight$25$7.20
Connecticut$120 (new car), in addition to $80 to renew for two years$5$25
Delaware$40N/A$35, $55 with a lien
Washington, D.C.$72–$155 based on car weight$12 transfer$26
Florida$225 (new vehicle fee), plus an additional $14.50–$32.50 based on weight)$28 new, $7.35 transfer$77.25 (new car) or $85.25 (used car)
Georgia$20N/A$18
HawaiiBased on weight ($12 minimum)$5$5
Idaho$45–$69 based on age of the carN/A$14
Illinois$151N/A$150
Indiana$21.35 minimum based on type of car$9.50$15
IowaUp to 1% of list price (depends on age), in addition to $0.40 per 100 lbs. of vehicle weightN/A$25 for replacement
Kansas$39–$49 based on countyN/A$10
Kentucky$21N/A$9
Louisiana$20–$82 based on car value$3 transfer$68.50
Maine$35N/A$33
Maryland$135–$187 based on weight (valid for two years)$10 transfer$100
Massachusetts$60 (valid for two years)$25 transfer, $10 replacement$75
MichiganBased on car value, weight, and age$5$15
Minnesota$35 minimum based on car value$4.50 (single plate), $8 (double plates)$20.50 (includes Tax and Technology surcharge)
Mississippi$14 (first-time registration), $12.75 (renewals)N/A$9
Missouri$18.25 minimum based on car horsepower (one-year fee), plus additional $6–$12 admin feeN/A$8.50
Montana$23.44 minimum$10.30$10.30
Nebraska$20.50 (includes fees)$3.30 per plate$10
Nevada$33$8$28.25
New Hampshire$31.20 minimum based on car weight and type, in addition to $10 transfer fee and local fees$23$25
New Jersey$35.50–$84 based on car weight and age$6$60, $85 with lien
New Mexico$27–$62 based on car weight and ageN/AN/A
New York$26–$140 based on car weight (valid for two years)$25$50
North Carolina$38.75–$86.25 based on vehicle year$21.50 transfer$56
North Dakota$49–$274 based on car weight and age$37 new, $5 transfer$5
Ohio$31$6 transfer, $13.25 replacement$15
Oklahoma$26–$96 based on car ageN/A$11, $17 transfer
Oregon$126–$316 based on car type, age, and MPG$24.50, $6 transfer$101–$192 based on car type, age, and MPG
Pennsylvania$38N/A$55
Rhode Island$30 minimum based on car weight$8$52.50
South Carolina$40N/A$15
South Dakota$36–$144 based on car weight and age$28, $5 transfer$10
Tennessee$29 minimum, in addition to county feesBased on countyBased on county
Texas$51.75, in addition to county feesN/A$28–$33 based on county
Utah$44–$69.50 based on car weight, plus an additional $19 for every 2,000 lbs. over 14,000N/A$6
Vermont$76 (valid for one year), $140 (valid for two years)N/A$35
Virginia$30.75–$35.75 based on car weightN/A$15
Washington$30$10 per plate, $10 transfer$10
West Virginia$51.50$10 replacement$15
Wisconsin$85N/A$164.50
Wyoming$30 minimum based on countyN/A$15

See More: Car Insurance Quotes

The Consequence of Not Registering Your Vehicle

Registering your vehicle is required by law across all 50 states. Typically, the first thing law enforcement will say when they pull you over is “License and registration.” Failure to show a valid driver’s license or vehicle registration when you’re behind the wheel is a legal offense. If you purchase a car, whether it be new or used, you must register it at your state’s DMV.

Registration fees, which are usually paid on an annual basis, help pay for upkeep and service fees that we might not typically notice. The U.S. government does not ask for a federal road tax, so registration fees are the way we as citizens pay for things like highway maintenance, public safety officers, and federally funded employees at the DMV. We pay to keep our roads safe.

You can get pulled over by the police if they catch you driving with expired, non-visible, or missing license plates on your car or motorcycle. Depending on what state you’re driving in, it may be considered a non-moving violation. In this case, an officer could give you a ticket, where you are just responsible for paying a fine, and reinforce that you need to renew your registration.

See More: Cheap Car Insurance

How to Save Money as a Vehicle Owner

Fees, fees, fees! The cost of owning a car goes far beyond the car’s sale price at the dealership and regular gas top-ups, but don’t let these added expenses push you away from owning a car!

You can offset these costs by saving big on your insurance policy. Insurify is the best place to shop around for car insurance deals. Comparing your options to get a lower monthly premium can lead to hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars in savings each year. Get your free car insurance quotes in just a few minutes to make car ownership feel possible again.

See More: Best and Worst Sites to Compare Car Insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, every state in the U.S. requires that vehicle owners register their car at the DMV. This is the same for any motor vehicle, ranging from a motorcycle to a business-owned 18-wheeler truck. This information helps states keep track of cars on the road, report any stolen vehicles, figure out resident taxes, and more. The process and cost varies on a state-by-state basis.

  • No, the type of vehicle you drive affects how much you will pay for registration. The basic rule of thumb is that the more speed, weight, and horsepower your vehicle has, the more you will have to pay. For example, mopeds cost less to register (and maintain) than motorcycles, which can be a bit cheaper than standard automobiles. Trucks and commercial vehicles are much costlier.

  • Beyond the sticker price of the car at the dealership and all of these fees, there might be other costs that need to be taken care of before your car hits the road. Be aware of other costs, like sales tax, use tax, excise tax or personal property tax, and fuel tax. Electric vehicles (or EVs) and hybrid cars carry their own costs as well for plugging into charging ports.

  • One of the best ways to save money on your vehicle is by getting an affordable insurance policy. Insurify is the best way to make sure you don’t break the bank while staying safe on the road. Get started in just a few minutes and all for free! We do all the work to sift through millions of quotes from hundreds of companies to make sure you get the best deal.

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  • Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.

Maria Sanchez
Written by
Maria Sanchez

Insurance Writer

Maria Sanchez is a personal finance writer specializing in auto, home, and renters insurance. With a special interest in educational content, Maria distills complex financial information to be more accessible to the greater public. She holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts and the London School of Economics.

Learn More
Jackie Cohen
Edited by
Jackie Cohen
Linkedin

Editorial Manager

Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
Jackie Cohen
Editorial Manager
Jackie Cohen is an editorial manager at Insurify specializing in property & casualty insurance educational content. She has years of experience analyzing insurance trends and helping consumers better understand their insurance coverage to make informed decisions about their finances.Jackie's work has been cited in USA Today, The Balance, and The Washington Times.