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Q

I am moving my car to Utah from Virginia. How quickly do I have to register my car in Utah and change the plates? Do I have to insure my car in Utah or can I maintain my Virginia insurance?


A

If you move to Utah, you must register your vehicle as soon as you move to the state. There is no grace period for registration in this state; you must register the vehicle in your name as soon as you move into the state and become a resident.

The UT Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) says to register and title in Utah for the first time, an Application to Register/Title must be completed (available to print from UT DMV site) and required documentation provided. Required documentation may include a vehicle title, a bill of sale, a previous registration, and safety and emission certificates.

Bring to the Utah DMV the following for each vehicle when registering a car:

  • Utah safety inspection certificate, where required
  • Utah gas or diesel emission certificate, where required
  • Serial number (VIN) inspection, where required
  • Title, if not held by lienholder
  • Most recent registration

Plates and/or decals will be issued to you at the completion of your motor vehicle transaction. All vehicles in Utah are subject to either an age-based uniform fee or a 1.0 or 1.5 percent uniform property assessment fee. The appropriate fee must be paid when you register your vehicle.

Vehicles with model years less than eight years old need a safety inspection once every two years. Vehicles in this category that have even-numbered model years must have safety inspections in even-numbered years, and vehicles that have odd-numbered model years must have safety inspections in odd-numbered years. Vehicles with model years eight years old and older must pass safety inspections every year.

All vehicles registered in Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber counties with model years less than six years old are required to have an emission test once every two years. Vehicles in this category that have even-numbered model years must have an emission test in even-numbered years, and vehicles that have odd-numbered model years must have an emission test in odd-numbered years.

Vehicles with model years six years old and older (to 1967) must have an emission test every year. Emission certificates are not required for vehicles with model years 1967 or older.

Inspections of identification numbers are required for all vehicles or vessels to be titled in Utah for the first time. Safety inspection certificates are acceptable means of verification for your cars, trucks and motorcycles providing that the VIN number is accurate on the safety inspection certificate.

If you have more questions about the registration process in Utah contact the UT DMV directly. As additional information, to change over your driver's license you go through the UT Department of Public Safety's Driver License Division. Utah law does not have a grace period in which to change an out-of-state driver license to a Utah license (same as there is no grace period for your registration). It simply requires a resident to have a valid Utah driver license, when driving in Utah. A person is considered a Utah resident if the person establishes a domicile here, remains here longer than six months, engages in other than seasonal employment; or obtains Utah privileges not ordinarily afforded nonresidents, such as obtaining a driver license, vehicle registration, or placing children in a Utah school etc.

Since there is not a grace period to register your car once you move to Utah you will need to register and title your vehicle there as soon as possible. You will want to obtain Utah auto insurance as well for a couple of reasons. One is that it is unlikely your Virginia car insurance provider will want to continue to cover you if you have moved out of VA and the cars under the policy will thus be out of state the majority of the year. Also in Utah insurers are supposed to electronically submit your insurance information so that the UT DMV can verify that you are insured and thus normally this requires you to have insurance from a Utah auto insurance provider.

In Utah No-Fault insurance must be maintained on all passenger cars and trucks throughout the vehicle's registration period if:

  • The owner/operator is a resident;
  • The owner/operator is a non-resident who operates a motor vehicle that has been physically present in Utah for 90 days during the preceding 365 days. Under such circumstances, a non-resident owner must maintain no-fault insurance while the vehicle remains in the state; and,
  • All motor vehicles, (off-highway vehicles excepted) must maintain owner/operator security (liability coverage) during the registration period.

Utah minimum Liability limits are 25/65/15. This means $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $65,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 per accident for property damage. Utah's no-fault law also requires you buy a minimum of $3,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

Utah law requires motorists to carry proof of insurance and present it to any law enforcement officer upon request. In addition, for several years, Utah has compared its motor vehicle registration file with a database of insurance policies written to UT residents.

When the computer program discovers a Utah-registered vehicle does not have a corresponding insurance policy, a letter is sent to the vehicle's registered owner, requiring the owner to provide proof of insurance. So your Virginia insurer would not usually inform the Utah DMV of your policy (they would inform the VA DMV) so this could cause an issue, however likely your VA insurer would not want to cover you out of state either as we mentioned. For these reasons when you are registering your car in Utah you should also obtain UT auto insurance.

CarInsurance.com can help you get started with an affordable auto insurance quote for Utah so that when you move you can get your policy started immediately.


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