If you are an adventurous motorcycle enthusiast living in the sunshine state, as Florida is known, riding a motorcycle to get around certainly seems appealing. So, you just moved to the state, bought a new bike, and are raring to take it out on the open road.
However, before you take it out on a spin, you must ensure its paperwork is in order.
You can register a motorcycle in person at the local office of the FLHSMV or a local county license plate agency. Some counties also allow registration at private tag agencies; you can check for this provision in your county.
A Florida resident must ensure that any vehicle they own must have a valid registration along with Florida license plates from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to operate on the state’s roads.
All vehicles (bought or received as gifts) are registered as “cars” in Florida; this law applies to motorcycles, scooters, and even mopeds.
Table of contents
- What documents do you need to register your motorcycle in Florida?
- Certificate of Title and what if there is no Title?
- Motorcycle insurance requirements in Florida
- What can you expect after you have completed the registration process?
- What to do if your license plate gets stolen?
- Renewal notice of motorcycle registration
- Fees for motorcycle registration
What documents do you need to register your motorcycle in Florida?
For your motorcycle’s Florida title and registration, you will need to have the following registration documents – a valid motorcycle driver’s license, the bill of sale, the original title from the vehicle’s previous owner, along with the new title application, which transfers ownership to you.
You will also need proof of residence and money to pay the registration fees.
Additionally, if you brought the vehicle from another state, you must get a VIN verification and Odometer Verification within ten days of registration. A law enforcement officer, a car dealer, or a certified DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) inspector can do this for you.
However, Florida does not require an equipment/safety inspection to register a motorcycle.
Do note: if you bought the vehicle from a private seller or brought it from another state, you have to do the registration yourself. However, on the other hand, if you bought your motorcycle (used or new) from a dealer, they are required by law to complete the registration process for you within 30 days.
This Florida law can save you some hassle but the new motorcycle owner must pay all the required fees.
Certificate of Title and what if there is no Title?
A certificate of title in electronic or paper form is the proof of ownership of a vehicle, mobile home, or vessel in the state of Florida. So, whenever you buy a bike (used or new), you should apply for a new title in your name along with the registration process.
Registration and titling occur together in Florida as per the process explained above.
What if the bike you just bought or brought from another state does not have the original motorcycle title (from the previous owner)? Then, you must the previous owner to apply for a duplicate title before the sale is complete.
Tip ????: There is another option if getting a duplicate title is proving to be quite the difficult task – you could register the bike in a state that requires no title, such as Vermont, and then transfer it to Florida.
Motorcycle insurance requirements in Florida
Unlike the majority of states in the United States, Florida doesn’t require motorcycle riders to have proof of insurance.
But if you are in motorcycle accident, you do have to show proof of financial responsibility and will still be considered financially responsible.
So, it is always highly recommended to get motorcycle insurance. Insurance also protects you in other states if you ever want to go on a road trip.
You can ideally get two types of insurance. One is full coverage insurance that will pay for damages to you and the other parties involved. The second option is liability-only motorcycle insurance, which will pay for the damages to the other parties but only if you are at fault.
Personal opinion based on experience ????: Never try your luck. Always get a motorcycle insurance policy, regardless of whether the law requires it or not!
What can you expect after you have completed the registration process?
If you registered your new bike through a dealer, you should receive your permanent title and registration documents via mail within 60 days of purchase.
In the meantime, your dealer will provide you with a temporary license plate. If you have done the registration yourself, you can expect your license plate and documents to arrive via mail in about 30 days. However, customized license plates will take more time.
A properly-registered motorcycle will have a metal license plate (also known as a “tag” in Florida), a registration certificate (that the motorcycle driver needs to carry at all times), and a registration sticker on the plate.
The registration sticker indicates the valid registration dates of the motorcycle that will change every time you renew the registration.
It is also important to note that Florida license plates are valid for ten years, after which you will get a new one.
What to do if your license plate gets stolen?
If your motorcycle license plate is lost or damaged, you’ll need to apply for a new one at the local DMV for a fee because it is illegal to ride without one. But if it gets stolen, you need to report it to the police immediately.
Once you do this, you should apply for a replacement at your local office (along with the police report in your application). This will help you save on paying the required fees.
Renewal notice of motorcycle registration
Once the registration is complete, you are good to go. But you must not forget to renew your registration annually, in the same month you did it the first time. You can renew your registration up to 3 months in advance, at the motor vehicle service center.
You can also do it online via the MyDMV portal or the MyFlorida mobile app that you can get on Google Play or App Store. Currently, you can renew up to 5 registrations using the app.
Fees for motorcycle registration
Currently, Florida has a $225 Initial Registration Fee that a vehicle owner must pay if the owner has never applied for or registered a license plate in their name for a vehicle they previously owned (in Florida).
For this, you need proof of identity, proof of Florida insurance, and a completed application for a certificate of title with/without registration. You might also need additional documents depending on the situation.
Apart from the above, registration and title fees for a motorcycle will cost you between $10 to about $100, depending on several factors such as sales tax and other taxes. You can find details of all motor vehicle registration fees on the official FLHSMV website: Fees – Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
And there you have it. I believe that this article covers well the process of registering your motorcycle in the state of Florida.
Of course, don’t forget to maintain a valid motorcycle license, which you can get after passing the Basic Rider Course (BRC) conducted by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
And regardless of the relaxation on Helmets or Insurance in Florida, I strongly urge that you always ride with a helmet and get insurance.
If you have a question that I can help answer, please shoot in the comments below.
See you in the next one ✌️!