Motorists

Registrations and Renewals

Motor Vehicle Registrations

Vehicles are registered on a staggered basis, with the registration period ending on the last day of the month before the registered owner’s birth month. A grace period is given until midnight of the owner’s birthday, the expiration date. A delinquent fee applies beginning the 11th day of the month following the owner’s birth month. There is an advance renewal option for all registration periods; motor vehicle registrations may be renewed at any time up to three months prior to the expiration month.

Biennial registrations are now available on qualifying vehicles. Current law provides for 12- or 24-month registration plus three months advance registration, a total of 15 or 27 months.

NOTE: Legislation is pending that, if approved, would lower the annual registration fee for future years. Please take this into consideration before renewing beyond one year, as Florida law does not allow for refunds.

Exceptions:

  1. Mobile home registration period ends on December 31. The delinquency fee applies beginning on January 11 (see MOBILE HOMES).
  2. Company-owned (non-lease) vehicle registration period ends on May 31, with a grace period until midnight of June 30. The delinquent fee applies beginning July 11.
  3. Leased vehicles are registered in the name of the lessee, are renewed annually during the owner or lessee’s birth month, and expire at midnight on the lessee’s birthday. Contact the tax collector’s office for more information.
  4. Heavy truck (over 5,000 pounds empty weight), truck-tractor, semi-trailer, and for-hire bus registration periods end on November 30, with a grace period until midnight December 31. The delinquent fee applies beginning January 11.

NOTE: 1996 legislative changes – if registered under International Registration Plan (IRP), the registration period for these vehicles shall be a period of 12 months, beginning in a month designated by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DSHMV) and ending on the last day of the 12th month. The renewal period is the last month of the registration period.

Example of motor vehicle registration: If the owner’s birthday is August 28, his registration period ends July 31, the registration expiration date is August 28, the delinquent fee applies beginning September 11, and the advance renewal period begins May 1.

Motor vehicles are classified for registration in the State of Florida based on one of the following: weight, declared gross vehicle weight, length, use, or size of engine. Vehicle owners receive a numbered decal to affix to the license plate when they renew their registration. The tax collector must check proof of Florida insurance (see FLORIDA INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS) and must note date of birth of the first registered owner. The Florida driver license number(s) of the registered owner(s) must be recorded on all title and registration or renewal of registration.

Tag Registration and Renewal

Florida uses a metal license plate with the alpha numeric system, meaning there are combinations of letters and numbers used for identification. The renewal sticker denoting the owner’s birth month and expiration date is placed in the upper right hand corner of the license plate. The license plate is displayed on the rear of the vehicle, with the exception of certain commercial vehicles. The plate is issued to the owner for ten years. The owner will receive a new plate (with new numbers and letters) during the tenth year.

Private passenger registrations are renewed annually during the owner or lessee’s birth month and expire at midnight on the owner or lessee’s birthday. The exceptions to this schedule are: company-owned and short-term leased vehicles are renewed in June; truck-tractors, semi-trailers, trucks weighing over 5,000 pounds, mobile homes, and nine-passenger seating and over vehicles for hire are renewed in December. Rates are determined by vehicle weight or by length for trailers and mobile homes.

Registration and Renewal by Mail

After the initial registration of the vehicle, you will be mailed a “registration renewal card” to renew the license plate.

You may renew your license plate registration in person at the tax collector’s office or by mailing the registration notice to the tax collector with your check or money order. When renewing by telephone you may use an electronic check or valid credit card (fees apply); Internet renewals require a valid credit card. Online renewals are available on the State’s website. Additional fees will be incurred for mail, telephone, or Internet renewals.

Personalized plates plates also may be purchased for an additional $28 plate fee and $15 personalization fee.

Proof of Insurance

Proof of insurance (binder, policy, or card) from a certified Florida agent or broker is required to purchase and renew a license plate in Florida. The vehicle owner must present to the tax collector documentation of personal injury protection (PIP) in the amount of at least $10,000 and property damage liability insurance in the amount of $10,000 for registration purposes, and combined bodily injury liability and property damage liability insurance when required. Motorcycles, mobile homes, and trailers are exempt from the insurance requirement.

There are special insurance requirements on large trucks, motorcycles, taxi cabs, and limousines. Please contact the tax collector’s office for more information.

Electronic Payments

The Escambia County Tax Collector has implemented a payment program that allows customers to pay for their transactions by credit card (Visa, Discover, MasterCard, or American Express) or by electronic check. (A 2.35% convenience fee, $2 minimum, for each transaction is charged by the service provider for credit card transactions and $1 for electronic check transactions.) Renewals can be made via credit card or electronic check by calling 850-438-6500 x3252.

Florida drivers now can renew their driver license, as well as change their address, online. License plates, mobile home licenses, and vessel registrations also can be updated online. These transactions are provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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