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Timing of domicile steps


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We have spent the last 18 months doing our homework in preparation for going full-time... plan to become Texans (for me, that's "again"), subscribed to the Escapees mail service and got a permanent address - check. Put the house on the market - check. Put the travel trailer on the market - check. Have everything ready to sign on the dotted line for the fifth wheel - check. Our original plan was to move into the fiver here in the Augusta, GA, area for a month or two while 1) waiting for the oral surgeon to give my wife a clean bill of health, and 2) spending some time near our RV dealer for a "shake-down cruise" and any initial warranty work. From here, I was planning to head to Livingston, TX, to register the vehicles, get drivers' licenses, etc. After spending some time in Livingston, the plan was to continue to southern New Mexico and stay long enough to spend the holidays with my family there.

 

OK, all of this sounds good, right? I've heard somewhere that it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind - and my wife is exercising that inalienable right. The house is now under contract and the travel trailer is all but sold. Closing on the house is August 21. My wife now wants to go from Augusta, GA, to Maryland (north of Baltimore near the PA border) to spend a couple of months near our daughter and that set of grandkids. Then, sometime in November, we would leave the North Pole... I mean northern Maryland... before things get too cold and head for Texas to take care of business and then New Mexico for the holidays.

 

Our drivers' licenses don't expire until 2020 and the earliest a vehicle tag would have to be renewed is June of 2016. I'll call USAA tomorrow and ask about insurance and banking, but my question is this: can anyone foresee any problems if we wander around for a few months with South Carolina tags and licenses (with a SC address on them) and a Texas mailing address before heading to Livingston to get those things taken care of? When we sell the house, I'll have to notify USAA (banking and insurance) of our permanent mailing address and print new insurance cards for the vehicles. Would a state cop between here and Maryland get heartburn seeing different addresses on a driver's license and an insurance card? Can you think of any other issues that might arise given this scenario. Please put your experience, knowledge, wisdom (they are two different things), and imagination to work for us.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Rob (and Laura)

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Until you take concrete steps to make Texas your domicile (an address, all by itself, doesn't do it), you will remain SC residents. Therefore, I see no problem with you waiting until later in the year to become Texas residents. I'm not sure, though, why your insurance would show your Texas address since you would not, at that time, be a Texas resident.

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There might be an issue if you are stopped for some type of moving violation on the highways. It can be a rather fuzzy issue. You could register the vehicles in TX by mail if you wish but you won't be able to change driver's licenses that way. The address difference between license and mail might be handled by leaving a 6 month mail forwarding order with the local post office.

 

The chance legal problem would be the only way that I can see any problems and that seems unlikely.

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I am watching this thread also,

I am planning on retiring next year and leaving Ca. officially in August. I can get my south Dakota plates mailed to me but I might not get to South Dakota drivers license until the later in the fall or maybe not until the following spring. The Drivers license will still be valid until fall of 2017. Wondering if that will cause problems with insurance and if I get stopped for something.

 

If you feel I have high jacked this thread just delete and I will start my own.

 

TIA

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I can get my south Dakota plates mailed to me but I might not get to South Dakota drivers license until the later in the fall or maybe not until the following spring.

 

Check with SD DMV. It used to be that you had to get your driver's license within 90 days of registering your vehicles...but that may have changed.

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Having your address in Texas isn't the issue. But your DL, Plates and insurance not all the same could be an issue

You need an address to "garage" your vehicle for insurance. That garaged address is what your rates will be based on. If you should have an accident and things don't match up your insurance carrier might not be happy. At the very least your plates should match your insurance.

We have had this conversation with a family member, as part of his career with one of the top 3 insurance carriers he did a few years as head of one of the regional underwriting offices, according to him its a disaster waiting to happen. You could risk having your insurance canceled. Notice I stated risk

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Having your address in Texas isn't the issue. But your DL, Plates and insurance not all the same could be an issue

You need an address to "garage" your vehicle for insurance. That garaged address is what your rates will be based on. If you should have an accident and things don't match up your insurance carrier might not be happy. At the very least your plates should match your insurance.

We have had this conversation with a family member, as part of his career with one of the top 3 insurance carriers he did a few years as head of one of the regional underwriting offices, according to him its a disaster waiting to happen. You could risk having your insurance canceled. Notice I stated risk

 

Thanks Ron and Linda. I spoke with USAA earlier today. They will change the billing address to our mail service in Texas but leave our policy as a South Carolina policy until we get the DLs and registration changed. They said it would be no problem if done that way (we would remain SC residents until we roll into Livingston to get everything changed).

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rob, Don't see a problem. We are not far from you in Columbia sc. We sold the house in Florence,s.c. and are in the rv. We have all correspondance going to mail forwarding in Florida. We did change our DL to our son's address in Columbia because the house is no longer ours and would rather any legal issues ( should we have any) would go to his house since everything is registered here. I would leave SC tags and registration on the vehicle until you change DL. That way everything matches so in case of an accident the LEO has no reason to question anything.

We will stay SC residents until we get to florida in November.

Happy trails,

Cary & Toni

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  • 3 months later...

We just completed everything in Livingston week before last. The DMV no longer even wants to see your Escapees mail card for a driver's license. Here's what we found:

 

1) Get the vehicles inspected on the way into town so you don't have to un-hook the RV again to do that once you're settled in at the park. The inspection will be entered in the state computer system and will be available for the tax office.

 

2) Go to the Polk County tax office with your vehicle titles and/or registration, proof of insurance, a weight certificate for the RV (or a manufacturer's brochure with the empty weight listed is acceptable for towables). A photo is required if your RV is a motorhome.

 

The process is more complicated than it needs to be if you get your driver's license in Polk County (someone at Escapees headquarters said they sometimes advise people that they might have an easier time in a neighboring county... just sayin'...). Here's what we gave Escapees to update their PDF file on the web site:

 

We found the advice and documentation in the Domicile section of the Escapees web site very helpful during our transition process and started getting things changed over several months before arriving in Livingston. The PDF document, “How to Become a Real Texan” was a good guide, but we found that some things have changed since the document was last updated – specifically for obtaining a Texas driver’s license (perhaps due to Texas coming into compliance with the new Federal guidelines for secure IDs post-9/11). The Escapees PDF document states, “C. Members may simply state that they are Escapees at the vehicle registration office, but the DMV will probably want proof of address such as their mail service card.” This is no longer the case. More documentation is now required if you are moving to Texas from another state and applying for a Texas driver’s license.
In our case, we had unexpired U.S. passports and military ID cards which sufficed for primary proof of citizenship. The DPS would not accept our Escapees mail card as proof of address. We had to provide two statements or other documents from financial institutions (with both of our names on them) showing our Livingston address. Health care related statements or documents and cell phone statements/bills are not acceptable. Had we not started moving our banking and other business-related accounts to our Livingston address, we would not have been able to get Texas drivers’ licenses at this time. Fortunately, we had a letter from our former mortgage company and a statement from our bank with our new Livingston address on them. Those, along with our South Carolina drivers’ licenses, passports, and Social Security cards were what we had to submit to get our Texas drivers’ licenses.
Hope this helps!
Rob
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