If a policeman or highway patrol officer stops you, you must be able to prove that your vehicle is registered in your home state. Usually, this isn’t a problem – unless your registration card has become lost or seriously damaged.
Fortunately, you can replace registration cards easily enough, though the process differs from state to state.
Car Registration Explained
People sometimes get the title and registration mixed up.
The car title is the formal deed of ownership similar to the deed for a house, and certifies that you own the car.
The car registration, on the other hand, speaks to the vehicle’s road worthiness, and is issued with the license plate(s). The registration card certifies that your car is road worthy and insured, and you must keep it in the car and provide it to law enforcement on demand.
Remember: Safety Inspections and Vehicle Registration
Note that some states require safety inspections and smog checks before drivers can register or renew their vehicles’ registrations.
Generally, you won’t have to have your vehicle re-inspected just to replace a lost registration card, but requirements do vary by state.
Duplicate Registration Checklist
Requirements vary by state, but expect to provide the:
- Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN.
- License plate number.
- Month your registration expires.
Replacing the Lost Registration Card
You will need to complete an application for a duplicate registration (in many places, you can do the registration online, rather than in person) and pay a nominal fee.
The DMV will furnish the duplication registration, either in person, or through the mail. In some places, the online registration card will be available for download and printing from home.