11 days in texas
For the past 11 days, my life has been mostly unpacking and filling out forms. This one is about transferring a car to Texas from another state.
Pictured above are two license plates I have. My old plate from Florida (the screw holes are messed up because of a dealer taking off security screws incorrectly,) and my brand new Texas plate. The process of how this was done was, as expected, different from Florida.
Many moons ago I had heard that if you think of all 50 United States as separate countries unto themselves, this makes things easier to deal with since every state has different ways of doing things. Different laws, different requirements for certain things, different this, different that, and so on. Using this mode of thought does help since no two states do things the same way.
Florida, like many other states, uses electronic titles instead of paper titles for cars. However, where Florida differs is that they use e-titles first. This means when you register a car, you never get a paper title unless you specifically go online or to a local HSMV office (HSMV is Florida's DMV) and pay for one.
Before I left Florida for Texas, I forgot to get this paper. But fortunately I was able to get the Hillsborough County Florida HSMV to mail me one for the tidy sum of just under 5 bucks.
As advanced as DMV departments are these days, you're still stuck in the stone ages where transferring titles from state to state is concerned, because no two differing state DMVs talk the same language. I can't just go to a Texas office and say "Yeah, just pull up the e-title file for this VIN in Florida for my car and that's all the proof you need." That's not happening. Paper is required.
And oh yes, when I got my new plates, I specifically requested that the new Texas paper title be mailed to me.
One-tag to two-tag
Florida does not issue two license plates. All you get is one for the rear of the car. Texas is a two-plate state. This doesn't bother me because back when I lived in Connecticut, they were one of the first states to require two plates.
Sticker-less to sticker
Florida has no emissions testing nor anything else that requires a sticker to be placed on the windshield glass for passenger cars, but Texas does. And the sticker has to be renewed yearly.
Again, in Connecticut this was totally normal so it's not a weird thing for me to go back to this. However, what's different is that Texas instructs you to put this sticker on your car yourself, whereas in Connecticut it was always the inspector that did it. This has probably changed by now since I've not lived in CT since early 2006.
Sticker to sticker-less
Florida plates all have a sticker stating the registration expiration date on them. Texas has no stickers at all that need to be applied on license tags. That's a new one for me.
Everything else first before the Texas driver's license
This is the one that really threw me for a loop.
In Florida, the process (at least back in the mid-2000s) was that if you moved from another state, you switched over your driver's license first, then titled and registered your car to get your plates and be on your way. Most of the time an inspection wasn't even required. After that, you adjusted your insurance policy to be Florida-specific.
Texas is the exact opposite, with extra added in. You insure your car with a Texas-approved policy first through your provider, do a car inspection second at an authorized garage, title and register your car third, then you can switch over your driver's license.
Is this weird? To me it is. I find it funny that your car, a piece of property, has to become a Texan before you do.
I do understand why Texas does things this way, but still, it's weird to me.
Things are going well here so far, and I'm getting used to the way things are done in The Lone Star State. It's a learning process, but I'm getting along with it as best I can.