How to Register Vehicle in Montana? Everything You Need to Know

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Nowadays, there’s a growing desire among people to register their vehicles in Montana due to the state’s accommodating regulations for vehicle registration and residential vehicle status, as well as its budget-friendly vehicle registration rates. Montana-based vehicle owners can circumvent the expenses linked to vehicle licensing and taxes. So, are you in the process of considering vehicle registration in Montana? Or are you seeking clarity on how to initiate and what actions to take? To streamline this procedure, gaining insight into the prerequisites and the necessary steps is advisable.

However, Montana State provides various vehicle registration advantages, including economical vehicle registration fees and a streamlined documentation process. What’s more, owing to Montana’s autonomous Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV), it ultimately results in cost, time, and effort savings for individuals. 

To know how to register vehicle in Montana, this comprehensive guide will serve you through the fundamental elements and actions for vehicle registration in Montana. Additionally, we will outline the documentation requirements needed to complete this process. Let’s delve into the essential steps you need to consider to register a vehicle in Montana.

First and Foremost, How to Acquire a Vehicle Title in Montana?

The initial step is to secure a Montana vehicle title of ownership. In this step to purchase a vehicle from a dealership in Montana is a standard practice to provide the owner with the vehicle title. To complete the registration process, visit the County Treasurer’s Motor Office. Montana residents must register their vehicles in the county where they currently reside and need to provide the fully filled-out vehicle registration application.

For this purpose, people must complete a valid proof of auto insurance to settle the registration fee, determined based on the vehicle’s age and the duration of the registration. Fulfill the county option tax, which is assessed on factors such as the vehicle’s type, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), and the depreciation of its value. If necessary, satisfy titling fees. Or, if a person chooses specialized license plates, make sure to cover the associated license plate fees.

On the other hand, if someone wants a vehicle from a previous buyer, they must form a title transfer application. This process entails completing a form (MV24), a bill of sale, and an application to transfer a certificate of title, including signatures from both the buyer and the seller. Additionally, they must provide proof of a release vehicle of lien release form or security interest (MV37A). Hence, following these steps will officially transfer the title to the vehicle owner’s name. The title transfer and registration are executed simultaneously when the vehicle has been recently purchased.

How to Register Vehicle in Montana? Your Ultimate Guide

How to Register a Newly Acquired Vehicle?

When acquiring a new or pre-owned vehicle in Montana, the crucial step is officially registering it with the state. To accomplish this, people can visit the nearby MVD (Motor Vehicle Department) office or complete online registration.

At the same time, having valid proof of insurance, the vehicle’s title, a valid driver’s license, and the necessary payment for the registration fee is imperative. Moreover, if a person obtains a used vehicle, they must ensure the previous owner signs the title to the new owner.

How to Register a Commercial-Owned Vehicle?

For commercial vehicle dealers operating in Montana, registering the vehicle is essential. So, registering commercial vehicles entails adhering to specific requirements, which include furnishing supplementary documentation like vehicle weight and size permits, proof of ownership, and adherence to federal regulations.

Moreover, having a firm grasp of Montana’s requirements for commercial vehicle registration is paramount, ensuring that all the vehicles are correctly registered, thus allowing them to operate lawfully within the State.

What are the Unique Vehicle Registration Scenarios? 

Montana presents distinct regulations and prerequisites for particular car registration scenarios. It encompasses registering vehicles with leased vehicles, salvage titles, or vehicles adorned with personalized or specialty license plates. 

Such circumstances may necessitate supplementary fees and documentation, underscoring the significance of acquainting people with the precise criteria for each situation. However, comprehending this unique vehicle registration is essential to guarantee a hassle-free vehicle registration process.

What are the Insurance Requirements in Montana?

Relocating to a new state often entails adjusting the vehicle insurance coverage, as each State may impose distinct requirements. It’s vital to obtain the proper coverage because failing to do so could result in violating state laws and other regulations in the occurrence of an accident. Or, like any other place, Montana outlines its minimum insurance requirements in the Montana Code. In Montana, the minimum car insurance mandated includes:

  • A minimum of 25,000 dollars for bodily damage liability or death of one person in the coverage of a single accident, subject to the per-person limit.
  • A minimum of 50,000 dollars for bodily injury liability or death of two or more individuals in the coverage of a single accident.
  • A minimum of 20,000 dollars for injury to or damage liability to others’ property in the coverage of a single accident.

While these minimums are in place, surpassing the essential minimum charges is always an excellent option. Consider augmenting the coverage with additional liability, collision insurance, and comprehensive coverage for added protection.

In some scenarios, even if a person may not appreciate all the regulations and laws, maintaining the minimum insurance is obligatory for any vehicle registered in Montana, and any violation constitutes an offense. One significant risk it faces as an uninsured owner is the prospect of a lawsuit. Moreover, it becomes a prime target if the State finds them in an accident without insurance. Thus, it’s simply wise to have vehicle insurance in Montana.

What is the Timeline for Vehicle Registration?

Registration choices in Montana stand out by offering its residents a range of registration duration options. It consists of permanent vehicle registration and others, which means that when someone utilizes agent services to register their vehicle, there’s no more annual registration hassle. A vehicle owner can select a 12-month or 24-month registration, or if someone is in the state temporarily, they can register the vehicle every quarter. Additionally, specific vehicles qualify for permanent registration. 

With that said, here are some of the available vehicle registration periods in Montana that you must consider:

  1. Lifetime Vehicle Registration 

In Montana, vehicles aged 11 years or older can obtain permanent registration. With this choice, there are no renewal obligations or mandatory emissions testing. The need for a new registration only arises when the vehicle changes ownership. This option entails that the vehicle will no longer need to undergo registration renewals throughout its lifespan or until it changes ownership through sale. 

However, it’s important to note that not all light vehicles consider this option; owners must wait until the vehicle reaches the age of eleven or older. Alternatively, if they purchase an older vehicle that has already met this age requirement, they can opt for permanent registration immediately.

  1. Yearly Vehicle Registration

The typical registration cycle most people opt for is the standard twelve-month duration. In that case, vehicle owners must fulfill all the applicable registration fees and are responsible for country taxes annually during this period. Also, they are liable to pay any additional costs linked with special vehicle license plates, if applicable.

  1. Two-Year Vehicle Registration

Montana provides a two-year registration cycle option, ensuring the vehicle is valid and registered for twenty-four months. In this cycle, the vehicle’s owner must cover all the registration fees, the county option tax, and any applicable special license plate fees to ensure coverage for the entire two-year period.

  1. Periodic Vehicle Registration

A temporary visitor or worker from another state in Montana can opt for quarterly vehicle registration. During this period, they must display a Montana license plate and the home state license plate on the vehicle.

How to Avoid Sales Tax for Large Vehicles in Montana?

All recreational vehicles, just like RVs, often have an extensive price tag. There’s a strategic approach available for those looking to circumvent the substantial sales tax expenses associated with RV purchases. It entails buying and registering the RV in a state that doesn’t impose a general sales tax. For this purpose, states like Montana are the perfect choice for this.

However, out-of-state residents can establish a Montana LLC and utilize this in-state entity to purchase and register the vehicle. This method allows people to avoid the significant sales taxes they would incur by acquiring the vehicle as an out-of-state resident. However, it’s worth noting that some other states do not allow this practice since they prefer vehicle/car registration fees and tax revenue.

In some cases, the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may require proof of sales tax payment for individuals who have previously registered a vehicle in another state. Nevertheless, Montana does not enforce strict regulations on corporations established solely for vehicle purchases within the state. Thus, Montana State law does not mandate specifying the LLC’s business purpose during registration.

Way Forward—Register Your Vehicle in Montana!

In summary, registering a vehicle in Montana can be a complex undertaking. A substantial grasp of the state’s laws and regulations is essential to avoid legal complications. The vehicle registration process in Montana necessitates the submission of specific proofs and documents as outlined. In that case, the correct paperwork must be diligently completed, and the required fees must be duly paid.

Ultimately, individuals can be furnished with registration documents and license plates. Although it may appear to involve a significant amount of paperwork, the advantages of registering a vehicle in Montana far outweigh the effort invested. However, if you’d rather sidestep the intricate registration process, you can avail 5 Star Registration (Montana Registered Agent) services to completely handle it on your behalf.

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