By definition, a snowbird is a person who typically travels around the United States in response to weather conditions. It usually involves traveling from colder regions like Alaska, Minnesota, and North Dakota to warmer states like Florida, Hawaii, and Louisiana in winter. This is possible because the United States is large and spreads across many latitudes, giving it an extensive range of climates.
Previously, snowbirds were mainly retirees and the older generation; however, many younger generations are beginning to join the team lately. Florida is an excellent destination for snowbirds due to its warm climate. It receives visitors from many parts of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Florida has a no-state income tax policy which is excellent for retirees and the older population, who form a large percentage of the snowbirds in Florida. Many young people go to Florida for a couple of months to enjoy this policy while also getting away from the harsh winter weather.
The law in Florida states that any car that will be in the state for more than 90 days in a year needs to meet the minimum insurance requirements and be registered under the rules of Florida. The 90-day period does not need to be consecutive; it just has to be within a year. For the first year, it is easy to get past; however, when the migratory pattern shows up in the second year, you would have to get your car registered and insured. Staying more than 90 days in Florida in a year makes Florida see you as a part-time resident of the state.
Driving in Florida requires you to have a US driver's license. US citizens driving in Florida do not need a special license. But Canadian citizens and citizens from all around the world must have a US driver's license to drive in Florida. While enjoying the mild and warm weather, visitors should visit the Department of Motor Vehicles in their host state to know what is applicable and required of them.
In Florida, snowbirds can register vehicles. Registering vehicles in Florida does not require you to provide proof of residence, hence, allowing snowbirds to register vehicles easily. If you plan to spend more than 90 days in Florida, having your car registered is required of you.
A preferred option will be to apply for residency in Florida. Being a Florida resident gives you access to the no income tax policy within the state. The no income tax is a blessing to its residents, especially the older generation and retired people. It also solves the problem of car registration.
When registering a car in Florida as a snowbird, ensure you get a Florida car insurance policy. Accidents can happen anytime, and you need to be prepared. In case of an accident, if you have no Florida insurance policy, your insurance in your home country may refuse to pay based on the misinterpretation of your location. When taking an insurance policy for your car, ensure you do not opt for the bare minimum. It is advised to go for the same class of insurance used in your home state. You can use your current insurance supplier if they also sell insurance in Florida.
Swift-tags help to make the process of registration easy and hitch-free. Swift-tags.com is an online platform that allows US residents to register and renew their registrations in Florida without the hassle of visiting the state department of motor vehicles (DMV). Snowbirds can take advantage of the platform to register a car in Florida when they come from other states.
Apart from it being dangerous to drive an uninsured and unregistered car around, it is also against the law and can tarnish your image and reputation with insurance companies. Driving your vehicle in states other than where it was registered and insured can be termed insurance fraud and carries legal penalties. Some of these penalties are minor, while others are major and possibly financially damaging.
Driving an unregistered and uninsured car can ruin your reputation with insurance companies. To avoid all of these eventualities, as a snowbird, register your car and insure it with local car insurance companies when you get to Florida. The United States National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) may also get involved in the case and earn you legal penalties.
Insurance in Florida is relatively inexpensive and easy to buy. If your home state insurance provider is present in Florida, they can help you save some costs on insurance. Suppose your car is permanently in Florida while you are away to other states during the year's warmer seasons. In that case, you can consider turning in your license plates and placing your car in storage to stop your insurance payments for vehicles that are not in use. Your insurance company may offer some discounts for vehicles in storage facilities. Bundling your home insurance with your car is also a great way to save on insurance if it applies to you.
The cost of car registration in Florida is relative and depends on the car's weight, the type of car, license plate type, and the duration of registration. In Florida, you can register your vehicle for a period of one or two years. For vehicles that have not been registered previously in Florida, it attracts the first-time payment of $225. Title transfer to a new car from an old one does not require the $225 fee.
The insurance cost is dependent on the package you choose and the provider you decide to buy from. Private vehicles that weigh between 0- and 2499-pounds cost $27.60 for one year and $55.20 for two years. While those that weigh between 2500 to 3499 pounds cost $35.60 and $71.50, and 3500 pounds and above cost $45.60 and $91.20 for one and two years respectively. For leased vehicles, there is a flat fee of $17. If the leased vehicle holds less than nine people, you are required to pay $1.5 for every 100 pounds of weight and $2 if it can carry more than nine people. Getting a new license plate costs $28 flat and $7.35 for a transfer.
In conclusion, snowbirds migrate to Florida and warmer parts of the country during winter. Snowbirds can register vehicles in Florida, and they should consider doing so if they have plans to visit Florida frequently. If you will be driving your car in Florida during your stay, it is advised to register your vehicle and get it insured.