Applying for a New RV Title

After 4 months we finally have our new title and tag in hand!

We had a title in hand when we purchased Peggy Sue. It was not until 2 years later that we discovered that there was an issue with the title.  I know.  Shouldn't we have discovered this as soon as we bought our camper?  I was in an RV store looking for a new brake light and was recommended the kind that would allow me to hang my tag.  What???  I had no idea I even needed a tag until that moment.  The guy actually said, "Well, unless you are towing your camper out of state, you probably don't even need one."  I still laugh and say this is the most Mississippi answer ever!  But, being a tax paying and law abiding citizen that does travel out of state I decided to do the right thing.  With my title in hand, I went to the courthouse to get my tag, and that is where my problems began.

First, I was told that I couldn't get a tag because the owner had signed the title over to himself, and he would need to sign an affidavit stating that he had sold the camper to me.  I did this only to discover that his name was not the original on the title within our state motor vehicle system.  So, I was back at square one.

The original owner could apply for a new title, or I could try and get a new title in my name.  I opted for the second option.  To do this, I would have to get the owner to sign a Power of Attorney form stating that he had sold me the camper and authorizing me to have the camper title transferred into my name.  This should have been a simple process, except the Mississippi Department of Revenue provided me with an address returned all of my paperwork back to me unopened.  I was now 4 months into this process and on the verge of giving up.

This was the piece was mail that almost sent me over the edge, but it actually ended up expediting the process.

If you do have a problem with the title to your camper, this process is probably not for the faint of heart.  I contacted the State Treasurers Office in an act of desperation trying to find someone that might oversee the Department of Revenue at the state level.  At one point it was suggested that I petition the governor.  I feel like there are a lot of "you might be a redneck if..." jokes that could come from that one there.  I mean really?  I'm sure that the governor of Mississippi is just sitting around waiting for someone to petition him for an RV Title!

But, the people in the treasurer's office forwarded my frustrations and pleas to a seasoned employee of the Department of Revenue.  He called me early on a Monday morning and made it happen.  Now keep in mind, I had all of my paperwork in order.  But, he was able to help me get it done quickly.

Peggy Sue now has her new tag!  Yay!

If you buy a used camper, keep the contact information of the seller on hand.  You may need to contact this person after the sale is over.  In my case, I needed to contact the seller of our camper long after the fact.  And I'm glad that I did.  He is a really nice guy that was willing to help me out.  

Every state is going to have its own rules and regulations for getting new titles for motor vehicles.  I urge you to contact your state Motor Vehicle Office and ask how you go about obtaining a new title for a camper you plan to purchase.  Provide all of the information you have.  This may include:
  • Date of purchase
  • VIN number or Serial Number
  • Make
  • Model
  • Seller
  • Any other information that you may have
In our case, we had to get a form called a Power of Attorney to Transfer Motor Vehicle.  This form had to be signed and notarized by the previous owner.  In turn, we applied for a new title to our camper.  This is the process for our home state of Mississippi.

Each state will have its own process for this.  And the process will vary depending on what information you actually have.  And some states have a quicker process than others.  A reader in Florida recently contacted me and said the DMV used the serial numbers from the tongue on the trailer and the certified weight on a scale along with a notarized bill of sale to create a new title.  What an amazing story!  So before you automatically think you are going to have a headache on your hands, it may be easier than you think.  

I am thankful that our seller was cooperative and willing to help us out with getting the paperwork signed and notarized quickly.  I mailed him the paperwork that needed to be completed and provided him with self-addressed stamped envelopes to return everything to me.  I wanted it to be as painless as possible.  I just wish that getting everything done at the courthouse and the state offices were as quick.  But it is all done now and our tag is now on Peggy Sue.

Whatever you do, don't give up.  Keep track of everything.  Make photocopies.  Email contacts as much as possible.  This will create a paper trail so that you can keep up with the process.  You can also use your photo to scan and make photographs of items to keep up with them.  And be patient.  The red tape tied up in government processes can take a long time.  But, you can do it.

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