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Do you have a vehicle you store during the offseason?

If the license plate for that vehicle will come up for renewal during the time period when it is in storage you need to be aware of changes enacted by the Michigan Secretary of State that will affect your plate renewal.
When you renew a license plate the Secretary of State’s office has always confirmed whether you have insurance legally required for the vehicle to be operated on Michigan’s roads. Unfortunately when you put a vehicle in storage and reduce the insurance to only comprehensive (fire, theft, vandalism) this coverage does not meet that requirement.

In the past this wasn’t an issue – you simply showed a certificate of insurance for the vehicle and no one actually confirmed the specifics of your coverage. This has changed and the Secretary of State’s office now receives electronic confirmation, from every insurance company, of vehicles they are insuring with Michigan No-Fault coverage on a bi-monthly basis.

Regardless of whether you have a certificate of insurance for your vehicle, if the Secretary of State’s office subsequently confirms there wasn’t proper road coverage on your vehicle on the date the plate was renewed you’ll wind up receiving a letter canceling the plate for that vehicle.

There are 3 options for renewing a Michigan license plate for a vehicle in storage when the plate is scheduled to renew:

  1. Renew early: The Michigan Secretary of State will now allow you to renew a license plate up to 6 months in advance. This means if a plate is scheduled to renew on December 1st you can renew that plate as early as June 1st.
  2. Postpone renewing: You may also chose to wait to renew your plate until your vehicle is out of storage and properly insured to be on the road. While there is a $10 late registration penalty a new law took effect in 2016 providing for this fee to be waived if you furnish documentation the vehicle was insured with just storage coverage on the scheduled plate renewal date.
  3. Reinstate road coverage: A third alternative is to add required road coverage to your vehicle for a period of time needed to get the plate renewed. Unfortunately, this option would require multiple changes to your policy – and additional cost – to add road coverage to your vehicle and subsequently remove that coverage after your plate has been renewed.

If your vehicle will be in storage when your Michigan license plate is scheduled to renew we recommend planning ahead and renewing your plate early – this option would involve the least hassle and expense for the vehicle owner.

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