Register Car in Texas: The Complete Guide


Being a resident of the Lone Star State is an experience unlike any other place in the world, but you’ll need to register your car in Texas. Although not an exceedingly complex process, there are some things you’ll want to know if you are registering a car in Texas. Learn how to stay prepared, the cost you’ll need to pay, and the steps drivers should take for a smooth process.


What Do I Need to Register My Car in Texas?

When you register your car in Texas, you’re going to need to make sure that your affairs are in order. Otherwise, you’ll be frustrated at having to backtrack, further delaying the process. In order to register your vehicle in Texas, you’re going to need the following:


Valid Auto Insurance

The first step when you register your car in Texas is to make sure you have an auto insurance policy in place. It’s illegal to drive on Texas roads without a minimum amount of protection against liability coverage.

This coverage will protect you in the event you cause an accident by covering the costs to restore losses you inflict on another party. Both property damage loss and bodily injury loss are covered by your policy.

Keep in mind, that even in haste, obtaining only the bare minimum amount of protection can leave you at risk for a number of losses including restoring losses to your own vehicle after an accident, coverage for grand theft auto, protection against damage caused by incidents outside of a wreck, etc.

Drivers tempted to skip this step should reconsider. Procrastination isn’t an option here, because, without valid insurance, you can’t complete the second step: getting an inspection.


Pass Your Vehicle Inspection

You can’t register your car in TX, without first passing a vehicle inspection. Seeing as you can’t get an inspection before you obtain valid insurance, attempting to get one beforehand is a waste of time and will lead to frustration.

Drivers must be inspected at certified inspection stations, which are then deemed eligible for registration after providing proof of insurance and passing the inspection.


Take a Trip to Your Local County Tax-Assessor Collector Office

Finally, after obtaining your insurance and passing your vehicle’s inspection, you can register your car in Texas and get your license plates from your local county tax-assessor collector’s office. Here’s what to bring:

  • Your insurance card
  • The Vehicle Inspection Report from the inspection station.
  • Proof of ownership such as the title or registration from another state you’ve lived in. For some, documentation involving a current foreign/military ownership document or foreign evidence of ownership may apply.


Where to Register Car in Texas?

Again, you’ll need to travel to your local county tax-assessor collector office. While a visit to the Texas DMV (TxDMV) may seem like the route to take, this can often just lead to more confusion and a waste of time.


Register Car in Texas From Out of State

For those new to Texas, you may be in a position where registering a car in Texas from out of state makes the most sense. The process is the same, as you must be registered in the state/jurisdiction you reside in.


How Much Is It to Register a Car in Texas?

The cost to register a car in Texas will vary depending on the type of vehicle you are registering, the county you are in, and where you get an inspection.

For example, the owner of a four-door car in Bexar County will pay a different rate than the owner of a pickup truck or heavy vehicle in Harris County. In addition to optional donation fees, here are some of the fees you can expect to pay as of 2022:

  • Registration Fee ($51.75, depending on previously mentioned factors)
  • Local Fee (between $0.00 and $31.50)
  • Special Plates Fee(s) (varies and only applies to specialty plates being renewed)
  • Inspection Fee ($7.50, may also vary and is in addition to your previous inspection fee)
  • Processing and Handling Fee ($4.75)


Tips to Register Your Car in Texas

When you register a car in Texas, you’ll need to be prepared. Of course, you’ll need all of the important documents you’ve worked to get such as your proof of inspection and insurance, you’re also going to need to carve out some time.

The Lone Star State has many great aspects, but the wait time for anything related to getting your vehicle’s affairs in order is notorious for causing drivers to hurry up and wait.

In that same sense, you’ll want to make sure that while you are there, you are all set up to renew online. You have to register yearly in TX, and it can be a much less stressful experience from the comfort of your couch rather than killing an hour or two while being late to work.


How to Register Your Car in Texas Online


Unfortunately, to register a car in Texas, you’re going to need to go in person. There are, however, plenty of options for renewing your registration including online, through the Texas by Texas (TxT) Mobile App, through the mail, in person, and various other methods that vary from county to county.

While you may not be able to register your car online, you can shop for auto insurance in Texas. The team at Freedom Insurance Group has a free, easy-to-use tool to deliver an accurate auto insurance quote based on your coverage needs.

You can also contact our agents or give us a call and learn more about your options. Drivers must have coverage in order to register car in Texas, but they don’t have to overpay. Get the protection you deserve for less. On average, we save clients 40% on their auto insurance premiums!

Contact Us

Freedom Insurance Group
3861 Long Prairie Rd Ste 110
Flower Mound, TX 75028
Phone: (972) 798-3769


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