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Although most individuals drive a standard car in their day-to-day lives, it is also common practice for some auto drivers to operate a recreational vehicle (RV). For example, an RV is often the vehicle of choice for certain motorists who are frequent cross-country travelers. But an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is also considered a recreational vehicle, and it is often operated by motorists who prefer to get behind the wheel of an off-road vehicle. In any case, if you would like to operate a recreational vehicle – whether it is on the road or at a camping site – you will need to first look at the requirements set forth by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. The basic requirements will vary and may encompass a number of different rules, depending on the state where you reside. However, some main steps you will need to adhere to include the following: obtaining the proper licensure or recreational vehicle endorsement on your license, registering your recreational vehicle (if necessary) and titling your recreational vehicle (if necessary). Most of these services can only be completed either at your local Department of Motor Vehicles branch or your county tax collector’s office. Most of the time, you will need to fill out the proper application, as well as pay any set fees, before you can be issued a registration decal and/or your official titling documentation. Keep in mind that certain vehicles are exempt from typical registration and titling procedures, such as mopeds or scooters.

What Constitutes a Recreational Vehicle

No matter where you live, most states have a defined list of what they consider to be RVs and off-highway vehicles. Generally speaking, the list includes the motor vehicles listed below:

  • Conventional RVs
  • Van campers
  • Truck campers
  • Trailers
  • All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV)
  • Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROV)
  • Off-Highway Motorcycles (OHM)
  • Snowmobiles
  • Dune buggies

How to Get an RV License Endorsement

Some states require you to obtain a specific license to operate a recreational vehicle, while others do not. For example, in the state of Arkansas, you must have a Class D license, and the same applies in Minnesota. If you do need a license to operate your RV, a Class D endorsement is oftentimes sufficient. However, if you live in Kentucky, there are no special requirements that you must follow. In order to obtain your proper licensure, you will need to visit a local Department of Motor Vehicles with certain documents in hand. In addition to presenting proof of your identity, your residency in the state and your Social Security Number, you may also be asked to pass a set of tests. These tests may include any of the following:

  • A vision test
  • A written test
  • A road skills test

If you already have a driving license in your possession, you may simply need to present the necessary documentation to convert it to a Class D license to drive. If you do need to take a vision test and a written test, you must be ready to complete these examinations in person. An official DMV representative will guide you through the process and explain to you what you can expect from each exam. However, you may still want to consider studying and prepping for your written exam ahead of time by reviewing practice material and study guides. The more you familiarize yourself with the content, the more confident you will feel at the DMV branch. In order to learn everything you need to know about driving an RV, make sure to pick up a copy of the driver’s manual in your state. You can get a hard copy in person, or if you prefer, a downloadable version may be available online, through the driver license department of your state.

How to Register Your RV

In order to get the proper registration for a recreational vehicle, it is important that you first make sure that you do, in fact, need to get it registered. For example, the state of Florida does not require registration of off-highway vehicles, but mopeds must be registered. Oftentimes, this process must be completed at a driver license agency with the correct paperwork in hand. Depending on the vehicle you intend to operate – such as a snowmobile in New York – you may also be required to follow a special set of instructions. Make sure to call your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles ahead of time, so that you are fully aware of what you must have with you for your registration appointment.

How to Title Your RV

Believe it or not, some states do not make it mandatory to register a recreational vehicle. However, you will still be required to complete the titling application. That is because a vehicle title certifies that you are the owner of the RV. Since certain recreational vehicles cannot be legally operated on public highways, registration in such instances is not required. To title your recreational vehicle, simply make your way to a driver license office or a county tax collector’s office to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions

Depending on where you live, your state’s driver’s license bureau will have its own definition of recreational vehicles. In a general sense, however, a recreational vehicle may consist of any of the following: a luxury RV bus, a truck camper, a van camper or a conventional RV. Take note that some states also include off-highway vehicles as part of the recreational vehicle umbrella, so to speak.
RV licensing requirements vary from state to state and depend on the type of RV you have. Many states do not require licenses for off-highway vehicles, but require them to be operated on private property and not public roads. However, for campers you will need to get a license to drive. Most states allow drivers to operate an RV using their regular class E driver’s license. A few select states require drivers to get an additional RV license endorsement. If the state you reside in requires an RV license endorsement, you will need to visit your local department of motor vehicles office. There you can complete the RV license endorsement application, pass the required tests and pay your endorsement fee.
Some states require drivers to apply for a special license in order to operate a recreational vehicle. If this is the case where you live, then you will need to contact your local DMV to find out the specifics. In any case, you must be ready to present certain documentation as proof of identity and residency. Additionally, you may need to pass a road skills test, as this will help confirm that you are a safe driver and can operate a recreational vehicle with ease.
Depending on the type of recreational vehicle you own and your state’s regulations, you may or may not need to register your RV. Many state motor vehicle departments consider off-highway vehicles (OHV) recreational vehicles for registration purposes. In these cases, registration is typically not required. However, conventional RVs must all be registered in the state you reside in. To register your vehicle, visit a local motor vehicle department with the title for your vehicle along with your identification and the required registration fees.
Almost every state in the US requires all motor vehicles to be properly insured. Minimum requirements typically include a level of liability insurance to protect against bodily injury and property damage. The amount and type of insurance required varies from state to state and also depends on your vehicle type. Other factors that can affect your insurance requirements are whether or not the vehicle is owned or under a lease. To find out more about minimum liability insurance requirements in your state, contact your state department of motor vehicles.
This site is privately owned and is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, nor operated by a government agency.