California Auto Registration Renewal

California Auto Registration Renewal Basics - Getting New California Vehicle Car Tags

The state of California requires you to renew your vehicle registration on a yearly basis.  If you’ve completed your initial registration in good order and have a current address on file with the DMV, then you should receive a renewal notification letter in the mail well in advance of your registration expiration each year.  This letter will include a special Renewal Identification Number (RIN) that will expedite the renewal process and give you a rough calculation of the taxes and fees you’ll have to pay in order to obtain your renewal sticker.

Proof of Liability or Full Coverage Auto Insurance in California

A DMV insurance lapse can cause problems, so the DMV insurance proof process must be adhered to.

If you notice that your registration expiration date is less than two months away or you happen to lose your renewal notification letter, you can call 800-777-0133 to have a replacement notification letter sent to your current address.

You can renew your registration via mail, in person at the DMV, or online via the DMV’s registration renewal system.  By far the most convenient of these methods is the DMV website.  Best of all, there are no extra charges for renewing your registration on the internet.

Online Car Insurance Renewal in California

Here are the requirements for renewing your registration online:

  • Your address is current at the DMV website.  (If you’ve moved you’ll have to update your address in the DMV online system and then wait 24-72 hours before starting the renewal process.)
  • Your insurance company automatically sends proof of insurance updates for the DMV to put on file.  (Most insurance companies provide this service; call your insurer to confirm it.)
  • You have the ability to pay online via credit card.
  • You have received your special renewal ID number (RIN) from the DMV in your snail-mail renewal notification letter.
  • You have a smog certification on file with the DMV.  (As a general rule an updated certification is required every other year for most vehicles.)

In Person Car Tags Renewal

Renewing your registration in person is required in these two cases:

  • If your insurance company doesn’t automatically report proof of your coverage to the DMV, you’ll need to show additional proof of financial responsibility and make an in-person appointment.
  • If you are changing the vehicle’s registration, by ownership transfer or are assuming title from a lien holder, then you’ll also need to visit the DMV in person.

California Car Registration Tags Mail Renewal

To renew by mail, just follow all the instruction on your renewal notification letter, and then mail it back—along with the required paperwork and documentation to the address below.

California Department of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

As long as you’ve mailed your renewal packet before your registration expires, you can still drive legally with your expired sticker while you await the one’s arrival in the mail.

More Registration Renewal Tips and Resources for California Automobiles Owners

Don’t get hit with late fees! Unfortunately, the state of California lacks a grace period for registration renewal; late fees begin to accrue the day as soon as your expiration date is reached. Keep track of when your registration is set to expire and make plans to renew promptly and avoid a cascade of needless late charges.

Finally, the DMV website has an excellent registration fee calculator tool that allows you to get a close estimation of the total amount you’ll have to pay to keep your registration current.  We encourage you to check the calculator out so you’ll know exactly where you stand in terms of your financial obligations to the DMV.


AUTO INSURANCE in California - Los Angeles, Covina, Montclair, Ontario, Riverside, East Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Compton, San Bernardino and Van Nuys California.