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Does My Truck Camper Need a Title, Registration, and Insurance?

Does My Truck Camper Need a Title, Registration, and Insurance?

Truck campers have proven themselves as useful RVs. They can go wherever a pickup can while bringing a home along for the ride. But many wonder about laws regarding truck camper titles, licensing, registration, and insurance requirements. After all they don’t have wheels or drive themselves.  

Let’s put these questions to rest by delving into what you need to do to drive a truck camper around the country legally.

Much of the commotion surrounding truck camper registration has to do with two missing items in the structure. Most do not have a VIN, and they don’t have an axle with tires. 

We Renovated A 20 Year-Old Truck Camper Into A Luxury Overland Vehicle

The absence of an axle with two tires makes it difficult to classify what type of RV a truck camper is. However, a truck camper gets its own class. 

Now, about that missing VIN. The VIN tracks the history of each vehicle, especially in the case of theft, recalls, and accidents

If an RV does have a VIN, it relays information about the manufacturer, the year built, the model, and its place of origin. Therefore, not having a VIN presents a problem when attempting to get a title and registration.

➡ If you’re surprised that truck campers don’t have a VIN number, you’ll be shocked at what other features they might be missing. Take a look: 7 Features We’re Shocked Aren’t Offered in RVs From the Factory

Rules Vary from State to State

Each state has different truck camper registration and licensing requirements. Forty-one states consider RVs that don’t have a VIN as cargo. The remaining nine use the truck camper’s Certificate of Ownership to license and register it as a recreational vehicle. 

Truck camper and flatbed Ram 5500
Truck campers are often considered cargo because they sit in the bed of the truck rather than being pulled behind it.

The certificate comes from the manufacturer when purchased. It has the ownership number and a unique serial number for your truck camper. 

Just know that if you live in one of the nine states, you must register your vehicle. These states include Idaho, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington.

If you bought your camper in the other 41 states, you don’t have to have a license plate when driving through a state with that requirement. In this case, they consider you a “temporary visitor.”

Additionally, some states require your camper to have a title. The title and registration rules also vary from state to state. For example, in Michigan, you need to have a title for your truck camper, but you don’t need to register it.

Below we will look at what you need to be aware of.

Sun-Lite truck camper
Most states don’t require registration and a separate license plate for your truck camper.

Does Your Truck Camper Need a Title?

Nine states require registration; however, 10 states require a truck camper title. A title states proof of ownership. If you live in Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, or Washington, you must have one on file. 

But how can you get a title if the manufacturer never issued one? You can use your Certificate of Ownership from the manufacturer or your truck camper’s VIN (if it has one).

Take either one to the DMV to get a title issued. You’ll also need to pay a licensing fee and post plates on your camper.

Do You Need to Register Your Truck Camper?

You need to register your truck camper in nine states: Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington. 

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
Your local DMV will help you register your truck camper and obtain a title.

This process includes taking a title or bill of sale to the DMV, along with proof of insurance. Depending on your location, you may only need to register it once or annually. And note that some municipalities require registration within 30 days of moving to that destination.

What About License Plates?

If a state requires you to register your truck camper, you’ll receive a separate license plate from the DMV for the RV. Of course, this is after proving ownership and paying a tax and a fee. 

Then you can place the license plate on the rear of the camper close to the bumper. Ensure nothing covers it as it needs to be visible. 

Like any other vehicle license plate, you will have to pay the licensing fee and tax each year and keep the plate tags up-to-date.

EarthRoamer license plate
Always make sure your license plate is visible and not obstructed by the camper or other gear.

If your state does not require registration, you won’t need a separate license plate for your rig. However, you’ll want to make sure your camper doesn’t obstruct the view of your truck’s license plate. If it does, consider attaching your truck’s plate to your camper.

Are You Required to Insure Your Truck Camper? 

Generally speaking, any non-motorized RV does not need insurance. But check with your own state to see if it has any rules. If your truck has comprehensive and collision coverage, you most likely won’t need to double the coverage by getting a policy for the truck camper. 

But, the other factor with insurance has to do with any loans you might have on the camper. Usually, a lender will require insurance coverage on the loan item. Lender obligations will vary, so check with your bank or financing company.

➡ Wondering how much you’ll have to pay to insure your truck camper? We’ve got all the details here: How Much Is RV Insurance?

What Are the Consequences of Not Registering and Titling Your Truck Camper?

Because each city, county, and state has differing requirements, the consequences of not registering your truck camper or failing to file your license can be vastly different. Some states require registration within 30 days and place a fine on your registration fees if you pay late. 

Police officer writing a ticket
You could incur a ticket and fines for not registering and titling your truck camper.

Others only require a one-time registration, but you could incur fees or a ticket from the local police if you don’t keep your license plate current. Always check with your state about its specific truck camper title rules and licensing requirements.

Truck campers are often the easiest RVs to purchase, and they have fewer rules regarding licensing and registration. But because of differing state rules, their regulations can become confusing. 

Remember, some states require your truck camper to have a title and registration, or one or the other. Contact your state DMV office to get the best information on truck camper registration so you can put your RV on the road legally.

Truck camper pulling out of parking lot

Are you loving truck camper travel? Considering going full-time? Find out: Can You Live Full-Time in a Truck Camper?

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Greg Painter.

Sunday 27th of February 2022

Hi

I have a “tote” that connects to the back of the class A in two places. I put my motorcycle on it. I was told by the manufacturer that due to in connecting in 2 placed it was considered by every state as an extension to the RV and doesn’t need to be titled. They said to move the listen every plate from the back if the class A to the back of the tote when pulling it. Ever hear iof anything like this? I live in Washington state.

Mortons on the Move

Friday 18th of March 2022

I have not heard of that exactly, but most states and police are lenient when it comes to that type of thing. I would agree however that as it doe not move independently it is part of the vehicle.

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