Checklist for Buying Your Next Trailer

Whether you're in the market for a utility trailer, an enclosed cargo trailer, or a gooseneck flatbed, purchasing a trailer is a significant investment. To ensure a smooth and legal ownership experience, there are four essential things you need to do when you buy your trailer. In this checklist, we'll explore each of these crucial steps: registering your trailer, obtaining license plates, securing insurance, and understanding your trailer's GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).

Registering Your Trailer

One of the first steps you need to take after acquiring a trailer is to register it with the appropriate authorities. Registration requirements vary from state to state, so it's important to check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent agency for specific guidelines. Here are some general steps to keep in mind:

  • Gather necessary documentation: You'll typically need your bill of sale (or invoice), the trailer's title (if applicable), and your identification.
  • Visit your local DMV: Go to the DMV office or check if online registration is an option in your area.
  • Pay registration fees: Expect to pay registration fees and possibly sales tax.

License Plates for Trailers

Just like your car or truck, your trailer will require license plates to be legally operated on the road. The process for obtaining plates may differ depending on your location, but these are some common steps:

  • Provide required documentation: You'll usually need the trailer's registration, proof of ownership, and identification.
  • Choose your plate: Select a plate design, you can even request personalized or specialty plates, if available.
  • Pay the necessary fees: The cost of your trailer plates may vary based on factors like plate type and your location.

Insurance for a Trailer

Trailer insurance is essential to protect your investment and ensure you're covered in case of accidents or damage. Here's what you need to consider:

  • Trailer coverage: Find an insurance policy that covers your trailer specifically. You may be able to add it to your existing auto insurance or purchase a separate policy.
  • Liability coverage: Ensure your insurance policy includes liability coverage to protect you if you're responsible for damage or injuries while towing your trailer.
  • Coverage limits: Understand the coverage limits and deductibles, and make sure they align with your needs.

Knowing Your GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating)

The GVWR is a critical specification for your trailer. It tells you the maximum weight your trailer can safely handle, including its own weight. Knowing your trailer's GVWR is crucial for several reasons:

  • Safety: Exceeding your trailer's GVWR can lead to dangerous situations, affecting your ability to brake and handle the trailer.
  • Legal compliance: Many states have regulations based on the GVWR, and exceeding this limit could result in fines or penalties.
  • Proper maintenance: Adhering to the GVWR ensures your trailer's longevity and performance.

Your Trailer Checklist Made Easy with Happy Trailers

Buying a trailer is an exciting endeavor, but it comes with several responsibilities. By following this checklist, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience when purchasing your next trailer. Remember to register your trailer, obtain license plates, secure insurance, and always stay within the GVWR to ensure both your safety and the legality of your trailer on the road. Happy Trailers will make this process easy for you, and our staff is always available to answer any questions or concerns as you consider your next trailer purchase. Happy towing!