So, the DMV (or OMV as it is known in Louisiana) will always hold a special place in my heart as my “most favorite place to spend a morning”- NOT! However, it is something that HAS to be done and now we are done with it- for two years! WOO HOO!

Both of our NC plates expired in May. Because of various reasons, we couldn’t get to the DMV until yesterday- May 31. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh? 🙂 Well, all three of us headed down there to get there when they opened- all I could find online was that it opened at 9am so we got there at 8:50. They opened at 8am and there was already a line. Boo! Well, we “take a number” and have a seat. We are there about 5 minutes and the lady comes out and says that the computers have gone down statewide and they didn’t know how long it would take before they were back up. BOO! BOO! A lot of people grumble and decide to leave. We talk and decide to stay because it HAD to get done. About an hour later, they start allowing people to take the driving test and written test but they still couldn’t print licenses or do plates. About another 30 minutes later, they were up and running and our number 18 quickly jumped the line to about number 6. Whew!

We get in and have NO problems with getting our licenses. I OD’d on the documentation required because I did NOT want to get there and be told to go home and retrieve something else. Apparently, since we have both had Louisiana licenses before that really sped us along since we were already in the system- I didn’t get my old driver’s license number though…weird. The licenses were complete and so we move onto the license plates. Again, I OD’d on documents. She asks us for “proof of insurance” and I give her our CURRENT NC State Farm cards. She tells us that we can’t use those because they are out-of-state. We told her that the website said they needed to be “current” and this was our “current” because where we’ve lived you’ve always had to have state tags before you can get state insurance and showing a “current” albeit out of state insurance card has worked. Not in Louisiana. UGH! We also find out that they need a copy of the title faxed from the lender for the HHR- this was NO WHERE on the website and it really frustrated me. They give us the fax number and the form that we are to send to the bank for them to fax a copy of the title to them. After we leave, Travis calls the bank and explains it and the lady tells Travis that it will only take a few minutes after she receives our faxed request for her to send the info to the DMV. No problem. We still have to go get insurance.

So, our new LA driver’s licenses take our NC tagged car and go switch our insurance over to LA. Our per-month charge for insurance went up $110! CRAZY! We knew it was going to go up because we knew that LA insurance was expensive from our previous residence in this state. However, our NC insurance was calculated on us living in the CAPITAL COUNTY. Not just the capital county but the RESEARCH TRIANGLE AREA. You would think that would be kind of expensive. Apparently not. I asked the lady why the jump and she said that it was because Louisiana is a “sue happy” state. I don’t doubt her one bit. Every time you turn the TV on (which we rarely do) you see a commercial for some kind of attorney. Ridiculous! So, we suck it up pay the difference and go grab lunch.

After lunch, I drop Travis off at the DMV for him to do the tags since his name is on both registrations. I take Sam (yes, our 3 year old has been with us the entire time- I was almost to the point of pulling my hair out) and we go home for nap/rest time. Travis texts and tells me that he got the tag for his car but he can’t get one for mine because the fax hadn’t been received from the bank. He calls them back and they tell him it takes 24-36 hours for those requests to process. He explained that that is not what he had been told a couple of hours ago and they apologized for the previously erroneous info. BOO! BOO! BOO!

Once Travis has his plate in possession, he asks how long he has to get it inspected. They said that, technically, he can get a ticket for not having an inspection sticker as soon as he drove out of the DMV parking lot. WHAT?! There is no “buffer” period. We kind of thought it would be about a week but were planning on getting it down that same day. Travis laughed and told them that was ridiculous. She said the ridiculous part is that the police station is across the street. HA! At least she has a sense of humor. 😦

Travis puts his plate on the Equinox and carefully drives to get it inspected. He gets to the only inspection place we remember seeing- Jiffy Lube and they tell him they aren’t doing inspections that day. He asks why and they tell him it is because it is raining. Travis looks around and sees no rain drops falling from the sky and tells them that and they said that it rained earlier and part of their parking lot isn’t dry and state law in LA is that you can’t do inspections on wet roads. I VAGUELY remember that crazy tidbit of info but never could figure out why it existed. So, by now it is 4:00 and Travis comes home. He gets home and calls around and finds a guy in a nearby town who will inspect it as long as Travis gets there by 5. Off he goes.

About 5:30ish, Travis returns with an inspection sticker. This guy never even got into the car to do the inspection. HA! It was crazy!

This morning, Travis calls the DMV to see if they’ve received the fax. They haven’t. He calls them after lunch- it has arrived! So, Travis goes BACK to the DMV (my name is no where on the HHR so I couldn’t do anything) and gets my plate. We didn’t have to pay any taxes on the ‘Nox because it has been registered in LA before. However, the HHR hadn’t. Again, I did Internet researched and we had a VERY good idea of how much we would owe. LA gives former NC residence a 3% tax credit and then you also have to pay the difference (for it was 1%) and your specific parish taxes. Their website has a handy little chart that tells you the percentage your parish/precinct pays. It was 3% for us. So we have an idea in our head of approximately how much we should based on the purchase price of our car. They don’t use the purchase price but the blue book value so we knew we were overestimating. Well, they tell Travis he owes a GOB more than our estimate. He asks why and apparently the website doesn’t inform you that certain precincts charge extra. Because the LC missionary house is in Pineville city limits, we were charged 9% in addition to the 1% state tax we owed! We paid MORE in taxes to LA than to NC which is the state we bought the car in! Unbelievable! He pays all of those fees and then goes BACK to the nice man who inspected the equinox and got my car inspected. Then he came home, dropped my car off, and walked to the office to get some work done. When I went outside a bit later, I had a surprise- he had gotten me a SAINTS license plate! How fun!

Things I have learned from this experience
1. Paper overload is a GREAT thing and highly encouraged
2. The website is completely worthless so the best thing to do is call
3. However, calling (which I also did to try to verify website info) is pointless if they never answer the phone 🙂
4. I am SO glad that Louisiana tags are good for 2 years.
5. The next time we buy a car, regardless of the state we are living in, we should buy it in Louisiana so that if/when we move back we don’t have to fork over a small fortune in taxes
6. My hubby loves me so much and isn’t big on surprises but when he does surprise me it is a great one. See-

From June 2012