How to Register a Trailer in CT? Connecticut DMV Guidelines

In the state of Connecticut, it is legally required to register any trailer that will be operated on public roads with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Proper registration not only keeps you compliant with the law but also ensures your trailer meets all safety standards.

This article will walk you through the process of registering a trailer in CT, covering the required documents, fees, and steps involved. We’ll also clarify the difference between registration and titling, and provide tips on meeting equipment requirements.

How to Register a Trailer in CT

What’s the Difference Between Registration and Titling?

Registration and titling are two separate but related processes for trailers in Connecticut:

Registration allows you to legally operate your trailer on public roads within the state. It involves obtaining license plates or a registration certificate and paying the applicable fees.

Titling establishes ownership of the trailer. While not always mandatory for registration, getting a title is highly recommended as it provides proof of ownership that can protect you in case of disputes or theft.

Types of Trailers Covered

This guide focuses on the registration process for towable trailers used for personal purposes with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) under 3,000 lbs, including:

  • Boat trailers
  • Utility/Cargo trailers
  • Snowmobile trailers
  • Teardrop/Homemade trailers

Trailers exceeding 3,000 lbs GVWR have additional requirements that are not covered here. For those, please refer to the CT DMV‘s website.

Required Documents for Trailer Registration in Connecticut

The documents needed to register your trailer will vary based on whether it’s new, used, or purchased from out-of-state. Here’s a breakdown:

Trailer OriginRequired Documents
New Trailer (Dealer)Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) Bill of SaleProof of InsuranceValid driver’s license or ID
Used Trailer (Private)Completed Bill of Sale (Template)Previous RegistrationProof of Ownership (Title)Proof of InsuranceValid ID
Out-of-State TrailerOut-of-State RegistrationOut-of-State TitleBill of SaleProof of InsuranceValid IDVIN Verification*

*VIN Verification is required for out-of-state, homemade, and trailers without valid registration/title.

Safety Equipment Requirements

All trailers operating in Connecticut must be equipped with the following safety devices:

Safety EquipmentDetails
LightingBrake lights, turn signals, tail lights, license plate light, reflectors
BrakesElectric or surge brakes required for trailers over 1,000 lbs GVWR

During the VIN verification inspection, the DMV will ensure your trailer meets these minimum standards.

Completing the Registration Application

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documents, you’ll need to complete the Connecticut Application for Registration and Title (Form H-13B). You can download a fillable version from the CT DMV website.

The application has three main sections:

  1. Vehicle Information: Enter details about your trailer such as make, model, year, color, and VIN.
  2. Ownership Information: Provide your personal details as the registrant/owner.
  3. Registration Details: Specify if you need a title, the registration period, and any lease/lien information.

Be sure to complete all applicable fields accurately to avoid delays in processing.

Registration Fees and Taxes

Along with your completed application, you’ll need to submit the appropriate fees and taxes. These are based primarily on your trailer’s weight:

Trailer WeightRegistration FeeSales Tax
Under 1,000 lbs$226.35% of purchase price
1,000 – 3,000 lbs$386.35% of purchase price

Note that additional fees may apply if you need a VIN verification ($20), title ($25), or are registering late. Check the current CT DMV fee schedule for the most up-to-date costs.

Payment is accepted by check, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover). Don’t send cash through the mail.

Registration Methods

You have two options to complete your trailer registration in Connecticut:

  1. In-Person at a DMV Branch: Bring your completed application, required documents, and payment to any full-service DMV office. For faster service, schedule an appointment on the DMV website. Walk-ins are accepted but wait times may be longer.
  2. By Mail: Mail your signed application, copies of all documents, and payment (check or money order) to:

Department of Motor Vehicles Vehicle Services Unit 60 State Street Wethersfield, CT 06161

What to Expect After Registering

If you register in person, you’ll receive your license plates or registration certificate before leaving the DMV office. Registrations completed by mail typically take 10-14 business days for processing.

Your registration is valid for two years from the date issued. About 45-60 days before expiration, you’ll receive a renewal notice in the mail from the DMV with instructions.

Be sure to keep your registration documentation and plates secure, as you’ll need to present them if requested by law enforcement. Replace any lost or damaged items immediately through the DMV.

Getting a Title (Optional)

While not mandatory for registration, you can also apply for a Connecticut title when registering your trailer. A title provides legal proof of ownership that protects your interest in the trailer.

To obtain a title, complete the “Title” section on the H-13B application and submit the $25 title fee along with your registration payment. You’ll receive the official title document by mail after your registration is processed.

Bonus Tips:

  • Connecticut does not currently offer online trailer registration. Check the DMV website periodically for any service updates.
  • For trailers over 3,000 lbs GVWR, visit the Commercial Vehicle section on the CT DMV site, as additional registrations are required.
  • Keep all ownership documents safely filed away after registering in case you need to transfer the registration in the future.

By following the steps and guidelines outlined here, you can ensure your trailer is properly registered for legal and safe operation in Connecticut. Let the open road await!

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