Disclaimer: This is what we did on or before December 1, 2015. What we believe will work for us, and how it went down on this day, this time, and this place. Your experience and choices may differ.
So why did we choose Florida? We looked at a bunch of states when deciding “where to reside.” Illinois (our former state) was not on that list, mostly due to our experiences and our simply wanting to leave it behind.
We are “pre-Medicare” and have been small business owners for a long time. The availability of some sort of major medical health insurance with nationwide coverage was tops on our list in making our choice. With South Dakota never having a nationwide ACA insurer, and BCBS-Texas out of nationwide as of 2016, that left Florida. Another big reason we chose Florida is because they have no state income tax, and because they allow you to renew your driver license’s online. They also do not require special licensing for heavy RV’s, and no vehicle inspections.
So, as of today, we are residents of Florida. The Sunshine State. Land of snowbirds, orange trees, white sand beaches. And easy residency requirements, really nice public servants, and what actually appears to be a desire to “Home the Homeless”.
Last week, we signed up with Americas Home Base. This is a mail-forwarding service that will handle all of our personal mail from here forward. They are located in Pensacola, 30 miles from our Gulf Shores campsite. $10/month + postage. Done.
The next thing on Florida’s list – we had to prove our vehicles were insured in Florida. This required a simple phone call to Geico (our existing insurer) and Done. (worth noting: moving from Illinois to Florida gave us a healthy increase in insurance costs. Something about hurricanes apparently. Don’t care. Done). We had Geico email us a binder statement that named everyone on our insurance, and included our (Americas Home Base) Florida address.
So… As of 12-1-2015, Florida’s website said to title a vehicle, we had to present another state’s title or paperwork from a lienholder, and proof of Florida insurance. Done.
For our Drivers License, we needed 2 proofs of identity (another state’s unexpired driver’s license and our passports), 2 proof’s of residency (the above mentioned Geico statement, and our vehicle registration) and proof of our social security number.
So we gathered up our vehicle titles, insurance paperwork, Illinois Driver’s licences, passports, Social Security cards, hooked the Honda motorcycle on the back of the bus, hooked the Jeep to the towbar, and headed down 292 toward Florida, to the office that says “Tax Collector” on the sign outside.
Seems we picked a great day to do this, the Warrington office was almost empty. We met up with a very nice lady there named Lynne, and she took us through the whole thing start to finish. In about 3 hours we left with our titles, license plates, Florida driver’s licenses, and voter registrations.
It was still early enough that we had time to go to downtown Pensacola to the Bank of America, and opened 2 personal checking accounts (using our fresh off the press Florida D/L’s as ID) and a business checking account. We chose Bank of America because they have locations pretty much throughout the United States, in case we would ever have to actually visit a bank branch for any reason (everything is done online, but you never know!).
So it’s done. All of this was actually very simple. We’d planned Thursday and Friday for all this, and it’s done, complete, finito, on Tuesday. Kudos to the ladies at the Tax Collector office and at Bank of America for a job well done! We were very impressed with their knowledge and helpfulness!
Sit on it Illinois.