Do you know how it feels to wait weeks or even months for something to happen and then, suddenly, everything happens at the same time? Exactly this sums up what we had to go through last week. But before I go into more detail, let’s have a look at the end result…
Hooray! It’s an amazing feeling to achieve a goal which always seemed far away, almost so far away that we believed it was beyond our reach. Now, our house’s exterior is completed, it is insured as a Manufactured Home, registered in Connecticut as a Camp Trailer and an explorer of New England’s streets and highways!
So, I assume many of you are interested in knowing how we were able to insure and register our tiny house. I am going to explain both experiences like a funny, little manual, which will tell you exactly what we did (including our mistakes and useless attempts), so that you can jump right to the point where we started having success!
Tiny House Insurance
1. Call your current car insurance company and ask if they would be able to add your tiny house to your existing insurance package. Learn that they only insure campers which were manufactured by one of the big companies like Coachmen RV, but be thankful for them recommending to talk to local brokers.
2. Research local insurance companies and send them the following request:
“We had professional builders construct a tiny house/camper for us and we are now looking for insurance! Please see the attached picture or visit our blog runawayshanty.com. Would you be able to insure it? If yes, which options do you offer and what information would you need from us?”
3. Wait and hope that someone will get back to you.
4. Get all excited when you receive a reply from one company asking you to call to provide further information, but get all frustrated when you notice that they are very irritated from trying to understand what you have constructed and that the person on the other line obviously doesn’t seem to care about how much you love your tiny house.
5. While you wait for this company to get back to you (they never did), be sure to closely watch your phone for a call from Lysa who works for Archambault Insurance. Make sure you sit because Lysa’s exciting exclamation “Oh, I love your tiny house!” will knock you right off your feet.
6. Listen to Lysa as she explains the options you have and then answer all her questions. After that she will call you back several times to inform you that she’s still working on the case, and that she’s trying to come up with a new plan since the first underwriter rejected her proposal.
7. Get ready to jump when you receive the final call from Lysa because she will say “Congratulations, you can now insure your tiny house as a manufactured home!”
8. Read through and sign the insurance papers that will tell you the following:
- Your tiny house is insured for the value you invested as long as it is parked at your residence address.
- You can add trip coverage twice a year for 30 days for just $25 (but you have to stay within the borders of Connecticut).
9. Pay for your insurance four times a year to retain your coverage!
Oh, did you know that Lysa was recently named a five star Insurance Professional in Connecticut Magazine? Well, I say, let’s make Lysa THE Tiny House Insurance Specialist in Connecticut!
Tiny House Registration
1. Go to the DMV when you receive your trailer, the bill of sale and the title. Inform them that you want to register it because you’re planning to put a homemade camper on top of it. Let them tell you that the trailer needs to be inspected because the GVWR is over 10,000 lbs (our is 12,000 lbs). Pay for temporary plates – and don’t worry, they will make sure to charge you the 6.35 % states tax as well, which you will come to realize when they ask you to pay several hundred dollars.
2. Bring the trailer to a certified inspection site and receive documents that confirm it passed the test.
3. Go back to the DMV with all your papers but get sent back home because both owners need to be present if you want to register in both names.
4. Go back to the DMV with all your papers, including a Registration Form signed with both names, but try not to break out in tears when they have troubles to categorize what you are constructing because as soon as the trailer will carry a homemade something it cannot be registered as a trailer any more (go figure!). While you are struggling to explain what a tiny house is they shake their heads and state that this thing needs to be inspected (again) once it is built. The only problem is, so they say, we will not be able to receive temporary plates, so we must flatbed it to bring it to an inspection site.
5. Allow yourself to curse and return home. Make phone calls to ask for help, only to get reassured that you should have no problem at the DMV.
6. All confused you put your papers aside to deal with it another time and joyfully start building your tiny house. But be aware, knowing that at some point you have to register your home will always linger in your mind, like a ghost which is trying to ruin your life.
7. Time will go by, but once you realize that registering your tiny house is inevitable now that it is almost weatherproof and you need to tow it, you pull your papers out of that dusty little box in the corner of your room.
8. Because you are an exemplary citizen (or resident alien) you call the DMV’s inspection site to talk to an inspector to gain more information. This task will teach you to be persistent because it will require quite a few calls to get through to the right person. After you leave a couple of voice mails someone will eventually get back to you – and the first thing you do is writing down his name and number. The inspector will send you a chart that clearly, so he says, shows everything you need to pass the inspection.
9. Call back a couple of times to ask some more questions, because the chart clearly, so we say, doesn’t answer all of them. Luckily the inspector will tell you to get temporary plates to bring your tiny house to the inspection.
10. The thought of registering your tiny house is now your most important goal. It will take over your thoughts and your life. You dread the day you have to go back to the DMV to request temporary plates. But because you are ambitious you will eventually find yourself waiting in line half an hour before opening. When you finally approach the clerk to receive a number – you are still shivering from the cold wind and also simply out of fear – the clerk sends you home because you do not have a copy of your partner’s driver’s license. As you carefully sort all your papers back into your binder in an attempt to not lose your sanity a faint chuckle will flash over your wrathful face as your overhear the woman next to you being told the same thing. Misery loves company!
11. You drive to work but you leave shortly after because you are not able any more to think about anything else other than this evil registration (I told you it will take over your life) and you decide to try your luck at a different DMV since the old one clearly hates you. You get there, you receive a number and the following two hours you have to wait to be called give you enough time to forge a plan of what you want to say.
12. Eventually it is your turn. You approach the clerk who gives you a friendly smile and your gut tells you that this is your chance. You remain calm as you say with a determined voice, “Hello sir, I would like to register my camp trailer. Here is my bill of sale and the title, here are copies of our driver’s licenses, here is our signed registration form – and here are our inspection papers.” You take deep a breath and remind yourself to stay strong as you watch the clerk type everything into his computer. As he reaches for a metallic camp trailer plate your heart starts to beater faster and all you want to do is break out into a happy dance, but instead, because you are an exemplary citizen (or resident alien), you kindly ask if he wants to see your insurance papers as well. He shakes his head and smiles. You pay $59 and receive the plates. After you thanked him and wished him a good day you walk slowly, simply to not attract attention, towards to exit. You leave the building and let your emotions run freely… because you just successfully registered your tiny house as a camp trailer !!!
Let’s celebrate with a few quality photos of our Runaway Shanty!!