When it comes to keeping accurate records, not many people think about keeping them for recreational vehicles. If it doesn’t drive on the road or cruise on the water, it’s easily overlooked as a “toy” rather than a machine that benefits from keeping maintenance records, proof of insurance, bill of sale, or a title. If you have any recreational “toys,” you’ll want to be diligent in keeping their records throughout your ownership period and fully enjoy them. Not only will your equipment be legal on and off the road, but you’ll save yourself the hassle when it’s time to trade up.
Categories of Property
What kinds of assets are considered a “toy”? A toy is any vehicle or equipment that might be used for fun while on vacation, at the beach house, at the hunting lodging, or for any getaway by land or by sea. Take a look and consider if you own any of these vehicles:
By Land/Recreational Vehicles:
- Golf carts
- Luxury motor coaches (RVs)
- Golf Carts
By Air or Sea:
- Jet skis
- Ski boats
- Cabin Cruisers
- Fishing vessels
Don’t forget about the transport trailers used to carry these to and from your favorite spot—on the water, in the woods, or in the sky. Our next suggestions apply to both your toy and its trailer.
Documents to Have
Get to know your toy up close. Inspect it carefully or ask your dealer if it is issued a unique VIN or serial number. We suggest taking a photo, asap, of those details and add it to your file. Over time metal VIN # plates often become worn, corroded by sea water, or muddy making them nearly impossible to read.
Purchase transaction and loan documentations are also important to keep, along with your bill of sale. If you have a finance agreement, definitely keep that, and when your loan is paid off, tuck away your release of lien paperwork as well. Once you get your title, place it in a safe place with the rest of your vital records.
However, some asset categories don’t have titles. Others only have the original title that cannot be replaced! This commonly applies to water based assets. If that is the case, you’ll want to be even more careful in your record-keeping and do not lose the original document.
Do you know the registration process in your state? Certain motor vehicles, it is sometimes different from automobiles; however, it depends from state to state, wherever your asset is “garaged.” The state of Georgia has provided a list of vehicles that are exempt from registration, but some local jurisdictions like planned communities like Peachtree City apply their own rules. Take some time to research the registration rules of your state. You might not need to register your toys. But keep in mind that most marine items need to be registered through a different governmental agency.
Why Have These Records?
These records keep you legal, whether on the road, off-road, on the water, or over the snow. You’ll enjoy your fun time rather than dealing with an annoying citation for an expired boat registration from the Department of Natural Resources (aka the game warden).
Records are also helpful for filing insurance claims for theft, injury, damage, or even a total loss. You’ll be able to provide the information needed to get your claim processed quickly for a replacement, or a settlement check of an accurate amount of your loss.
Your paper documents will also allow you to sell or trade your asset without any delays. If you live in a jurisdiction where personal property taxes are levied on these asset types, you’ll want to file an annual personal property tax return with an updated asset register and valuation.
Capture insurance discounts when users complete applicable training, such as one of these boater’s safety courses listed at the US Coast Guard Auxiliary or off-road motorcycle safety courses.
If you don’t keep good records for your recreational vehicles, you will end up taking the fun out of your toy should you run into an unfortunate and unexpected snag. By keeping vital records from the initial purchase, you’ll make using your toys easier, as you’ll have no fear of citations or expired tags. You’ll also get a fair price should you sell your toys, or trade up, due to having accurate and up-to-date information for your asset.
At Organized Instincts, our team of daily money managers help you identify what records to keep for your recreational vehicle collection. Schedule a no-obligation conversation today and have no fear on your next relaxing weekend.