How to Choose A Domicile State

If you plan to full time RV, you may want to change your address. Sure, you were born and raised in Ohio, but is Ohio the state you want your RV to call home? Probably not. In fact, most RVers call one of these three states home.


South Dakota


Why? These states offer a greater opportunity to establish residency while traveling. These benefits include:

South Dakota:

No state income tax, low vehicle excise taxes (3-4%), easy exemption from jury duty, no vehicle state inspections, lower insurance costs, can renew driver’s license once every five years without having to show up. Voting is also easy by proxy.


No state income tax, no vehicle state inspections, can renew driver’s license every eight years, lots of RV friendly health insurance choices. As a Floridian your vehicle registration is a flat per vehicle rate and you don’t need a special class license to drive your rig.


No state income tax, driver’s license can be renewed remotely but only once. There are many health insurance options for the RVer. There is a flat annual vehicle inspection rate and insurance rates are good.

While each state has benefits, they also have disadvantages and it’s important to consider where you are in your RVing career. What you need now may be different than what you need in the future. Here’s a personal example:

I chose to make my home Oregon because Oregon has no sales tax and maintains the lowest registration costs in the nation. Since I was new to RVing and buying my first rig outright, I saved over $10,000 in sales tax when I purchased my motorcoach. I also save at least $1,000 a year in registration fees. My insurance rates are low on my rig, but getting health insurance has proved to be a real pain! So as you can see, there are pluses and minuses in whatever you choose.

What do you need to establish residency in a new state?
First, you need an physical address. This can be established by arranging for a mailbox at a place like the UPS store. There are also services through memberships like the Escapee’s that offer you the ability to easily set up mail address and forwarding service.

States vary in their requirements, but here are a few ways to become a resident:

Establish an address Get a driver’s license
Register all vehicles
Reside at least 30 days
Get a job for a period of time
Register to vote

Regardless of the state you choose, RV insurance will be a huge part of the domicile puzzle. If you plan to be full timer you will need full time coverage, which is not something your average insurance agent can offer. If you have yet to choose a state, an RV insurance agent can help you discover the cheapest rates available in a variety of locations. They can also make sure you have the coverage you need should you run into trouble on the road. Getting a quote from is as simple as clicking here .

Health insurance is another consideration you have to take into account. In fact, it's a greater challenge today than in the past. If you are over 65 and on Medicare, you will have a lot more choices than those of us who travel young. Many people are also self employed, which adds to the insurance challenge. If you find yourself in this position, I highly recommend this article by Technomadia.

You may also want to contact for quotes and information. Health Insurance is now a requirement, so it’s important to choose a state that offers coverage options as your residence.

Once you have chosen a home state, it’s important to research what steps you need to take in order to establish residency. In most cases this requires a permanent address, which can be as easy as getting a UPS Store mailbox and hiring a forwarding service. You will also need to register to vote, register your car and figure out your health insurance. The entire process took us three months from start to finish. Be sure to allow yourself time to hang out in your new state. It is much easier to establish your residence by actually being physically present.

For more information on choosing a domicile I recommend reading this article by Changing Gears.

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