Understanding the Wait for Titles and Plates at the Courthouse
The good news is you bought a new car, but the bad news is, now you have to go to the courthouse for the title transfer and license plates, which can take hours of waiting, and waiting, and waiting in line.
Missoula County Clerk and Treasurer Tyler Gernant has been working since he got the job trying to streamline the process of renewing license plates and transferring titles for new and used vehicles, but he is hampered by sheer logistics.
First, Gernant emphasized the importance of taking the time to properly and legally acquire that title.
“It’s such an important system, because for a lot of people in Missoula their car is their single biggest asset,” said Gernant. “What we’re fundamentally doing is protecting people from fraud and protecting their property. Registering your car is what defines its ownership, and so what we do here is really dramatically important to a lot of people here in Missoula because it is protecting their greatest asset.”
Gernant said the process itself is relatively simple.
“Generally speaking, it takes about 15 minutes to complete a title transaction and that is usually what people will wait in line for the longest,” he said. “For each one to take about 15 minutes means that obviously when you’re doing 36,000 title transactions a year, that’s a lot of time.”
Gernant has advice on the fastest and most efficient way to license a new vehicle.
“The first thing that we recommend is that as soon as you buy your car, make an appointment to do your title work,” he said. “You’re going to have a much better experience if you make an appointment. Those appointments are limited, so the sooner you get on and make an appointment, the better. If you go to Get In The Line dot US you’ll be able to get in our virtual line and it will send you a text message update when you’re about to be served. You can also go to Check the Line dot US and that will essentially give you the list of where the line is, so if you see there are 60 people in the line ahead of you then you know it’s going to be longer than if there were only 20 people ahead of you.”
Visit the links above to get more information about how to reduce wait times for titles and license plates.