Residency in the Sunshine State
When I rented out my house, the mailbox at the foot of the driveway was included. The United States Postal Service will not forward mail internationally. Putting in a Change of Address form to a Canadian address couldn’t be done. Even although I had switched my bank statements and credit cards bills to ‘online delivery’, I needed an address other than what was now my tenant’s address.
There are a couple of states where there are businesses that specialize in providing an address. South Dakota and Florida are the most notable, with Texas and Niagara Falls, New York also being available. Florida and South Dakota Mail Forwarders flourish because of people like me, people who have given up their traditional ‘sticks and bricks’ home, for a life in a box. They provide a physical address in the city where they are located. It’s semantics in a way, however it is recognized by the Post Office.
Yes, you could go to the local Post Office and get a P.O. Box. But it’s a P.O. Box. Ever seen web sites that say, “we cannot ship to P.O. Boxes”? These Mail Forwarding companies in essence do the same thing. The difference is, your address is not 123 Main Street P.O. Box 20, your address is 123 Main Street, Suite 20. Also, you have to go to the Post Office to pick up your mail. The Post Office won’t box up your mail and send it to you.
The Mail Forwarder goes to the Post Office and collects everything addressed to 123 Main Street. He takes it back to his facility where it is broken down into individual mail boxes, ‘Suite #1’, ‘Suite #2’, ‘Suite #3’ and so on. They can accept government documents, which the Post Office will not forward, it returns to sender. The Forwarder can sign for Registered letters or items, such as prescription medicine which must be signed for. When a customer decides to camp in a particular RV Park for a week or so, the customer can tell the Mail Forwarder to send his mail c/o Bob’s RV Park, Tucson Arizona.
The additional benefit of this service is that it is an accepted physical street address by the state of Florida. The situation I was in is that my birthday is in August. The tags on my truck and my trailer will expire on my birthday. At some point, my Georgia driver’s license will expire. I no longer have a Georgia address. What do I do?
Welcome to Florida!
I went to the Mail Forwarder’s in Green Cove Springs to pick up my mail, ensuring there were two acceptable pieces of residential mail – a bank statement or credit card bill. The Mail Forwarder helped me fill out the first form, establishing Florida as a Domicile. I went to the County Courthouse armed with my passport and my social security card, paid the $15 Registry fee and I was on my way.
The next step was what I thought should have been a relatively short phone conversation with my Insurance Company, who shall remain nameless. I have been with Travelers Insurance for over ten years and Florida is my third state with them. After close to an hour of what seemed like the agent underwriting the very first policy they had ever written in Florida, he said he’d call me back. Well, I had been on hold sitting outside the front door of the County Admin Building in the mid-afternoon heat. I wanted a Driver’s License as well as tags. I figured that would be two different departments and it was getting close to 3:00pm.
I was running out of time and this guy wants to call me back while I’m talking to a government employee. I could only imagine how well that was going to go over. However, I told him to continue underwriting the very first policy ever written in the state of Florida and call me back. He said he needed DMV’s fax number, to fax the proof of insurance. I started to get worried… just how long is this process going to take?
When I moved from Illinois to Georgia, my first mission was to get the caricature of Abraham Lincoln, featured on an Illinois tag, off my truck. I called the (same) insurance company and got it switched over from Illinois to Georgia. I went to DMV and the DMV agent was able to tell ME that I had Georgia insurance. I asked, ‘yes, but how do you know?’. She told me it showed in their computer under my VIN.
But Florida needs a physical copy faxed to them… by this Traveler’s agent on his first day on the job? I’m glad I’m booked at Stagecoach for a month. Plus, it’s 3:00pm. I went inside and took a number.
And waited, and waited. It must have been two minutes and thirty seconds later that my number was finally called. I stood before a very competent lady, starting out my conversation with an apology as my insurance man was going to call as close to an hour on the phone outside hadn’t got things finalized. She nodded and pushed a business card across the counter to me saying, ‘he’ll need this’, with her fax number.
The DMV lady took my documents and asked a few questions. The Rookie called me back and I gave him the fax number. This same lady got me a useable Florida Driver’s License – not a temporary one then you wait for the mail with the real thing – she got me my choice of “Clay County”, “The Sunshine State” or “In God We Trust” (the winner) Florida License plate, she got me registered to vote and asked me if I needed a Carry Permit.
The insurance information from The Rookie was waiting on the fax machine and he saved me $400 per year over Georgia.
I love being a Floridian!