Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Motivation: Organizing Your Vehicle's Paperwork

Need help decluttering your vehicle?  Read this post first.

Now that you've decluttered, you will want to organize your vehicle's paperwork so you can find it quickly.  If you are pulled over by a police officer or involved in an accident, you will need updated information. 

The most important information will be your vehicle registration, state inspection, and proof of insurance.  Your driver's license will also be necessary but it should be in your wallet or purse. 

One piece of paper you definitely don't want to have in your vehicle is the title.  If your car is ever stolen (God forbid) the thief can us that title to easily sell your vehicle.  Bummer.

These important papers can be kept in a small folder made to fit in the glove compartment.  Some vehicles come with a very nice leather or vinyl portfolio that holds the owner's manual.  It usually has a small pocket on the inside to hold the important papers. 

Other papers you might want to keep handy are:
    * Your mechanics name, phone number, and address
    * An accident form to help you get all the information you'll need for insurance purposes if you're in an accident.  Your insurance company may send you one with your insurance renewal. 

Other information that is helpful to have in the vehicle is a maintenance and repair record.  This is where you keep track of oil changes, brake work, repairs, new tires, etc.  I recommend you keep it in the car because you never know when you might break down and it's helpful to know immediately if your car parts are still under warranty (possibly saving you money).

A vehicle maintenance and repair record is also helpful when selling your car.  It can prove that you have taken good care of your vehicle. 

 If you use your car for business or volunteer work you can, in most cases, use your mileage for a tax deduction -  but you must keep track of the details.  Check with your tax person for their recommendations for keep track of everything.  I use a spreadsheet on a clipboard that I keep in my work bag.  I don't go to a job without my bag, so I know I always have it with me when I'm working.  At the end of the year, I add all of the work mileage together and give that total to my tax preparer.  Of course, I keep the spreadsheet with all of my tax records in case I am ever audited.

Two more important pieces of information that you will want to keep track of are your vehicle's VIN number and your license plate numbers.  I keep this information in my day planner and in a file in my home office.  It will be necessary if your car is stolen.  Embarrassingly, I've also checked the license plate info in my planner when I heard an announcement over a store's intercom that some lamebrain customer with license plate number ######  had left their car door open in the parking lot.  Yes, that was me.

So, what other important papers do you keep in your car?  Please share in the comment section or email me.

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