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Old 04-26-2010, 09:39 PM   #1
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The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Hello all,

As of today I am now the proud owner of a 1996 Amtran International short school bus (12 windows)! I purchased the bus from a local school district in Michigan and they presented me with the title upon purchase. I drove the bus home (only a few miles away...still in the state of Michigan) - and that's all so far. I'm not sure what to do first. I am 21 years old and my car is currently covered under my parents' car insurance policy (and I'm listed as a driver in the household). I'm afraid that if I try to get insurance for the bus in my name the rates will be ridiculously high. So here are my questions:

•The title I was given has my name written in as the "buyer" with the current mileage, and purchase price (in addition to vehicle info). Do I need to go to the secretary of state and get a title that has all of my information printed on it? Or do I need to get insurance coverage first?

•Since I'm going to be the "owner" of the bus (and my name will be on the title), are my parents allowed to add the bus to their insurance policy? Do I start with finding insurance?

•Any recommendations for insurance in Michigan?

Thank you!
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:52 AM   #2
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

You generally turn in the old title signed over to you, pay the title fee, and are mailed a new title made out to you.

Your insurance may be high, but with many companies, if you have your own registered vehicle that you are the primary driver of, will let your name be taken off of your parents' cars, and still operate them as an "occasional driver." That might save them some money. The "occasional driver" clauses cover things like loaning a car for a mechanic to test drive, having a valet park it, or letting Uncle Ernie drive it when he comes to visit. On the other hand, some companies may not cover you driving their cars as long as you share the same residence, unless you are listed on the policy.

Also, when I was young, trucks cost a lot less for a young man to insure than passenger cars.

It is worth looking into. As always, with different states "Your mileage may vary."
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:31 AM   #3
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

you don't need insurance to get the vehicle titled in your name, however most people also get registration/plates at the same time they do the title. You do need insurance in order to get registration. If you don't get the vehicle titled in your name within a certian time frame (10 days?) then you have to pay another fee. You also have to pay 6% sales tax on the purchase price of the vehicle.

Registration should cost about $30. You want it titled as a non-commercial truck. If they want a lot more money for registration, they are doing it wrong. It may take a while, but don't just give up and pay the commercial vehicle price.

insurance will prob cost about $50/month, but it can be difficult to find insurance. Progressive used to be good for skoolie insurance, but not any more. GMAC may still do it . I usually just tell the ins company that i want to insure my recreational vehicle and neglect to mention it is an old school bus.

good luck

where in mi are you? I am in the flint area
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:11 PM   #4
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Thanks for the tips everyone! I called around and was able to find insurance coverage with GMAC (just as you said). This is actually my second bus conversion project and my previous insurer was also GMAC. My quote was $404.00/six months. That sounds pretty reasonable to me! I'm just waiting to get the insurance policy until my tax refund comes rolling in . I hope it comes soon because I want to drive it on the road! I have removed the seats I want to take out and painted the interior side panels and rear today....looking good already!
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:13 PM   #5
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
where in mi are you? I am in the flint area
I'm in the Brighton area. Pretty sweet to have another Skoolie close by! Do you have any pics of your conversion online?
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:16 PM   #6
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

He has done a "few" buses by now. How many?

I am not far from you either, just up the road a bit in Lansing.

I still have to register my bus. Maybe tomorrow.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:45 PM   #7
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

five conversions so far, to be exact. I am currently busless, but plan to do an ambulance conversion soon!

bus V conversion thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4003&hilit=jacuzzi+bus

bus IV thread: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=2687&hilit=jacuzzi+bus+IV

bus III

Bus II viewtopic.php?f=9&t=751&hilit=black+plague+II

original jacuzzi bus: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=17&p=35&hilit=jacuzzi+bus#p35




.



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Old 05-08-2010, 11:11 AM   #8
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

hopefully this fall.....they are planning to sell an ambulance at work late summer/early fall.

this style ambulance: (this is just a random pic i found on google)



It is as wide as a skoolie, with about a 12 foot box. 5.9 cummins, 100K miles, rear air ride, allison 6 speed trans, top speed around 80mph, lots of cabinets, gvw under 26K pounds, aluminum body, hydraulic brakes with air parking brake, twin engine driven a/c units, HUGE alternator, awesome turning radius, and a few other goodies.

I think i'll go make a new thread on this topic.....
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:13 AM   #9
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Wow! I am totally impressed with your conversions, lapeer20m! I'm going to focus my attention on the interior of the bus first, but when it comes time to work on the exterior of the bus I'm sure I'll be back asking you for tips! Your paint jobs look great. I don't have any experience painting vehicles nor do I have any of the equipment. Do you have any recommendations for painters around here? I think that is the only part of the project that I want to leave to the pro's. Would you consider being hired as a painter when the time comes? Have a great weekend - it's finally sunny! Heading over to start up the bus now.
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:35 PM   #10
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

I bought a Blue Bird All american in January of this year in Indiana . I put liability ins. on it from progressive ins. Within two weeks of returning the bus to Michigan I was also cancelled. Same reasons as everybody else. I put the bus in one of my warehouses and started the conversion. It is three monthes later and I was ready to put the bus on the road . I went to the Sec of State and they told me that I had to fill out an afidavid stating that I have converted the bus to a motor home complete with stove, bathroom , sleeping accomadations.and reciepts to prove it . The next step was to get insurance. I called my State Farm agent He had to come out and take pictures of the coach and turn them into underwriting . They made the decsion that my coach was up to their standards and bound the insurance Full coverage 900.00 per year. I then took it all back to the Sec of State and had the bus reclassified and recieved my plates at the same time A little extra work but definately worth it . Street legal
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:31 AM   #11
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Wow. Sounds like the Secretary of State was pretty strict with you. I'm headed there today so I'll let you know how I make out. I'm not doing quite as advanced of a conversion as you - no stove or bathroom. Wish me luck!
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:07 PM   #12
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

How did it go at the Sec of State ? Smooth I hope . Ihaven;t figured out how to post pics yet but I will soon . Good luck with your project . I am located in Mt. Clemens MI not far away keeep in touch
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:39 AM   #13
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Quote:
Originally Posted by furnitureguy
How did it go at the Sec of State ? Smooth I hope .
The hardest part was waiting in line Once it was my turn I was helped by someone who really knew what she was doing. She said that any school bus used for personal use that was built pre-1984 is charged plate fees based on weight. Vehicles built post-1984 are charged based on value. The lowest value the SOS allows to be billed is $8,000.00 and she assessed my fees based on that! I ended up spending $196.00 total for a personalized plate, tax on the purchase price, registration fees & title fee. Not bad! I was expecting to pay about that. When she first calculated the fees based on weight it would have cost me about $100.00 more. That was nice of her to re-calculate the fees to save me some moo-lah! I drove the bus last night and it ran great! I'm going to drive it to work today for fun
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:11 PM   #14
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

interesting. My value has always been around $1,500 and $2,000 which made my registration fee around 30 bucks.

this was on buses that were from the early to mid ninety's
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:37 PM   #15
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

I'm insuring my skoolie this week and you've given some good pointers to getting started. Progressive turned us down when when we mentioned it was a converted school bus (that sounds tyrical). We're going to call GMAC in th morning.

This only my 3rd day with a login, I plan on posting some pics soon.

Jon in Warren, MI
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:54 AM   #16
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Sounds good, jellert1! Did you buy your bus around here? I'm always curious to see who is selling Good luck with insurance and registration at the SOS.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:10 AM   #17
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

My brother in-law and I found our bus thru craigslist out in Jackson Michigan for only $500. We had to replace a fuel line and do some minor brake work before we could get it home. There's a good bit of surface rust, but it's still pretty solid. We've been working on it fairly steadily since about March and the inaugural voyage is next weekend to MIS for the NASCAR race. It's far from being complete, but it's usable.

It had an RV title when we bought it, so registration shouldn't be too difficult.

Jon in Warren, MI
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:08 PM   #18
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

Awesome! $500 is a great price. My first bus was a 1980 Wayne Lifeguard conventional w/ a Ford chassis....for $500 too (in 199! Loved it. I'll be excited to see your pics. Good luck at M.I.S. and have fun!
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:58 PM   #19
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Re: The beginning for my bus in Michigan

I would like to thank everyone for posting & commenting here, this was a huge help in getting all the "paper work" done for getting my bus legal. Thank you.

Got the bus insured thru GMAC (liability only) with no problems.
Got the bus plated today for only an $8 transfer fee.
Got the bus painted white with a fat red racing stripe down the middle...

See y'all at the track this weekend for the maiden voyage! LET'S GO RACIN' BOYS!!!
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