Mix and match - playing the numbers game

Editor's Note, September 2010: Laws and rules change. While the author sought to ensure accuracy at the time this article was published, it is incumbent upon the reader to verify any potential changes since then.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is no longer being updated by the author and will become increasingly out-dated.

If considering a Florida non-resident license, realize first that if you only want to be legal in Florida, you do NOT need this license, as Florida already has reciprocity with Ohio, and thus accepts an Ohio license. If you think you want the Florida license for the additional states in which it's license is honored, keep the following in mind. With Nevada recently dropping acceptance of the Florida license, but deciding now to accept the Ohio license, the combination of PA and NH will net you every state that is still available with the Florida license, plus you'd gain New Hampshire... for only $3 more (with considerably less paperwork, and in much shorter turn-around time.

If you don't need TX, then AL, GA, LA, MS, NH and PA can all be gained for far less money, through the slightly cheaper New Hampshire non-resident license (at a savings of $17, and gaining NH in the deal.) If you already have a NH non-resident license, this lowers the Florida net gain to just 1 state, and increases the cost ratio of obtaining the Florida non-resident license to $117 for the single additional state (TX) gained.

If you don't need AL or MS, then GA, LA, PA and TX can all be gained for far less money, through the much cheaper Pennsylvania non-resident license (at a savings of $91.) If you already have a PA non-resident license, this lowers the Florida net gain to just 2 states, and increases the cost ratio of obtaining a Florida non-resident license to $58.50 per additional state gained.

All of AL, GA, LA, MS, ND, NH, PA and TX can be gained through a combination of BOTH the New Hampshire AND Pennsylvania non-resident licenses (a combined cost of $126.00, for a cost ratio of $15.75 per state, to gain all the states also offered by Florida - and New Hampshire gets thrown in for good measure.) If you already have the NH and PA non-resident licenses, save your money. Obtaining the Florida license will gain you nothing, and will do so, at high cost.

Now let's go the other direction. If you start with the Florida non-resident license ($117 for 6 states, or $19.50 per state), you'll find it offers all the states that the PA non-resident license offers, plus 2 additional states not offered by the PA non-resident license. Adding the PA non-resident license to the Florida non-resident license adds only ND to your pool. Adding just the New Hampshire non-resident license to the Florida non-resident license gains only NH. All the other states offered by the New Hampshire non-resident license are available via the Florida non-resident license. Although similar in combined price at $26 and $100 respectively (as compared to the $117 cost of Florida), the Pennsylvania and New Hampshire non-resident licenses become less efficient on a cost-per-state-gained basis.

Certainly, various combinations are possible, each one changing the total cost, the net yield in number of states, and the cost ratio of price per additional state gained. The examples above gave priority to obtaining the least expensive licenses first, for the best cost ratios, and greatest yield. The point to remember for those considering the Florida license, for the states in which it is valid, is that an alternative, with even broader coverage and a higher total yield, is available.

The Connecticut permit, like Maine, pretty much stands on it's own. Pennsylvania and Florida both offer Texas, with (PA doing so for less money). If you travel to Connecticut, it's license is available, and can be combined with any other license or permit, but it is the only option, at any cost, offering coverage in Connecticut.

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