Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Car Out of State

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Car Out of State

Crossing state lines to purchase a car may help you obtain a better bargain, but the process may differ from that of a vehicle purchase in your home state. Whether you are in a border state and want more alternatives, or you’re thinking of buying a car online and driving to that other state to pick it up, it’s crucial to understand what you could face when you return your new vehicle to your home state. Let’s go through some of the most frequent concerns you should be prepared for when buying a car out of state, such as registering your new vehicle, paying any applicable sales tax, and completing safety inspections. Read this article to find out more!

1) Inspections

When you purchase a car interstate, the vehicle may need to pass an inspection upon returning to your home state. Most states require that it undergoes this process within 10 days of returning. The specific requirements vary by state, but generally, out of province inspections are required to assess how well maintained the car is. This includes the checking of parts such as engine controls, electrics, fuel, braking systems, tires, wipers, glass parts, etc. The local department of motor vehicles (DMV) will let you know if inspections are required within your state, but most states demand that it passes both emissions and safety tests.

2) Tax

Generally, you should be responsible for paying any applicable taxes on your new vehicle when it reaches your home state. The amount varies based on what state you’re importing the car into – in some cases, the tax may even exceed that of purchasing a car domestically. You’ll need to inquire with your local DMV to learn how this works under specific circumstances. What’s more, all states require you to pay sale tax on your vehicle. If you want to buy a car in a state that doesn’t impose sales tax – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, or Oregon — you may only be able to save money if you register it in that state. However, many states require you to register your car in your home state. So, before you begin the whole process, check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to learn about its policies.

Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Car Out of State 1

3) Registration

When your car finally reaches your home state, you’ll need to register it in that jurisdiction. At this point, you may have to pay additional costs for registration fees appropriate to the state in which you are registering the vehicle. The process of registering a vehicle varies by location. For example, when you buy a car in Florida and bring it back to New Jersey, the registration process is more straightforward than when you buy a car in California and bring it back to New York. The DMV outlines the requirements of registering your new vehicle at its website, so be sure to read up on the specific expectations for home state registration before you head out on that long road trip.

4) Emissions Requirements

If you’re buying a car in a different state, it’s crucial to be aware of this requirement. All states have different emissions standards by which vehicles must abide for proper registration. Failure to meet these criteria can result in fines and even impounding your vehicle until the problem is sorted out. Depending on what state you’re in, you may need an emission test either before or after registration. For example, California requires that all vehicles undergo emissions tests prior to registration; this is also the case for Arizona and Nevada. However, Texas only requires emission testing upon initial registration of a vehicle – it doesn’t require annual inspections as other states do.

5) Transport

When you’re buying a car interstate, you will need to transport your new vehicle back to your home state. The easiest way is typically with the assistance of a third-party shipping company. Most companies will be able to provide you with all the information and resources you need for transporting your new car. You’ll also need to make sure that it complies with any transport requirements laid out by your state’s motor vehicles department. However, there are other options on the table depending on what works best for you. For example, some people choose to drive the car back themselves. This option is appealing to some for a number of reasons, including the ability to budget more conveniently. However, if you’re driving your new car yourself, be sure that it is insured and capable of a long road trip across state lines.

6) Car Insurance

Once you register your new vehicle in your home state, all insurance requirements will apply immediately. If you have a different insurance provider in your home state, you may want to compare rates between policies before committing to one over the other. Ask your new car dealer about insurance options for imported cars – many dealerships are able to provide short-term policies that are ideal for people who are looking to transport their newly acquired vehicle back home.

7) Vehicle History Report

Before you commit to buying a car out-of-state, order a vehicle history report. This way, you can know more about the car’s past and identify any accidents or damage that may have been reported to insurance companies in the past. It’s also crucial to have an independent mechanic look over the vehicle before you give your final answer. Ask for a broken-down list of everything that needs to be repaired, along with the cost of each fix. This way, you can budget accordingly and know whether or not it’s worth investing in your new car if it requires substantial repairs.

Buying a car out of state can be tricky. To make sure you’re not getting scammed, it’s important to do your homework before making the purchase. This should include understanding the inspection requirements for where you live as well as emissions standards in different states. You’ll also need to know about transport – how much does shipping cost? Is there an easier way? What kind of insurance will work best for me? The last thing you want is to get home and find that your new car needs expensive repairs or has been damaged in some way during transport! That’s why we recommend reading up on these issues beforehand so they don’t become any bigger problems down the road. 

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About the Author: Amanda Byers

Amanda Byers is a graduate of Columbia, where she played volleyball and annoyed a lot of professors. Now as Zobuz’s entertainment and Lifestyle Editor, she enjoys writing about delicious BBQ, outrageous style trends and all things Buzz worthy.