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  1. Default Vehicle options for our summer trip

    Hi there guys,

    Just booked flights today for our dream summer trip to the States. There are 4 of us Scots, all 21 years old, flying to Miami and home again from New York six weeks later.

    Thought i'd ask you lot for some advice before we take the next step, sorting out our car. Obviously hiring a car for this period, dropping off in a different place, and most importantly, all of us being 21 will be very expensive. I'd all but given up on that option, but i'm going to phone Enterprise shortly to ask about their Month or More scheme, which claims to waive our underage costs.

    But assuming that deal is a lost cause, our other option is buying a car. I have good friends in Ft. Myers, FL, who will be picking us up in Miami. They have said they are more than happy to pick up a car in the next few months for us to have when we get there.

    So my questions are...

    1- Would it be kosher for them to buy the car, register it etc. under their name/address, with us essentially 'borrowing' it from them for our trip?
    2- If so, is there anything other than insurance which we need to sort out, that i'm not factoring in?
    3- Regarding insurance, does anyone have any recommendations for 21 year old foreign nationals looking to take short term (6 weeks) insurance out on a car? How difficult is this?

    Thanks for any help you can offer, we're beyond excited about this trip we've all been dreaming of for years.

    Glen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default how good of a friend?

    What you are thinking of doing would be alright from a legal standpoint, although I'm not sure if you and your friend realize that your friend will actually be taking some significant financial risks.

    If the car is under your friend name, then the insurance policy would also have to be under his name. However, he would likely have to add you and your friends as allowed drivers under his policy. He'll have to talk to his insurance agent to see how exactly he should go about this.

    Cost wise, your friend could be taking some noteworthy financial hits. Even if you pay for the insurance for "your" car, its possible that his rates would go up for his own car when he adds several additional under 25 drivers (with no US driving or financial records at that). Additionally, if you were to get into an accident, it would go on his record as a claim, which means his rates would likely go up for a few years.

    The one other legal issue you'll have to deal with is how are you going to get the car back to him in Florida if you fly home from NY? If he is the registered owner of the car, you will not be able to sell it without him being there. There are some transportation options, but they will cost money, and you'll need to factor that into your trip too.

  3. Default

    Thanks Michael, that's all really helpful stuff.

    Ok then, looking at it from another angle, as foreign nationals would we be allowed to buy the car from our friend, and hold the paperwork etc in my name? The problem I anticipate here is that i'd need a US address to register the car at? Is this the case, and if so, is buying a car for a road trip even an option?

    Is there a particular course of action which anyone here has followed, or indeed recommended before? Just trying to establish all our options before we take the next step.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Your best option, expensive as it may be, is a rental. Also, that way you will be in a brand new (or very close to it) car with no maintenance to worry about - if it breaks down, the rental company will give you a replacement. Even if you were able to buy the car from your friend (which you most likely can't), what are you going to do with it when you fly home? If you have to sell it quickly, you will take a huge financial beating.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default roadblock

    Buying a car from a friend then puts in the same class as anyone else who is trying to buy a car for a roadtrip depsite not living in the US. Its a very time and money consuming process that really doesn't make much sense for a trip that's only 6 weeks long. You'll have to spend money on taxes, license, insurance, plus take the time to take care of all that paperwork, and then likely have to spend more time trying to find someone to buy the car. Its possible, but its not an easy process, and probably not worth it for a trip of this length.

    While mass-transit isn't great in the US, the Northeast at least has enough options where you can get by without a car. Rather than trying to buy a car, I'd probably look at renting a car for only part of the trip, and then using trains and other transit to explore areas from DC to NY.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glenchristie18 View Post

    But assuming that deal is a lost cause, our other option is buying a car. I have good friends in Ft. Myers, FL, who will be picking us up in Miami. They have said they are more than happy to pick up a car in the next few months for us to have when we get there.
    Glen, as Michael explained, it is a great risk and financial burden for your friend to put a car and you all on his insurance policy. And should you be unlucky to have an accident, how would you feel knowing the burden you put on your friend? Think about it.

    And no, as a 'foreigner' you are not able to insure the vehicle yourself... not without a green card and / or social security number.

    Here is an alternative you may like to check out. I investigated this company before my 2007 trip, and would have taken their vehicle if it had not been for my son loaning me a car. They have offices in FL and NY, so that would fit in with your plans.

    They do not sell to foreigners.

    Lifey who thinks it could be your best alternative to rental

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Glen, as Michael explained, it is a great risk and financial burden for your friend to put a car and you all on his insurance policy. And should you be unlucky to have an accident, how would you feel knowing the burden you put on your friend? Think about it.

    And no, as a 'foreigner' you are not able to insure the vehicle yourself... not without a green card and / or social security number.

    Here is an alternative you may like to check out. I investigated this company before my 2007 trip, and would have taken their vehicle if it had not been for my son loaning me a car. They have offices in FL and NY, so that would fit in with your plans.

    They do not sell to foreigners.

    Lifey who thinks it could be your best alternative to rental
    Thanks a lot for that link, they look like a really useful company, i'll get in touch with them shortly and see what they can offer.

    So yeah, it looks like rental is probably the only viable option.

    But out of interest, does anyone know of a situation, a member on here or otherwise, where a foreigner has tried to, or in fact bought a car for a road trip? I've heard many people in the past talk about their friends who have followed this route, i'm just curious to see how someone would go about it, as far as I can see it's actually impossible?

    Thanks again for all your advice, very helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    It's possible under certain conditions. It's all dependent on a particular state's DMV rules and procedures. You have to have a physical address to begin with - you can't just plop your money down and drive off with a car. Vehicles have to be titled and registered, and proof of insurance is generally required. Some states have safety and emissions inspections that must be completed before a registration may be issued. Titles are not instantly generated, the DMV mails them out anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks after purchase, and a vehicle cannot be resold without a title. Some states require a driver's license issued by that state.

  9. Default

    Is it possible to get insurance without a social security number?

    What is actually required to be driving along in a car, in any state, legally? Like physical things. Proof of insurance, registration (am I right to assume this is a piece of paper?)... what else? Is the title required before you can drive the car, or only necessary for selling it on?

    Does anyone know what Florida's rules and regulations are, concerning the state specific issues you've outlined? I've had a look on some state government websites, and sent questions to what look like the relevant departments, but no response so far.

    I realise i'm asking a lot of questions, i've just not managed to find any straight up answers yet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    Registration papers and proof of insurance is all that's required. The title is only necessary to sell it.

    Florida requires proof of insurance and a signed over title to register a vehicle. If you buy from a dealer, they handle all the paperwork, otherwise you must go to the county tax collector's office to take care of the paperwork.

    www.dmv.org is a good site to look at.

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